Backpack Essentials for Students

Parents typically want to do all they can to help their children succeed in school. Whether your child is going down the street to the local elementary school or across the country to college, there are some great ways that essential oils can help your student achieve his or her greatest potential in school.

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Passing the Test

Nothing is worse during a test than seeing a question and knowing that you studied the answer, but it just won’t come to you. Essential oils may be able to help with that problem. According to one source, “A university in Japan experimented with diffusing different essential oils in the office. When they diffused lemon there were 54% fewer errors, with jasmine there were 33% fewer errors, and with lavender there were 20% fewer errors. When essential oils are diffused while studying and smelled during a test via a hanky or cotton ball, test scores may increase by as much as 50%. Different essential oils should be used for different tests, but the same essential oil should be used during the test as was used while studying for that particular test. The smell of the essential oil may help bring back the memory of what was studied.” Another study indicated that subjects who learned a list of 24 words while exposed to a certain aroma had an easier time re-learning the list when exposed to the same aroma than those who were exposed to a different aroma while trying to re-learn the list.1 Further studies have indicated that rosemary2 and peppermint3 aromas were found to enhance memory during clinical tests.

Whispi_GirlA couple ways you can have the aroma of an essential oil with you while you study and while you take your test is to put the essential oil(s) in personal diffuser such as a nasal inhaler, Whispi™ diffuser, or aromatherapy jewelry. The Slap-on Scents Bracelet is perfect for young students that have small wrists. AromaTools® carries a large variety of aromatherapy jewelry with styles accommodating all—boys and girls alike.

Calming the Stress

For many students, school means stress. Whether the stress is brought about by tests, homework, trying to fit in extracurricular activities or jobs, or from trying to create and maintain good friendships with others, essential oils can be a great aid to de-stressing after a stressful day. According to author Marlene Erickson in Healing with Aromatherapy, “EEG tests of the brain’s rhythm patterns found that neroli, jasmine, and rose induced delta rhythms, with some inducing a combination of delta and theta rhythms. Delta and theta rhythms are associated with reducing mental chatter and allowing for more intuitive thought processes” (p. 65). Marcel Lavabre also recommends chamomile, neroli, marjoram, lavender, and ylang ylang oils to help deal with stress in his Aromatherapy Workbook (p. 49). Research studies have found evidence that lavender,4,5 lemon,6 and ylang ylang7 oils may help reduce stress.

As mentioned above, you can take a personal diffuser with you to school with the aroma of these essential oils. You can also rub these oils on your feet at night or in the morning as needed to help reduce stress.

Fighting the Bugs

When lots of students congregate in classrooms, lunchrooms, locker rooms, or dormitories, there are abundant opportunities for germs to spread. Essential oils are a great natural way to help keep those germs at bay. According to the book
Modern Essentials, essential oils such as melaleuca, thyme, cinnamon, peppermint, oregano, and blends containing these oils, such as Protective Blend, have been shown in multiple studies to exhibit antibacterial, antifungal, and even antiviral properties (pp. 257–63).  A great way to stop the spread of germs is to keep your hands clean. This hand sanitizer can be useful when soap and water are not readily available. Another hand sanitizer recipe and cute gift idea can be found here.
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Getting the Energy

Between late-night study sessions, after-school activities, sports, jobs, and the many other activities students are involved in, sometimes it can be hard to find the energy needed to be awake and alert during the school day. According to several authors, some essential oils can be naturally stimulating. Marlene Erickson writes, “Stimulant essential oils are used for conditions of mental fatigue, poor memory, and difficulty concentrating. Stimulants are useful when you’re feeling tired or sluggish and need to boost your mental activity. EEG tests used to evaluate stimulant essential oils such as black pepper, cardamom, and rosemary indicated that they induced beta brain rhythms. Beta rhythms correlate with aroused attention and alertness” (Healing with Aromatherapy, p. 66). In addition to these oils, Modern Essentials also lists peppermint, Joyful Blend, eucalyptus, orange, ginger, grapefruit, rose, rosemary, and basil as other stimulating essential oils (p. 370).

These oils can be used in a personal diffuser or applied to feet or wrists. Roll-on bottles are useful for applying essential oils while at school.

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Essential Tip: Keep essential oils close at hand for your student by placing the oils in small 1/4 dram or 5/8 dram vials and labeling each vial with a circle or rectangle label so it can be easily identified. Place up to 8 different oils or blends in a handy Aroma Ready™ Key Chain Oil Case. Place this small case in a the pocket of a backpack or book bag along with a copy of “An Introduction to Modern Essentials,” and your student will have quick access to the oils and information on how to use them anytime there is a need!

For more information on this topic, see any of the books listed above or the sources below. You can also read the other post in this series: “Backpack Essentials for Teachers”.

1. David G. Smith, Lionel Standing, and Anton de Man, “Verbal Memory Elicited by Ambient Odor,” Perceptual and Motor Skills 74, no. 2 (April 1992): 339–43.

2. Mark Moss, Jenny Cook, Keith Wesnes, and Paul Duckett, “Aromas of Rosemary and Lavender Essential Oils Differentially Affect Cognition and Mood in Healthy Adults,” International Journal of Neuroscience 113, no. 1 (January 2003): 15–38.

3. Mark Moss, Steven Hewitt, Lucy Moss, and Keith Wesnes, “Modulation of Cognitive Performance and Mood by Aromas of Peppermint and Ylang Ylang,” International Journal of Neuroscience 118, no. 1 (January 2008): 59–77.

4. Erin Pemberton and Patricia G. Turpin, “The Effect of Essential Oils on Work-Related Stress in Intensive Care Unit Nurses,” Holistic Nursing Practice 22, no. 2 (2008): 97–102.

5. Naoyasu Motomura, Akihiro Sakurai, and Yukiko Yotsuya, “Reduction of Mental Stress with Lavender Odorant,” Perceptual and Motor Skills 93, no. 3 (December 2001): 713–18.

6. Migiwa Komiya, Takashi Takeuchi, and Etsumori Harada, “Lemon Oil Vapor Causes an Anti-Stress Effect via Modulating the 5-HT and DA Activities in Mice,” Behavioural Brain Research 172, no. 2 (September 2006): 240–49.

7. Tapanee Hongratanaworakit and Gerhard Buchbauer, “Relaxing Effect of Ylang Ylang Oil on Humans after Transdermal Absorption,” Phytotherapy Research 20, no. 9 (September 2006): 758–63.

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