by Dr Christoph Streicher, Ph.D. and Stephanie Chambers


Students taking an exam - canstockphoto11160676Are you someone who gets to the exam and can’t remember anything? Well it may be that you need to smell some peppermint before you go into the exam room. This is what a large study by researchers from the Human Cognitive Neuroscience Unit at the University of Northumbria in the UK found (Moss M, Hewitt S, Moss L, and Wesnes K, 20081). Their findings were published in the International Journal of Neuroscience.

One hundred and forty healthy volunteers were randomly assigned to smell peppermint or ylang-ylang or no aroma before being given some computerized tests to assess their cognitive abilities. The results were significant. Peppermint enhanced memory and subjects reported feeling increased alertness, whereas Ylang-ylang impaired memory, and lengthened their processing speed. However, the subjects that smelled the ylang-ylang said they felt a lot calmer.

The quickest and easiest way to feel the mental effects of peppermint essential oil is to add a couple of drops to a diffuser and to breathe in it that way. Because of its stimulating effect, it isn’t recommended to use it just before bed.

Ylang-ylang brings feelings of well-being and reduces tension and anxiety, which is why the subjects reported feeling calmer. You may like to try it by adding a few drops to your diffuser and allowing yourself to relax. It is probably better used for treatment of psychological conditions rather than in an academic setting.

Because of the immediate effects of peppermint essential oil on mental functioning, perhaps it should be trialed by educational institutions. Psychologists may like to consider adding ylang-ylang to their recommendations for clients with anxiety issues.



Disclaimer: The statements made in this blog have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.