finger on book; essential oils for focus and concentration
Physical Wellness | Emotional Wellness

14 Best Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration

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We live in such a busy world with distractions everywhere (social media, television and even just our kids fighting!), no wonder it is hard to focus. In this post, we’ll look at the 15 best essential oils for focus and concentration.

Distraction and lack of concentration affect not just adults, but many children, too.  Especially now with many kids learning via computer.

See below for a downloadable and printable PDF with diffuser blends for focus and concentration!

finger on book; essential oils for focus

Essential Oils and the Body

The human body is a complex “machine”.  Numerous studies have proven the connection between our olfactory senses (nose and smelling) and the brain with help from the limbic system.

The limbic system is located deep within the brain and responds to sensory stimulation from the external environment (for example: scent) and is associated with memory, emotion, and primitive drives and reactions.

When it comes to focus and concentration that memory-scent association is of particularly significant.

The olfactory bulbs in our upper nose detect stimuli (odor molecules bound to olfactory receptor neurons) and communicate directly to the hypothalamus and limbic center of the brain. This signals the release of neurotransmitters, which can then affect emotions and memory stimulation.

Close up of a beautiful woman profile smelling a pink flower isolated on a white background; essential oils for concentration

The nervous system is a part of the body’s physical makeup, but also where all psychological processes take place. This links the body and mind—all that is psychological and emotional manifests physically as well.

Smells can trigger memories, help you stay focused, and aid in concentration while studying or working.

In fact, a memory linked with a scent is recalled more easily because the limbic brain is so closely associated with the sense of smell.

Using essential oils for focus and concentration can help with memory, mood, motivation, and so much more.

14 Best Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration

1. Frankincense Essential Oil

2. Lavender Essential Oil

  • Lavender oil has also been in used for thousands of years and is known, mainly for its calming effects, which makes it one of the best essential oils for focus and concentration. When we reduce our stress levels, we are better able to concentrate.
  • If you suffer from ADHD or have a difficult time juggling multiple tasks, you may find lavender helpful.
  • Lavender is one of the best essential oils for those who are experiencing a very hectic day that involves high-stress situations, like deadlines and a huge to-do list. It will calm the nerves and help to regain composure.
  • This popular oil is safe for people of all ages to use both for physical application and to be used in diffuser for aromatherapy
  • Lavender essential oil is also used to fight insomnia and sleep disturbances, due to its ability to reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure—better sleep quality can indirectly help focus and concentration.

3. Lemon Essential Oil

  • Most of us associate lemon and other citruses with energy, and while that is true, Lemon also is a wonderful stress-reliever making it a top choice as an essential oil for focus and concentration. Lemon is an uplifting scent and used for memory stimulation and mental alertness.
  • The elderly or those who work from home can also benefit by inhaling from a mix of lemon and Rosemary (see below for details on Rosemary), to boost their memory and improve retention of information.
  • Lemon also keeps you alert throughout the day. Lemon essential oil should be used cautiously on children aged two and under as it can cause photosensitivity.
  • Researchers in Japan have found it to be effective for productivity and focus. In a study, they discovered that when rooms were scented with lemon, there was a 54% decrease in typing errors by employees who worked with computers.
  • Another study found that using a lemon essential-oil blend in aromatherapy helped to improve cognitive function in a group of Alzheimer’s patients (they inhaled lemon and rosemary oils in the morning and lavender and orange oils at night).
  • An older study, from 2008,  concluded that lemon oil reliably enhances positive mood, which as mentioned above, helps to boost memory, focus and concentration.
eucalyptus radiata essential oil; essential oils for focus and concentration

4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

  • Eucalyptus is well-known and has been used for centuries for sinus issues as it not only helps clearing the sinus passage, but it is also fabulous at getting rid of the dreaded mind fog. Eucalyptus essential oil helped me tremendously during my chemo treatments as I tended to get the mind fog.  Just sniffing from the bottle helped to clear the fog.
  • This oil is said to generate positive energy and may instantly brighten up your mood which can inspire you to be more focused and creative. It is great for those times when details matter and you really need to concentrate.
  • Care should be used when using on children under six, but it can be applied to their chest (with a carrier oil) to help with chest congestion and colds.
  • Eucalyptus is a stimulating essential oil. It can increase alertness and prevent lethargy. Some people claim that it is more effective for them than coffee or other forms of caffeine.
  • It’s a great choice to add to your list of effective essential oils for focus and concentration

