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Memory Loss, Forgetfulness and Dementia

by Penny Keay

Dealing with forgetfulness and memory loss can be frustrating for everyone. We all suffer from forgetfulness at one time or another.

Have you ever walked into a room and wondered what it was you were going to do or what you were looking for? This type of forgetfulness is common at any age but as we do grow older, these occurrences seem to become more frequent.

Although essential oils can help they can't cure memory loss by any means.

Of course the older we get the more likely it is for us to have combined short term and long term memory loss. This is more than just simple forgetfulness.

To start off, the best essential oil to help with memory is Rosemary.

Whether you are having a busy day, a student with lots of material to remember or need to remember what you are working at, to focus, Rosemary is the essential oil of choice.

In the past, it was recommended to use Rosemary with caution in people with high blood pressure. In actuality, Rosemary, is considered a regulator or balancer.

In other words, if you have high blood pressure it could help to normalize it and if you have low pressure it could bring it up. If your blood pressure is normal it should not change it one way or the other.

To help to not forget things, we need to pay attention and to concentrate better on the tasks at hand.

Diffusing essential oils into the air while you are collecting your thoughts will help to be more receptive to the memory processes.

Commonly used essential oils to help with forgetfulness include:

Cypress, Ginger, Cistus, Basil, Lemon, Black Pepper, Frankincense and Peppermint

For some the following oils will also stimulate your memory

Bergamot, Cardamom, Clove bud, Geranium Grapefruit, Juniper berry, Lavender, Neroli, Spearmint, Vanilla

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Try these wonderful blends – simply put the drops of the recipe in a glass bottle, blend and add to your favorite diffusing method.

Usually for memory and concentration using a Personal inhaler or wear on jewelry is the better options.


Rosemary - 15 drops
Lemon - 10 drops
Peppermint - 5 drops


Black Pepper - 10 drops
Frankincense - 5 drops
Cypress - 10 drops


Basil - 8 drops
Grapefruit - 10 drops
Lavender - 7 drops
Rosemary - 5 drops

Stay Focused blend

Lemon – 8 drops
Rosemary– 8 drops
Sage – 2 drops
Clove bud – 1 drop

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Blend all in a glass bottle. Then apply 1-2 drops on a Terra Cotta Pendants. This blend is best used near yourself. It is not recommended for room diffusion.

As with all essential oils they should be used in small amounts and with caution in anyone in poor health. If you are not sure about using essential oils check with your health care provider. Most will give thumbs up if you want to give them a try.

Rosemary is often times suggested to be used with Alzheimer's and dementia patients. We have had several nursing care facilities that find this oil to be very helpful. (More on Alzheimer’s below)

Remember that essential oils used with the elderly and children should always be used 1/2 strength of the amounts that would be used in a normally healthy person.

Essential oils when blended together may help enhance memory and they may help to provide clarity. Especially when you blend Rosemary and Basil you may notice a difference.

There are other essential oils that may also help to trigger your memory and heighten thought processes. These include: Ginger, Lemon, Grapefruit, Thyme, Black Pepper and Coriander.

Several of the oils in this group help with the confusion which is often times associated with memory loss.


Grapefruit - 8 drops
Basil - 7 drops
Black Pepper - 5 drops
Ginger - 4 drops
Helichrysum - 5 drops

Mix these in a glass bottle and apply a drop or two on a Terra Cotta Pendants or other aromatherapy jewelry.

It will diffuse slowly throughout the day. This blend can be used in a diffuser also. This blend may be very helpful for patients with dementia.

A great blend to help with concentration and focus is:


Lemon - 20 drops
Basil - 6 drops
Rosemary - 2 drops

Mix oils then diffuse into the air.

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A Bit more on Alzheimer’s & Dementia Patients

Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia go hand in hand. The oils we suggest for dementia will be beneficial to those suffering from Alzheimer's also.

Dementia caused from strokes, or other illness such as encephalitis, anemia and other health reasons can all benefit from the use of essential oils.

