When your brain feels exhausted and unable to function properly, it leaves you mentally and emotionally drained. When you are tired, your mind gets sluggish, making it difficult to think clearly and concentrate.
This mental fatigue, or brain fog, can present as difficulty focusing, concentrating or staying alert, memory gaps, or slower mental speed and response time.
Brain fog can impact your productivity, decision-making skills, memory, physical energy and mood. For example, you may have a hard time maintaining attention, filtrating relevant information or grow fatigued more easily after prolonged cognitive activities that require a lot of focus like reading or driving.
Fortunately, essential oils can be powerful tools to help enhance brain function and lift brain fog.
What Causes Brain Fog?
Just like physical energy, your mental energy (or your brain’s energy levels) can be depleted, contributing to a general feeling of mental or psychological tiredness and lack of energy that results in foggy thinking.
This mental fatigue might make you feel drained, zoned out, unable to concentrate sustain focus or lacking motivation.
Mental fatigue is usually the result of prolonged stress, which overstimulates the brain while impairing brain detoxification and regeneration which over time can contribute to mental and emotional exhaustion and negatively impact your cognitive abilities.
In addition to stress, inflammation in the brain slows down firing between neurons, slowing the overall operation of the brain. In addition, poor circulation compromises the flow of “brain food” – oxygen and nutrients – that support healthy cognitive function.
Brain Fog Symptoms
Brain fog symptoms may develop gradually and present as emotional issues like:
- Anxiety: Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms of mental fatigue. It develops because prolonged mental fatigue triggers the sympathetic nervous system which causes you to be in a constant state of panic or worry about the future. People who suffer from anxiety have a hard time making decisions as the fear of “what if” overtakes them.
- Overwhelm and Paralysis: A feeling of emptiness and stagnation can develop when your mind feels depleted of energy. You might feel apathetic, easily overwhelmed or even paralyzed, or lack your usual level of enthusiasm
- Depression: Mental fatigue and depression are interconnected; both are characterized by a sense of hopelessness and a lack of energy to engage in daily life.
- Physical fatigue: The high level of stress that causes mental fatigue also causes you to feel tired, weary, irritable, and lethargic.
- Sleep disturbances: Mental exhaustion is often correlated with trouble sleeping and even insomnia. These sleep issues are often correlated with the emotional side effects of mental fatigue like anxiety and depression. A constant state of alertness and worry can interfere with your ability to fall asleep.
- Difficulty regulating emotions: Mental fatigue depletes your energy to manage and regulate challenging emotions like anger, which can leave you feeling more irritability, sad, cynical or pessimistic.
Essential Oils for Brain Fog
Your brain needs a steady supply of oxygen and glucose to fuel its energetic needs. Essential oils can help support a healthy supply of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to help increase circulation and blood flow to the brain and alleviate brain fog and fatigue.
Similarly, brain Inflammation can contribute to brain fog and essential oil remedies that helps calm brain inflammation can help reduce brain fog.
Plant compounds, including the highly concentrated essence of plants found in essential oils, have been shown to improve circulation by helping the veins contract, relaxing the smooth muscles that line the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels. This helps more blood circulate through them, improving your circulation and increasing brain oxygen levels in the process, which helps reduce brain fog.
More specifically, plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation in the brain (Study). The process of distilling these concentrated plant essences into essential oils makes them more accessible to the brain to help calm brain inflammation and enhance brain circulation. Essential oils of Thyme and Basil are high in flavonoids (Study). Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, bergamot and grapefruits contain numerous flavonoids.
Terpenes – the highly aromatic chemical component of essential oils that are believed to provide the first line of defense in the plant’s immune system – increase cerebral blood flow, thus indirectly enhancing delivery of oxygen to the brain. Research on the “Functional imaging of effects of fragrances on the human brain after prolonged inhalation” demonstrated a direct increase in blood flow to the brain following the inhalation of essential oils.
“The effect of the fragrance 1,8-cineol, which was described in literature as ‘stimulating’, on regional and global cerebral blood flow in the human brain after prolonged inhalation was investigated.” (Full Study)
Sesquiterpenes are a subclass of the large terpene chemical family that are abundant in essential oils derived from plants including black pepper, cedarwood, frankincense, ginger, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, spikenard, and vetiver. Essential oils that are high in sesquiterpenes have been shown to help oxygenate your brain. Sesquiterpines are carbon chains that do not contain oxygen molecules but seem to pull oxygen in. This may be one reason why essential oils high in sesquiterpines increase oxygen levels in the brain when inhaled or topically applied to the skin around the head.