5. Pine Essential Oil

  • It is recognized for its healing properties as it enables you to heal from sluggish feelings and it also helps improve your focus throughout the day.
  • Pine Oil blends well with many different essential oils including Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, and Rosemary.
  • Pine essential oil is said to reduce fatigue and is considered safe for children over two years of age.

6. Rosemary Essential Oil

  • Rosemary essential oil has a light and calming smell that many have said increases their focus. It is one that I use several times per week and one of my favorite essential oils for focus and concentration.
  • It is also used to improve blood circulation, stimulate hair growth, and prevent dandruff in hair and beards!
  • Rosemary is another stimulating essential oil, and can be used to increase alertness and aid memory retention
  • One of rosemary essential oil’s greatest benefits is that it has been shown to improve brain function and mental alertness. Rosemary essential oil has been specifically sought out for use to improve concentration and data or information recall. Research has shown that by inhaling the Rosemary essential oil, it can help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is critical for thinking, concentration and memory.
  • A 2016 study showed that Rosemary essential oil can improve memory due to how the scent interacts with the limbic system.  Students taking a memory test in a room where Rosemary was diffused, achieved 5% to 7% better results than those who took the exam without the scent of Rosemary.
  • 2012 Study showed the stimulatory effects of rosemary oil and how it can impact mood as well as brain wave activity and the autonomic nervous system.
  • Later, a 2018 study on school children confirmed that rosemary could help focus and memory, potentially boosting memorization in school.
  • Use caution when using Rosemary essential oil around or with people with epilepsy, pregnant women and children under six years old.

7. Peppermint Essential Oil

  • Peppermint is an energizing and refreshing scent that nearly everyone is familiar with.
  • Peppermint has been used for hundreds of years to treat a wide variety of ailments, especially those related to bowel, nausea, headaches, and to get relief from muscle pain and itching.
  • It has also shown to be effective in enhancing focus and concentration levels. Yep.  This is another one to add to your list of best essential oils for focus and concentration!
  • A  2013 study  validated that peppermint essential oil is effective for preventing fatigue and improving overall exercise performance.
  • There are several studies that have shown how peppermint oil can be used to stimulate mental clarity, improve focus and concentration, mental performance and memory. Peppermint oil has the ability to enhance such cognitive functions such as memory and concentration because it stimulates an area of the limbic system in the brain called the hippocampus—the part of the brain that is involved with the formation of new memories, as well as learning and emotions. By stimulating the hippocampus, peppermint essential oil can improve cognitive awareness and alertness when inhaled, which leads to improved cognitive performance. The stimulating scent of peppermint oil also provides a natural boost of energy, by waking up the senses and allowing you to focus on what is in front of you
  • Peppermint oil is not recommended for children under five and should be applied sparingly to children over five years’ old.

8. Lemongrass Essential Oil

  • Oh, how I love the smell of Lemongrass essential oil!  The scent is sharp and citrusy.
  • It has many benefits including soothing joint and muscle soreness, stimulating the mind and body, and helping to focus while improving concentration.
  • Lemongrass can reduce stressful feelings and is deodorizing, can repel bacteria, and is an effective insect repellent, too!
  • I diffuse this one often (see some great diffuser blends for focus and concentration below).

