If you have a child or adolescent who struggles with:

  • reading and re-reading text – they’re really having a hard with absorbing and comprehending it
  • struggling with mental mathematics
  • following complex directions
  • you’re getting reports of them being highly distractible in the classroom
  • they have to work really hard to get fairly average results even though you know they’re a lot brighter than their results are telling you…

It’s quite possible that they may have a working memory problem, and if that’s true, a new study out of Northumbria University in England will be good news for you.

They completed a study with 40 children aged 10 to 11 years. Each group were given the same complex thinking activities, but half of them were exposed to pure essential rosemary oil via a diffuser, while the other 20 weren’t.

The oil group achieved much greater results than the non-oil group. This finding builds on earlier research with adults, with one study in particular which found a 75% improvement in working memory. Now that’s going to have a big impact on your child’s end of year report card and more importantly on their confidence.

These findings are promising and agree with my experience using rosemary oil with my clients. Certainly what we see when we’re working with children with working memory problems is when they start to overcome it, they become happier and more confident because they no longer have to work so hard to follow conversations and do things that others do with greater ease.

To use the rosemary, be sure to use ONLY pure essential rosemary oil – either through a cool air diffuser at home when your child is studying, (or in the classroom) or use a necklace (oil diffuser locket) or on a “sniffy” with the oil diluted by a carrier oil placed on a tissue or handkerchief (being careful not to ingest the oil as it is toxic to swallow).

According to guidelines, caution should be exercised using rosemary oil in children under 10, and not at all with children under 6 years of age. If you’re uncertain if you can use this with your child, check with your GP or health provider. As always take care to follow precautions, note any unusual reactions and stop use at any signs of allergies. 

So if you have a child 10 years old or over, why not try the oil this exam season? Perhaps this little hint will help them get over the line a little more easily.


A. Pengelly, J. Snow, S.Y. Mills et al Short-Term Study on the Effects of Rosemary on Cognitive Function in an Elderly Population
J Med Food 14 (0) 2011; DOI: 10.1089/jmf.2011.0005
British Psychological Society (BPS). “Rosemary aroma may help you remember to do things.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 April 2013.
British Psychological Society. “Rosemary aroma can aid children’s working memory: Exposure to the aroma of rosemary essential oil can significantly enhance working memory in children.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2017.
M. Moss, L. Oliver. Plasma 1,8-cineole correlates with cognitive performance following exposure to rosemary essential oil aromaTherapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, 2012; DOI: 10.1177/2045125312436573