For young students, one of the biggest roadblocks to effective studying is attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which prevent children from being able to focus on tasks long enough to complete them.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as 11% of children —that’s 6.4 million—have been diagnosed with ADHD.1
Symptoms of ADHD
Symptoms of ADHD include:
- Lack of ability to concentrate for long periods of time
- Being prone to uncontrollable, impulsive behavior
- Fidgety behavior
- Inability to understand the consequences of actions
- Difficulty getting along with others
Typically, children are prescribed a series of medications to improve ADHD symptoms. However, the concern for many parents is that some of these drugs have been known to cause side-effects such as trouble sleeping, seizures, or appetite loss.
ADHD Isn’t the Only Roadblock for Learning
Kids don’t necessarily have to have ADHD in order to need some extra help when it comes to studying. Exam time can be tricky for many kids, so essential oils that can help soothe ravaged nerves and help kids focus can be beneficial. Below is a list of some of the best essentials for promoting focus in children.
Essential Oils for Promoting Focus in Young Students
Vetiver Essential Oil
According to the late Dr. Terry Friedmann, vetiver essential oil has the ability to help ease symptoms of ADHD. When he studied the effects of vetiver on children with ADHD from 1999 to 2001, he found that symptoms improved within 30 days of inhaling vetiver three times a day.
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This included improved focus and brain activity. Out of all of the essential oils tested, vetiver performed the best in Friedmann’s studies. 2
Cedarwood Essential Oil
Friedmann also observed the effects of cedarwood essential oil on ADHD symptoms and found that this essential oil contains sesquiterpenes that help bring more oxygen to brain cells, improving thinking.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender was also used in Friedmann’s study, and although it showed no apparent benefits for ADHD symptoms, a 2006 study found that lavender essential oil helped ease symptoms of anxiety in stressful situations. This suggests that this essential oil could help ease stress, which could trigger symptoms of ADHD or disrupt concentration while studying. 3
Orange Essential Oil
The same 2006 study also found that the aroma of orange essential oil helped ease anxiety. Orange has the ability to bust stress because it contains the monoterpene myrcene, which interacts with neurotransmitters that control mood, including serotonin and dopamine. Additionally, it contains linalool, which relieves stress.
Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil
This tropical oil with floral notes can help bring about calm in children who have trouble sleeping, including those who take medications to address ADHD symptoms. Experts recommend adding a few drops to bath water before bed to help bring about restorative sleep, which can ease anxiety and improve focus.
Peppermint Essential Oil
The bright aroma of mint helps improve alertness and has been shown in studies to help improve memory. A 2013 study from Wheeling Jesuit University found that the compounds in peppermint oil help improve several aspects of cognitive function, including attention span, problem-solving skills, and judgment. 4
Rosemary Essential Oil
Like other woody aromas, rosemary has been shown to boost cognitive function in adults, although research has shown that children can also benefit from it. A 2012 study found that the cineole in rosemary helped boost cognitive function. 5
Basil Essential Oil
This essential oil helps improve the flow of oxygen to the brain, which boosts focus and concentration.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus has a bright scent that works like peppermint to clear the mind, making it easier to focus.
Sage Essential Oil
A 2010 study from the U.K. found the sage helped improve both memory and mood, making it a good essential oil to use during study sessions to help keep information locked into short-term memory. It can also be useful prior to testing in order to relieve stress.
Although many elements are important for great focus and good study skills, essential oils can be a great complement to a pre-existing routine to provide an extra push. Whether you’re using them in a room diffuser to relieve stress and anxiety or adding a few drops to a warm bath, the essential oils above can be a great tool for improving focus in young students.
Photo credits: pathdoc/shutterstock.com, patchii/shutterstock.com, colors/shutterstock.com