Just Add Oils to Your Back-to-School Tools (Including 7 Diffuser Blends)

Summer is almost over, and the school year is about to start. As you start gathering your pencils, notebooks, textbooks, and other school supplies, consider gathering some aromatherapy supplies as well. Essential oils can be very beneficial for students and teachers and can enhance the learning experience. In fact, studies have shown that essential oils can help increase memory, enhance concentration, promote calmness, boost energy, and fight bugs.
Even just smelling the scent of an essential oil can affect emotions and improve mental clarity. One study showed that “when essential oils are diffused while studying and smelled during a test, 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.”

Modern Essentials lists the following oils to help with memory: rosemary, peppermint, frankincense, basil, clove, lemon, juniper berry, cedarwood, ginger, grapefruit, lime, bergamot, rose, dill, lavender, lemongrass, and petitgrain.

Want to give it a try? Here’s how: pick a single oil or an oil blend to inhale while you are studying for your test or attending class. You could even label the oil(s) you choose with a class subject. Every time you study that subject, diffuse those oils or place them in a nasal inhaler and periodically breathe in the scent as you study. During the test, pull out the nasal inhaler again and breathe the scent again when you need a little memory boost.
Nasal inhalers make it easy to take the scent of oils with you wherever you go. They even allow you to breathe in the scent without making others around you smell the oil as well. We’ve created 7 essential oil diffuser blends that can also be used in nasal inhalers. Simply drop the oils on the wick; then insert the wick into the inhaler, and push the base in to close it. Place the inhaler close to your nose, and inhale the aroma.

Each of the following diffuser blend recipes can be doubled and placed in a nasal inhaler:

Morning Sunshine:
2 drops orange
2 drops peppermint
2 drops lime
Calm Down:
4 drops lavender
2 drops Roman chamomile
2 drops cedarwood
Afternoon Energy Boost:
3 drops peppermint
2 drops rosemary
2 drops grapefruit
Anxiety Helper:
4 drops lavender
2 drops lemon
2 drops ylang ylang
Mental Clarity:
3 drops lemon
1 drop basil
1 drop rosemary
1 drop frankincense
Smarty Pants:
3 drops peppermint
2 drops basil
Study and Testing Time:
3 drops peppermint
3 drops rosemary
2 drops lemon

Another alternative to nasal inhalers are Whispi® diffusers. You can also make the above blends in a small bottle, then put 1–2 drops of the blend on aromatherapy jewelry. A key chain case is a great way to store and transport your oils—it even has a carabiner to attach to your backpack.

Want to learn more? We’ve put together several other posts on how essential oils can be useful at school. Follow the links below to see these helpful hints:
Backpack Essentials for Students
Backpack Essentials for Teachers
Back to School Tip #1: Stinky Locker?
Back to School Tip #2: School Lunch?
Back to School Tip #3: Multiple Choice?
Back to School Tip #4: First-Period Chemistry?
Better Focus Diffuser Blend

How do you use essential oils at school? What essential oil tools do you use to enhance learning? We’d love to hear your experiences!

Backpack Essentials for Teachers

If you are a teacher getting ready for the beginning of school, don’t forget to include essential oils in your preparations. There are many great ways that essential oils can help you and your students throughout the school day. We discussed some of these in our post “Backpack Essentials for Students,” but we would like to discuss other ways a teacher can use essential oils in the classroom.

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Diffusing Essential Oils

Have you ever felt the nervous energy when a test is about to begin? Do you have students that have a really hard time focusing on what is being discussed? Do you teach early-morning or late-afternoon classes and see your students falling asleep at their desks? If you have experienced any of these situations, your classroom may benefit from diffusing essential oils!

Here are a few diffuser blends we have put together that you can diffuse in your classroom:

Morning Sunshine:
2 drops orange
2 drops peppermint
2 drops lime
Calm Down:
5 drops lavender
3 drops Roman chamomile
Boosting Energy:
3 drops peppermint
2 drops rosemary
2 drops grapefruit
Mental Clarity:
3 drops lemon
1 drop basil
1 drop rosemary
1 drop frankincense
Anxiety Helper:
4 drops lavender
2 drops lemon
2 drops ylang ylang
Testing Time:
3 drops peppermint
3 drops rosemary
2 drops lemon

If you find that you like these diffuser blends, it might be a good idea to make a larger batch of each diffuser blend, store them in new bottles, and label them so they are easy to add to your diffuser.