The link between the sense of smell and memories is very strong and certain aromas can be used to spark different results.

Often times it is the sense of smell that will bring the mind back into present day by allowing the patient the ability to recognize and associate quality care/ friendship with a particular scent.

Not only the patient, but also those caretaking, whether they are family, friends or health care professionals can benefit from the use of these precious oils.

Penny lost her father to probable Alzheimer’s disease (we did not have an autopsy and Alzheimer’s can only be truly diagnosed after death by autopsy).

"I feel that had it not been for the use of our Essential Oils and Aromatherapy for the years he was so ill, I would not have managed the emotional tolls this disease had taken on my well-being." "Unfortunately for me, my father would not accept any essential oils we tried to diffuse around him." I hope this will not be the case for you.

In the UK**, research has been done with several dementia patients using True Melissa (aka Lemon Balm).

In all the cases where Melissa or Melissa and Lavender were used in a lotion or massage oil the results showed improvements in several areas: Increased ability to communicate, increased motor or functionality skills, better sleep, willingness to participate in daily activities, decreased aggressive or agitated behavior

Some essential oils we often suggest to start with when dealing with dementia besides Melissa and Lavender include Bergamot, Ylang-Ylang, Patchouli, Rosemary ct verbenon and Peppermint, Orange, Lemon, Frankincense and Vetiver.

One suggestion would be after a week or so diffusing Rosemary and Lavender try to add a little Bergamot: Then a week later Ylang-Ylang.

Sometimes you need to try a combination of two or more of these. Most often you will see a calmer, more accepting change in the individual.

If these don't work see the lists of oils in this article for some more suggestions. (True Melissa can be very expensive to use for long term use so we suggest using some of the other essential oils listed first).

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Restlessness and interrupted sleep can usually be helped by using Lavender especially at bedtime. Other helpful oils include Neroli, Geranium, Jasmine and Roman Chamomile.

Other oils than may be helpful for dementia and Alzheimer’s include Basil, Ginger, Black Pepper and Cardamom.

These oils should be tried during waking hours as they can evoke memories and in some cases cause too much stimulation to the brain for later in the day use.


We also know that Alzheimer and Dementia patients also have poor appetites. Oils that may help to stimulate appetites and help with memory include Lemon, Lime Nutmeg, Clove bud, Coriander, Orange, Grapefruit, Cinnamon leaf, Ginger, Cardamom, and Black Pepper.

Now to help those special people, the Care Takers:

Husbands, wives, sons and daughters and the many other friends and relatives. And we don't want to forget those working with these patients in the nursing care and assisted living facilities.

Essential oils are very beneficial to these folks too.

Anyone who has taken care of Alzheimer or Dementia patients understands the demands you have had to endure.

Feelings of being so helpless while watching your loved one slowly lose touch with their ability to take care of themselves and losing their memories, slowly watching them drift away, both emotionally and physically from the person we all once knew.

We know there are many essential oils that can help the caretakers too. Any oil that is used for depression is helpful. Oils that make you feel happy and are uplifting can also help.

Again, Lavender, Ylang-Ylang and Bergamot can help the caretakers too!

Here is a special blend to give you comfort.

Vanilla - 10 drops
Rose Otto - 7 drops
Jasmine - 7 drops
Orange - 6 drops

Blend together and diffuse. Simply put a drop or two on a cotton ball and smell throughout the day.

At one of the nursing homes, we have helped with several of their patients, found that pinning a cotton ball (they call it a "flower") on their patients’ collar and putting a drop or two of essential oils on them makes their patients feel special as they get their "flower" each day! Not to mention the other benefits they receive.

This inspired us to create our Aromatherapy Lapel Dots.

Although Alzheimer’s and Dementia can be awful to endure, rest assured that even though we don't have a cure, we do have hope and we do have aromatherapy to help us until then.

**Alzheimer’s Society UK

All the products listed in the article are available at our Shopping Site - see link below.

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© 2012, 2015, 2017 Penny Keay All rights reserved Worldwide.
Please do not use my information without my permission.

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