What essential oils are good for focus and concentration?

by Alasdair Walker

Essential oil aromatherapy can be useful for improving focus and concentration if you find your mind wandering and daydreaming more than it should be during work or class. Let’s face it, it’s impossible to be perfectly focused on work all day long, but there are methods for improving mental clarity and gaining focus back when you feel a brain fog coming on!  


How Can Essential Oils Help with Focus? 


Woman sitting on floor studying on laptop computer


Essential oil aromatherapy can be used as a method for improving concentration, focus and alertness by stimulating certain areas of the brain that control emotion, motivation and regulation of memories and hormones. This structure of the brain is known as the limbic system, which is directly connected to the olfactory system—the part of our body responsible for our sense of smell—so the aromas of essential oils travel through the olfactory system to the limbic system, influencing our emotions. 

The limbic system contains the amygdala, hippocampus and hypothalamus—the structures in the brain responsible for forming emotional responses and memories, indexing and storing memories, and regulating emotional responses, respectively. Inhaling essential oils for aromatherapy is thought to be able to influence emotions and memories due to the direct connection that the olfactory system has to the limbic system. Certain essential oils have the ability to affect the limbic system to reduce stress, improve focus and concentration, as well as increase alertness. 

Some essential oils can have a direct impact on improving focus and concentration, by stimulating areas in the limbic system that control memory, learning and alertness, while other essential oils have an indirect impact on improving focus on concentration by reducing levels of stress, anxiety and other negative emotions that are regulated by the limbic system. Discover some of the best essential oils that can be used to improve your focus and concentration below!


Essential Oils Good for Focus and Concentration 


Rosemary Essential Oil

One of rosemary essential oil’s primary benefits and uses is to improve brain function and alertness. Rosemary essential oil is specifically used to improve concentration and information recall. There is research that shows that inhaling the aroma of rosemary oil can help prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine, a chemical in the brain that is important for thinking, concentration and memory. A 2016 study found that rosemary oil may have the ability to enhance memory due to how the aromas interact with the limbic system in the brain, after students carrying out memory tests in a room filled with the aroma of rosemary oil achieved 5% to 7% better results than those who did not take the exam with the aroma of rosemary oil. 

How to Use Rosemary Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration?

Improve your cognitive function and alertness with rosemary oil by diffusing the oil into the air around you with an aromatherapy diffuser or try a MOXĒ Breathe Nasal Inhaler. MOXĒ Breathe contains a blend of invigorating essential oils including rosemary oil that can be used to provide a quick boost of natural energy, improve focus and concentration, as well as improve respiratory functions by helping you breathe better. MOXĒ Breathe Nasal Inhaler is compact and can be taken on the go, so you can invigorate your senses and improve your focus whenever you feel a brain fog coming on! 

Lavender Essential Oil 

Lavender essential oil is known for its ability to promote a calm and relaxing mindset, which can help to improve focus and concentration indirectly. By calming nervousness and reducing stress, lavender oil can help to promote clearer thinking and improved concentration. The relaxing qualities of lavender oil can help those with an overactive mind or ADHD to reduce hyperactivity and focus on what is important at hand. 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. 

How to Use Lavender Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration? 

Lavender essential oil is one of the most commonly used essential oils as a topical application on skin, due to its gentle soothing properties—it is the only essential oil that can, in some instances, be used on the skin without dilution. To achieve a calm and clear mindset from applying lavender on the skin, rub 2-3 drops of lavender oil into cupped palms, then inhale from your palms to achieve a clear, relaxed mindset. You can also rub lavender oil on your wrists and smell the scent on your wrists throughout the day, as needed. Lavender is best used in a blend with other essential oils when using the oil to achieve better focus and concentration. 


Two girls in a yoga class concentrating on stretching


Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is one of the most popular essential oils used to improve focus, concentration, overall mental clarity and for a quick boost of energy. 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. 

How to Use Peppermint Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration? 

The cognitive benefits of peppermint oil can be achieved when diluted and applied topically to skin as well as through inhalation. When applying topically, the same method of palming and cupping over the mouth as applying lavender oil can be used, but the peppermint oil must be diluted first. 