Some school districts have restrictions on diffusers that plug into the wall. If this is the case at your school, you may want to consider a diffuser that is battery operated or can be connected to a USB power bank or computer. These are the options AromaTools® carries that fall in this category:

Keeping Germs at Bay

Anytime a group of people gather in a room, especially 5 days a week, there are bound to be germs aplenty being passed around. Essential oils can be beneficial for keeping these germs at bay and maintaining a clean environment. Remember, healthy kids show up to class and are more likely to pay attention. We have put together a few cleaning sprays that would be useful in keeping a classroom clean: Natural Cleaning Sprays.

Essential oils can also help clean the air. One study found that a blend of lemongrass and geranium oils diffused into the air was able to reduce airborne bacteria in an office by 89%.1 Try misting a antibacterial blend of essential oils around your classroom before and after classes each day. In her book Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child, aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood provides a recipe for making an anti-infectious room spray. We have included her recipe below.

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Anti-Infectious Room Spray

  • Servings: Yield=4 oz. (120 ml)
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Ingredients & Supplies:

  • 20 drops thyme essential oil
  • 5 drops cinnamon essential oil
  • 5 drops clove essential oil
  • 10 drops melaleuca essential oil
  • 10 drops lemon essential oil
  • 1/4 cup (60 ml) pure alcohol (such as vodka)
  • 1/2 cup (120 ml) distilled water, divided
  • Two 4 oz. glass spray bottles

Instructions:

  1. Combine essential oils and alcohol into one of the glass spray bottles. Screw lid on, and shake to combine.
  2. Transfer half of the mixture to the other spray bottle. Add 1/4 cup (60 ml) distilled water to each spray bottle. Screw lids on, and shake each bottle to help combine the liquid.
  3. Allow to sit for 24 hours before use.
  4. To use, simply mist around the room as needed.

Source: Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child by Valerie Ann Worwood, p. 37.

Ask Permission

Keep in mind that some schools have bans on perfumes or fragrances, so you may need to get specific permission from your principal or administrator to use essential oils in the classroom. It is also a good idea to get permission from the parents of your students so they know you are using essential oils around their children.

Essential Oil DIY Products for Teachers

We also wanted to include a list of essential oil products that may be useful for a teacher to keep in the desk. And if you want some essential oil craft ideas to use with children, click here.

1. A. L. Doran, W. E. Morden, K. Dunn, and V. Edwards-Jones, “Vapour-Phase Activities of Essential Oils against Antibiotic Sensitive and Resistant Bacteria including MRSA,” Letters in Applied Microbiology 48, no. 4 (April 2009): 387–92.

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.

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.

AT_BackpackEssentials_Studying

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!

Want some essential oil blends to diffuse or inhale while you study or take a test? Check out these 7 Back-to-School Diffuser Blends!

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.

Essential Oils 101

Since we are in the “back-to-school” spirit, let’s do a little review on some of the basics of essential oils.
EssentialOils101

Quick Definitions from Modern Essentials

Essential Oils: Substances created inside aromatic plants that are both volatile (they evaporate) and oil soluble (they easily mix with oils and fats).

Aromatic: Referring to plants that have an aroma.

Topical Application: Placing an essential oil directly on the skin or other surface of the body.

Aromatic Application: Often called “aromatherapy,” aromatic application refers to inhaling an essential oil or its aroma.

Internal Application: Internalizing an essential oil, typically through the mouth.

Carrier Oil: A carrier oil refers to a vegetable oil, wax, fat, or other oil that an essential oil is mixed with. The carrier oil “carries” the essential oil and dilutes it so its effects can be spread over a large area.

Neat: Applying an essential oil by itself, without diluting it in a carrier oil.

Dilution: Mixing an essential oil in a carrier oil so its effects are not concentrated in one area.

Volatile: A substance that will evaporate when exposed to air is referred to as volatile. Volatile substances are typically light substances with small molecules.

Single Oil: A single oil is one type of oil (e.g., lemon, peppermint, lavender) by itself.

Oil Blend: An oil blend is a mixture of two or more single oils. Oils are typically blended to combine their individual properties or aromas.

