Skincare Library

Q + A: What are the 5 Cognitive Benefits of Rosemary and Lavender?

Neuroscience Q + A with Joelle Hayford, our in- house Neuroscience researcher.

Meet Joelle!

Joelle has background in neuroscience and pharmacology, and is passionate about wellbeing and holistic healthcare.

Q: Could you introduce these wonder-herbs, rosemary and lavender?

A : Hey! Rosemary essential oil is derived from the Rosemary evergreen shrub, a highly valued aromatic and medicinal plant. The essential oil has been found to have a number of benefits, including stimulating hair growth and increasing blood circulation. Lavender Essential Oil is also derived from a highly valued aromatic plant and is no stranger to receiving praise on its ability to aid in sleep and relaxation, as well as a range of skin benefits.

On top of these great feats, both rosemary and lavender essential oil can also have very handy cognitive benefits too! Below are five scientifically backed cognitive benefits from using Rosemary and Lavender essential oil:

Q: Can rosemary help improve short-term memory?

A: Various studies have shown rosemary essential oil can aid in short-term memory and also learning. A study by Moss & Oliver (2012) tested the relationship between rosemary essential oil and cognitive performance and found that rosemary oil was able to improve cognitive performance during short-term memory tests, by preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter that is crucial to memory consolidation.

Q: Do both Rosemary and Lavender help improve of cognitive (brain) function?

A: Both Lavender and Rosemary Essential oil have been found to boost levels of Brain-Derived Neurotrophic factor (BDNF), an important neuroprotective agent that is vital to neuronal growth and survival, and also protects the brain while it is under stress. Studies by Xu et al (2017) and Okuda et al (2020) have found that study mice showed increased BDNF levels after being exposed to both Lavender and Rosemary essential oil. Xu et al (2017) postulates that the active ingredient in lavender oil, linalool, is suggested to be able to increase synaptic plasticity.

Q: I sometimes feel anxious. How can lavender help me?

A: Lavender essential oil is well known for its anti-anxiety (anxiolytic) effects. A study by Lerhner et al (2005) that investigated the influence of lavender and other essential oils on anxiety and calmness, found that using lavender oil aromatherapy in dentist office waiting rooms reduced the anxiety of dental patients awaiting treatment.

Q: On days where i'm likely to feel stressed, which one is the best to bring back my sense of calm?

A: The answer is...both! Chronically elevated stress levels are known to have detrimental effects on the body. Thankfully, Lavender and Rosemary oil may also aid in decreasing stress. McCaffrey et al (2009) found that lavender and rosemary essential oil was able to decrease the stress levels of test-taking of post-graduate nursing students.

Q: I'm finding it hard to focus lately. Which one out of rosemary and lavender is the best for boosted concentration?

A: The active ingredient in Rosemary essential oil, 1,8-cineole, has been found to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system and boost one's concentration and alertness.

All in all, Lavender and Rosemary Essential oil not only have great skin benefits, but also fantastic cognitive benefits that can help improve your wellbeing. Find them inside our face oil, and use the powers of rosemary and lavender to help your mood, morning and night!

Have a question for Joelle? No matter how big or small, drop us a line!


Filiptsova, O., Gazzavi-Rogozina, L., Timoshyna, I., Naboka, O., Dyomina, Y. and Ochkur, A., 2018. The effect of the essential oils of lavender and rosemary on the human short-term memory. Alexandria Journal of Medicine, 54(1), pp.41-44.

HONGRATANAWORAKIT, T., 2009. Simultaneous Aromatherapy Massage with Rosemary Oil on Humans. Scientia Pharmaceutica, 77(2), pp.375-387.

Lehrner, J., Marwinski, G., Lehr, S., Johren, P. and Deecke, L., 2005. Ambient odors of orange and lavender reduce anxiety and improve mood in a dental office. Physiology & Behavior, 86(1-2), pp.92-95.

McCaffrey, R., Thomas, D. and Kinzelman, A., 2009. The Effects of Lavender and Rosemary Essential Oils on Test-Taking Anxiety Among Graduate Nursing Students. Holistic Nursing Practice, 23(2), pp.88-93.

Moss, M. and Oliver, L., 2012. Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aroma. Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 2(3), pp.103-113.

Okuda, M., Fujita, Y., Takada-Takatori, Y., Sugimoto, H. and Urakami, K., 2020. Aromatherapy improves cognitive dysfunction in senescence-accelerated mouse prone 8 by reducing the level of amyloid beta and tau phosphorylation. PLOS ONE, 15(10), p.e0240378.

Xu, P., Wang, K., Lu, C., Dong, L., Gao, L., Yan, M., Aibai, S., Yang, Y. and Liu, X., 2017. The Protective Effect of Lavender Essential Oil and Its Main Component Linalool against the Cognitive Deficits Induced by D-Galactose and Aluminum Trichloride in Mice. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017, pp.1-11.
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