Lemon Essential Oil 

It’s not surprising that the fresh citrus aromas of lemon essential oil can be used to help improve focus and concentration via aromatherapy. Citrus essential oils are known for their ability to help uplift mood and energy levels, some in a soothing or relaxing manner and others in a stimulating or invigorating manner, like lemon oil. Lemon oil can be useful for elevating mood, revitalizing concentration levels and calming anxiety or stress. 

How to Use Lemon Essential oil for Better Focus and Concentration? 

Create an uplifting and stimulating environment by diluting lemon essential oil into the air of a room with an aromatherapy diffuser. You can also create a diluted essential oil spray with lemon essential oil to create an aroma within a room that provides a burst of energy and focus.

Basil Essential Oil

Basil is typically thought of as an herb that is used to provide flavorful benefits when used in cooking, but basil essential oil has a variety of uses that can also benefit the mind and body. Basil essential oil is often used as a tool to sharpen focus and provide mental clarity when studying or performing a challenging task, as well as to lessen anxious feelings and provide relief. Basil oil contains a chemical component called linalool, which is a natural chemical that has the ability to help relax the mind and body, by affecting neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine. There are studies that have shown that linalool can reduce memory loss and stress, which would help provide a mindset where focus and concentration can thrive. 

How to Use Basil Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration? 

Sharpen your focus while reducing negative feelings with basil essential oil by diffusing the essential oil into the room with an aromatherapy diffuser and inhaling the diffused aroma. You can also sprinkle a few drops of basil essential oil onto a cloth or cotton ball and inhale deeply intermittently throughout the day to remain focused. 

Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

Ylang-ylang essential oil is another essential oil that can help improve focus and concentration indirectly, similar to lavender essential oil. Ylang-ylang essential oil is most commonly used for its ability to alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as decreasing blood pressure and cortisol levels—a hormone that is released as a response to stress. Studies have shown that ylang-ylang essential oil has been proven 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. 

How to Use Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration?  

Reduce negative feelings caused by stress and anxiety and promote a sense of care-free relaxation where mental clarity can bloom with MOXĒ Love. This essential oil blend of patchouli, fennel, lime, ylang-ylang and sandalwood.


Girl with a big smile


Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil is one of the most versatile essential oils used in aromatherapy, and one of its uses is as a sedative to induce feelings of mental peace, relaxation and satisfaction, while reducing anxiety, stress and anger. Frankincense oil can help bring a scattered, stressed out mind back to a state of level calmness, where thinking and decision making happens more clearly. Frankincense oil is another example of an essential oil that can indirectly help to improve focus and concentration, by promoting a better mindset for mental clarity through reduced levels of stress and anxiety. There is also research that shows that frankincense essential oil can be used to improve both short-term and long-term memory and learning functions. 

How to Use Frankincense Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration? 

Frankincense essential oil can either be applied topically or inhaled to achieve the stress relieving and clarity promoting benefits. When used topically on the skin, the frankincense oil must be diluted into a carrier oil for safety purposes. When used via inhalation methods, there are several methods that can be used such as diffusing the essential oil into the air of a room via an aromatherapy diffuser. 

Sage Essential Oil

Sage essential oil is known as a natural stimulant—it is known to stimulate and clarify 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 has the ability to help improve memory and enhance overall cognitive function. 

How to Use Sage Essential Oil for Better Focus and Concentration?  

There are many essential oils and blends of essential oils that can be used both topically and via inhalation methods to directly and indirectly improve focus and concentration. Some essential oils including rosemary, peppermint and basil essential oils have properties that when interacting with the limbic system and its internal structures, can directly have an impact on alertness, focus, concentration and memory. Other essential oils including lavender, ylang-ylang and frankincense essential oils can indirectly improve focus, concentration and memory by providing a better environment for such improvements to take place through reduced stress and anxiety levels, as well as providing a calm mindset. 



If you find yourself relying on coffee, sugary drinks, or energy drinks to get an extra boost for focus and concentration then essentials oils may be an avenue to look into. 

Many essential oils may offer energy-enhancing benefits while helping to improve focus and motivation. So have fun with it and try testing one of these essential oils mentioned in our list the next time you maybe need to study or have to concentrate during a more complex yoga sesh! 

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