Essential Oils That Beat Brain Fog + Boost Energy? Heck, Yes!

Do you ever feel “off”—as if your brain isn’t optimally functioning? Brain fog is a buzzy term that has many talking. Though it seems to be increasingly common, brain fog is not normal. Numerous medical experts debate the root cause but often agree that it’s a side effect of lifestyle choices. Food allergies, nutritional deficiencies, stress, inflammation, and lack of sleep and exercise can contribute to depleted energy and declining mental acuity. In fact, recent neuroscience research shows that many suffering from brain fog report having chronic fatigue, gluten intolerance, fibromyalgia, or neuropsychiatric disorders.

While brain fog triggers vary greatly among people, certain aromas can energetically inspire shifts in attention and dissolve the mind’s murky haze. In fact, research slants toward essential oils having the power to increase alertness and sharpen mental faculties. Lavender inhalation has been shown to improve mathematical computation speed, and it also improves work performance when inhaled during breaks.

Distracted? Mentally fatigued? Forgetful? Try these 6 essential oils to combat brain fog, stimulate your mind, and increase energy.

1. Cajeput

Known for being a gentler alternative to tea tree, the warming, camphor-like aroma can crack the mental whip. With an affinity for the respiratory system, it also decongests the mind. In Western herbalism, it’s renowned for quickening the pulse and increasing alertness.

How-To: Put some pep in your step with a breathing blend. Add 5 drops cajeput, 2 drops green myrtle, and 3 drops lavender onto a cotton wick and secure in an aromatic inhaler.

2. Peppermint

A very potent oil, peppermint has a menthol, clean aroma that has a cooling effect. A popular oil for stimulating the mind, it’s useful when one cannot focus. Sometimes brain fog is accompanied by unbearable migraines and nausea, but peppermint alleviates tension headaches. If you’re an essential oil aficionado looking for something new, substitute cornmint for peppermint as they’re similar in therapeutic benefits.

How-To: Add 4 drops peppermint to a cotton ball or into a diffuser, then try doing gentle breathing exercises to relieve head tension.

3. Rosemary

One can’t discuss banishing brain fog without mentioning rosemary. This is a go-to oil to support memory and mental exhaustion, and the vibrant and oxide-rich smell can snap you into the present moment. It has a penchant for clearing the mind and alleviating mental fatigue. Inhalation has been shown to improve speed and accuracy on cognitive tasks, making rosemary the ultimate brain-boosting oil.

How-To: Make a roll-on blend for work by adding 6 drops rosemary, 3 drops sweet basil, and 2 drops peppermint into an ounce of sunflower oil.

4. Sage

Spanish sage can sometimes fly under the radar thanks to its membership in the large Salvia family. Also known as lavender sage, this fresh and herbaceous oil packs a punch. Stimulating and cooling, Spanish sage helps foster insight and improves memory. In fact, it’s clinically demonstrated to improve memory and attention in Alzheimer’s patients.

How-To: When feeling foggy in the noggin and in need of remembering, smell some Spanish sage— gently wafting from the bottle will do the trick.

5. Sweet Basil

An incredibly expansive and energizing oil, sweet basil can get you to concentrate. Inhaling the fresh, almost spicy aroma provides a great pick-me-up that will even clear your sinuses. Not only an effective mood changer, sweet basil can also expel sluggishness as it’s known to reduce inflammation.

How-To: When looking for mental clarity, add 5 drops to an ounce of jojoba oil and anoint on your pulse points.

6. Mandarin

Sometimes referred to as tangerine or red mandarin, this oil promotes bliss and optimism. Considered safe for all ages (even kids!), the sweet citrus scent is calming yet uplifting. It works wonderfully as an antidepressant and soothes the central and sympathetic nervous systems. It helps manage stress and hyperactivity, providing sharp focus.

How-to: Add 10 drops to an aromatic inhaler and use when feeling mentally drained and in need of encouragement.

What essential oils do you use for beating brain fog and increasing energy levels?

Related: Cure Everything with These 15 Essential Oils
How To Apply Essential Oil to Every Part of Your Body
5 Science-Backed Recipes To Hyper-Focus Your Mind

Photo: Stocksy

Leigh Winters | Editor-in-Chief
Written by Leigh Winters | Editor-in-Chief
Leigh Winters, M.A./M.S., is a clinical researcher at Columbia University’s Spirituality Mind Body Institute and Columbia University Department of Psychiatry’s New York State Psychiatric Institute. She works in the Substance Use Research Center on opioid, cocaine, and alcohol treatment trials that involve motivational enhancement therapy, pharmacological facilitation of mindfulness training, mindfulness-based relapse prevention, and mind-body practices. Leigh is a certified aromatherapist and Ayurveda specialist. She is passionate about health and wellness and enjoys writing. Leigh holds dual master's degrees from Columbia University in Clinical Psychology & Neuroscience. Reach out to Leigh via or on Instagram @wiseandwellco.