Photosensitizing: Some essential oils (typically citrus oils) contain natural substances called furanocoumarins. Furanocoumarins can react with ultraviolet light to create substances that may cause hyperpigmentation or burning on the skin. While essential with furanocoumarins have many beneficial properties, care should be taken after applying these oils on the skin to protect the skin from direct, prolonged ultraviolet light exposure for 1–3 days.
(Modern Essentials, 6th Edition, inside front cover)

Essential Oil History 101

EgyptiansSince the beginning of time, aromatic plants have played an important role in medicine, religion, cosmetics, perfumes, courtship, and many other aspects of human life. Many ancient texts from all over the world discuss the use of aromatic herbs and the use of the aromatic constituents steeped or extracted from these herbs in oils, unguents, and salves for medicinal or other purposes.

While many people believe it was the smell of these aromatic plants that first attracted mankind to the use of aromatic plants for medicine, modern science is beginning to show that there is more to essential oils than just the smell.

Essential Oil Science 101

An essential oil is a group of chemical constituents that are distilled or extracted from all or part of an aromatic plant. Essential oils are volatile (meaning they can evaporate and be distilled) and oil soluble (meaning they will dissolve in or combine with oils or other lipids). The constituents that make up an essential oil are created by plants for immune defense, pollinator attraction, damaged tissue healing, and other metabolic purposes within the plant.

Science

A single essential oil can actually be a complex mixture of hundreds of different chemical constituents, including various terpenes, esters, alcohols, aldehydes, ketones, phenols, oxides, and others. Many of these individual constituents have been shown in scientific research studies to demonstrate some remarkable properties––antibacterial, anti-cancerous, antioxidant, stress relieving, anti-inflammatory, and many, many more. Many constituents of essential oils also have the unique ability to penetrate into cells where they can assist in the cell’s natural functions and may even help combat viruses or other pathogens that have invaded inside a cell.

Because of these many different properties, essential oils are now often used aromatically, topically, and even internally to help support the body’s own natural healthy functions in many different ways.

If you are interested in learning more about the science behind essential oils, Modern Essentials contains more detailed, yet easy to understand, explanations about what essential oils are, the essential oil constituents, how essential oils are extracted, and how essentials oils interact with the body.

Therapeutic-Grade Essential Oils 101

Before using an essential oil, you should know that not all essential oils are created equally. Many oils are created as fragrance oils for use by the perfume industry or as flavoring oils for the food industry. Since these industries are primarily concerned with getting the smell of the oil at a low cost, many of these types of oils are extracted using harsh chemical solvents or are diluted with artificial chemicals that alter the properties of the oil and may even be harmful to the body. These types of oils should be avoided.

RoseOilBottleOnly essential oils that have been certified for their purity as a therapeutic-grade essential oil should ever be used for therapeutic purposes. Natural, pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are only steam distilled (or pressed from the peel in the case of citrus oils) from plants that have been grown in the right way and in the right location—making them a powerful blend of therapeutic constituents in just the right proportions to help support the body’s own natural mechanisms to maintain health and well-being.

Oils and Water 101

You may have heard this saying by now: “Oil and water don’t mix!” If you have a reaction (such as redness or a burning sensation) to an essential oil, don’t run to the sink and try to use water. Here’s what Modern Essentials says to do:

OilWater“While pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils are generally safe and gentle to apply on the skin in the recommended amounts, a few oils such as oregano or cassia are very concentrated and may cause discomfort or heat when too much is applied directly on young or sensitive skin, or if they are accidentally placed into the eyes or other sensitive areas of the body. If this happens, ALWAYS use a vegetable oil such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil to dilute the essential oil and relieve discomfort. NEVER use water to dilute the essential oil. Since water and oil don’t mix, placing water over the essential oil can actually drive the oil deeper into the tissue, increasing the feeling of discomfort. Placing a carrier oil over the essential oil will cause the essential oil to mix with and be dispersed within the carrier oil, helping to relieve discomfort” (Modern Essentials, 6th Edition, inside front cover).

For more information on any of the above topics, please refer to the Science & Application section in Modern Essentials.

Source: Modern Essentials, 6th Edition

Have you learned anything new from this little lesson about essential oils? Is there an essential oil topic you would like us to expound on? We would love your feedback! Please comment below.

See Modern Essentials: Back to School Tip #2

Whether you bring your own lunch, eat at the school cafeteria, or buy lunch from a restaurant, this tip may be for you!

Back to School Lunch

See Modern Essentials: Back to School Tip #1

Summer is coming to an end and school is starting again. If you or someone close to you is gathering needed school supplies for the upcoming year, don’t forget to include essential oils and a copy of Modern Essentials! Check back each Monday over the next few weeks for reasons why these items may come in handy at school!

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