4 Essential Oils for Brain Fog
Circulation™ blend may help increase brain oxygen which can reduce brain fog
Formulated with essential oils like Black Pepper that are high in a component called sesquiterpenes known to help oxygenate your brain, Circulation™ may help deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the brain and reduce brain fog. Circulation™ blend helps to enhance circulation, increasing blood flow to your digestive system which helps boost nutrient absorption, so much so that it is often added supplement formulations to enhance the effectiveness of the supplement. Apply 2- 3 drops on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles to promote circulation and greatly accelerate the healing process.
Brain Inflammation can contribute to brain fog and any remedy that helps calm brain inflammation can help reduce brain fog.
Parasympathetic™ blend helps reduces inflammation by triggering your vagus nerve to release anti-inflammatory neurotransmitters. It is your vagus nerve that serves as a detection system for inflammation.
The vagus nerve’s vast network of fibers stationed around the organs identify inflammation (such as the presence of inflammatory proteins) and alert your brain to send out anti-inflammatory signals, in essence helping to prevent chronic inflammation in your body.
Parasympathetic™ helps improve communication between your body and your brain to help modulate your inflammatory response. In the parasympathetic state, your vagus nerve communicates with the rest of the body by releasing the neurotransmitter acetylcholine which acts as a brake on inflammation in your body, inhibiting the production of pro-inflammatory messengers.
Research has shown strong decrease in inflammatory symptoms from stimulating your vagus nerve. It reduces the over-production of the chemical messenger that causes chronic inflammation but does not affect healthy immune function, so the body can respond normally to infection.
Clove oil, an active ingredient in the Parasympathetic™ blend, helps increase blood flow and improve circulation.
To help reduce the over-production of the chemical messenger that causes chronic inflammation and improve circulation to your brain, apply the Parasympathetic™ oil on your vagus nerve (behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone).
Toxins in the brain stimulate the immune system to trigger inflammation, so anything you can do to help toxins leave the brain can help reduce inflammation and with it, brain fog
Your lymphatic system carries toxins out of the brain down the neck channel. If there is congestion in the lymphatic system in the neck or downstream in the body, it will impair drainage from the brain. If you think of the body like a hydraulics system where congested tissue downstream prevents optimal flow upstream, congested lymphatic vessels in the neck will impede drainage of toxins from the brain.
As you may know, your lymphatic system permeates every part of the body, serving as a complementary system to our circulatory system. It draws fluid from the cells and carries it through a series of lymphatic ducts and nodes back to the circulatory system, establishing the link between the smallest blood vessels – the capillaries – and the cells. As such, it helps remove toxins and infections and other waste from every cell in your body. It works as the body’s septic system, removing the by-products and wastes created from metabolizing our nutrients. Just like the drains in your home, the lymphatic system can get congested and stagnant and toxins can build up.
Unfortunately, the lymphatic system doesn’t have a pump and lymphatic fluid can accumulate and stagnate (learn more about the Lymphatic System here). This stagnation can be due to an overload of acidity, animal protein, gluten, infection, toxins or adhesions of the connective tissue, such as scars.
To enhance lymphatic flow and drainage, generously apply Lymph™ around the sides of the neck to relieve congestion, improve drainage and reduce brain inflammation.
Inflammation in the brain slows down firing between neurons, slowing the overall operation of the brain.
Topically applied essential oils can play a huge role in helping deactivate inflammation in the brain so it can repair and heal.
This is one of the reasons that Vibrant Blue Oils Brain Balance blends are so popular with practitioners. As you may know, essential oils are fat soluble and the brain is comprised primarily of fat so essential oils can easily cross the blood brain barrier and support the brain. Anti Inflammatory™, in particular, supports the anti-inflammation mechanisms of the brain and body.
Anti Inflammatory™ is designed to reduce inflammation and encourage regeneration of damaged or stressed connective tissues that have been chronically inflamed or acutely inflamed. Apply 2-3 drops along the back of the head – from the back of the neck up midway on the scalp to help anti inflame the brain.
Ready to get started? Click the links below to order today:
- Anti Inflammatory™ available here
- Brain Balance Blends available here
- Circulation™ available here
- Lymph™ available here
- Parasympathetic™ available here