9. Orange Essential Oil

  • This citrusy scent is frequently used essential oil for focus and concentration and is wonderful diffused.
  • Orange essential oil is made from cold pressing of orange peels. It is commonly used in DIY cleaning products due to its natural antiseptic properties.
  • Orange is said to give you courage when you are feeling scared or overwhelmed.
  • A study done in 2016 found that inhaling Orange and Spearmint essential oils may improve athletic performance.
aria ultrasonic diffuser, essential oils for concentration

10. Basil Essential Oil

  • Basil is high in linalool. Which is a chemical constituent found in many essential oils and found to reduce stress. The high level of linalool allows it to reduce stress reduction and can help with mental clarity and the ability to focus.
  • These properties make it a great essential oil for focus and concentration.
  • We mainly think of Basil as herb for adding flavor to cooking, but basil essential oil has a variety of other uses that can provide benefits to the mind and body. It’s often used to sharpen focus and give one mental clarity when studying or performing a challenging task, as well as to lessen anxious feelings and provide relief.
  • I wouldn’t diffuse Basil on its own as the odor is rather intense. Great in a blend though

11. Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

  • Ylang-ylang essential oil is another great essential oil for focus and concentration, like Lavender. This oil is most often used for alleviating stress and anxiety.
  • It is also used, by many, to decrease blood pressure and cortisol levels. Cortisol is a hormone that is released as a response to stress. Studies have shown that ylang-ylang essential oil has been shown to be effective in reducing stress levels and promoting relaxation when used both topically and via inhalation. Reducing stress levels by use of the ylang-ylang essential oils can provide better mental clarity, where focus and concentration can thrive.
  • Ylang Ylang is sourced from the cananga tree—a flowering tropical tree that’s native to India, Southeast Asia, and parts of Australia—ylang-ylang essential oil is commonly used in luxury bath and beauty products. It is also used as aphrodisiac.

12. Clary Sage Essential Oil

  • Clary Sage essential oil is known for being a natural stimulant. It has been found to stimulate the mind while also giving off a balancing, uplifting, soothing and strengthening effect on the senses to repel negative moods. This essential oil is known to promote a sense of attentiveness and enhance memory. Studies have shown that sage oil could help improve memory and enhance overall cognitive function.
  • In two studies of patients with Alzheimer’s disease, the use of sage essential oil was linked to improved cognitive function and an improvement in attention. The findings point to Clary Sage’s long-standing reputation for improving for mental clarity; the studies showed a link between Clary Sage essential oil and alertness, calmness, and contentedness in human subjects.

13. Cypress Essential Oil

  • Cypress has a milder aroma which is great if you don’t want an overpowering smell or are sensitive to fragrance.  This evergreen scent helps to increase concentration.
  • It is a great one to blend with other essential oils.

14. Sacred Sandalwood

  • Sacred Sandalwood is native to Oceanic Southeast Asia.
  • It has a woody scent and is used in many products including candles, perfume and other personal care products.
  • It has been shown to promote mental clarity. In a 2003 study, a correlation was found between the topical application of Sandalwood essential oils and increased attentiveness in humans.

How to Use Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration

Here are some simple ways you can use essential oils for focus and concentration:

  • Apply one of the essential oils for focus and concentration to a diffuser bracelet necklace
  • Place a few drops of oil on a tissue or inhaler
  • Diffuse essential oils while working or studying
  • Put a few drops in a bath after a stressful day
young living dewdrop diffuser; essential oils for focus

12 Diffuser Blends with Essential Oils for Focus and Concentration

These are my favorite diffuser blends for focus and concentration. I work from home and choose different blends each day to help me tackle my to-do list.

Click the image below for a downloadable/printable PDF with diffuser blends for focus and concentration!

diffuser blends for focus and concentration

Blend #1─Peppermint, Rosemary, and Lemon

Blend #2─Vetiver, Lavender, and Eucalyptus

Blend #3─Sweet Orange, Patchouli, and Clary Sage

Blend #4 – Lemongrass & Basil

Blend #5 – Bergamot & Cypress

Blend #6 – Lavender, Black Pepper, & Royal Hawaiian Sandalwood

Blend #7 – Lemon & Peppermint

Blend #8 – Tangerine, Ginger, and Clove

Blend #9 – Joy & Grapefruit

Blend #10 – Frankincense, Orange, Palo Santo

Blend #11 – Grapefruit, Rosemary, Patchouli

Blend #12 – Lavender, Eucalyptus

Have you tried essential oils for focus and concentration? Which are your favorites?

I’d love to help you with essential oils for focus and concentration and so much more. If you’d like a sample, just email me at [email protected] and we’ll figure out the best one to send you!

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