Got Chemobrain? These Essential Oils Will Help!

Got Chemobrain?  These Essential Oils Will Help!

When I was going through chemotherapy, all of the people in my cancer support group who were also undergoing chemo were complaining about chemobrain – and it was clear that they were forgetful, vague, preoccupied, and befuddled!

While I had it to a certain degree, for me it was much more manageable and manifested itself as a slightly sort of foggy or vague feeling.

Finally someone asked me why I seemed to be doing so much better than the others and I confessed I really didn’t know.  And then it hit me several days later while I was in the bathroom applying my essential oils.  Of course, it was the essential oils that I use daily, and I knew that no one else in my support group was doing that.

Certain essential oils have the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier, which is a naturally occurring barrier in your brain created by brain blood vessels that prevents many substances from leaving the blood and crossing the capillary walls into the brain tissues.  It’s a defensive mechanism designed to protect your brain from harmful chemicals.

I’ve used essential oils as my “first aid kit” for over 13 years.  See my page Essential Oils For Overall Health And Specific Health Problems.  I continue to use them to this day.

Here are my favorites for battling the effects of chemobrain:

1.  Frankincense – used in religious ceremonies for thousands of years, frankincense has wonderful medicinal properties – it has potent anti-disease properties, it is an immune stimulant, good for respiratory infections, it helps promote meditation, improves attitude and uplifts spirits.

frankincense Frankincense resin

2.  Sandalwood – it grows in India, it has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine for skin revitalization, meditation and yoga.  It also has potent anti-disease properties, it enhances sleep, stimulates the pineal gland in the brain which is the center of emotions and is responsible for melatonin production.  Sandalwood was mentioned in Dioscorides’ De Materia Medica (A.D. 78), which was Europe’s first medical guide and became the standard reference for herbal treatments for over 1700 years.

sandalwood Sandalwood log

3.  Palo Santo – found in South America, used by the Incas to purify and cleanse, to repel mosquitoes, for fevers, infections and skin diseases.  Its name means holy or sacred wood.  It is one of my favorite oils.  It also has anti-disease properties, good for arthritis, respiratory problems and breathing it deeply opens your brain!

palo santo tree Palo Santo Tree

4.  Peppermint – this is especially good for digestion.  I used it when going through chemotherapy because it helped ease excess stomach acid.  Put a drop of peppermint oil in a glass of water – it will not only wake up your brain, it will relieve the icky tummy that chemo causes.  It also improves your sense of taste by stimulating the trigeminal nerve.

NA003490 Peppermint

5.  Lavender – calming, relaxing, balancing, lavender is another anti-disease oil, it helps with respiratory infections, it’s an anti-inflammatory, great for mosquito bites, burns, skin conditions, so many things.  University of Miami researchers found that inhaling lavender oil increased beta waves in the brain – the beta waves are what come out to play when you are in an ultra-relaxed state such as meditation or sleep.  I love deep breathing lavender – it has such a profound effect on the nervous system.

lavender2 Lavender fields

Regular use of essential oils – whether it be through inhalation, diffusing, bathing, or massaging them into your body promotes health in so many ways.  Battling chemobrain is one of many uses for essential oils.  Just beware of the source because not all oils are created equally.  Use a a medicinal grade essential oil! For more info, see my page: Essential Oils for Overall Health and Specific Health Problems.

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9 thoughts on “Got Chemobrain? These Essential Oils Will Help!

  1. I have just started using essential oils from Young Living. I have chemobrain due to chemo for ovarian cancer. So am interested in how you used these oils for chemobrain. Did you have a specific formula, mixture, application location, frequency of application, etc.

    I am 13 months in remission, but still very aware of my chemobrain. Would so appreciate any suggestions you have.

    Thank you…….Susan

    1. Hi Susan,
      Thanks for your questions. I just chose the oils that resonated with me, but I always made sure they were the ones with the most anti-cancer activity (and I paid attention to and compiled all the research I could find about that – let me know if you’d like a copy of the research links I found). I used them on my body, I meditated with them (which incidentally is excellent for chemobrain because it helps the neuro-plasticity of the brain – a very good thing), I breathed them in deeply every day. You can also use a cool mist diffuser at your desk or anyplace where you know you’ll be sitting for an hour or so. I also highly recommend detoxing both with juicing and with cleansing the toxic chemicals out of your body. It’s all about oxygenation and detoxifying the body. Let me know if I can assist you!
      Warmest regards,

  2. Thank you for this article. As a massage therapist I know the power of the essential oils that I use on my clients. Trying to get them to understand takes time…. But I know they work.

  3. Thank you. This information was very helpful. I am building my YL business and there are several people I am working with who can use it. Would like to follow your posts.

  4. Marnie – your website is a wonderful breath of fresh air and support into my journey! So grateful! Would love more information on the meditation and essential oil plan you developed. In chemo now headed to radiation in a few months. Thank you!

  5. Hi again. I find all of your atriclrs to be so informative and helpful. I just haf my 1st cycle of chemo. How soon should I start using the oils to help with chemo brain? Do you suggest a certian amount of times a day to use them? Would it be more helpful if I mix a few different oils together?

    1. Hi Larissa,
      I’m glad you are finding my articles to be helpful. Feel free to begin using essential oils just as soon as you can (sorry for the delay in responding!). As to frequency of use, you can breathe in essential oils virtually anytime it is convenient for you. I have them at my desk, in my handbag, in my bedroom, in the kitchen – they are everywhere! So I always have something nice to breathe in when I need it. You can’t really over-do it. If you are feeling a bit brain-foggy that’s the best time to use them! Yes, you can also combine oils. For instance lighter oils like citrus oils combine well with heavier oils, like lavender with orange, or frankincense with tangerine (a divine combo!), my personal favorite is palo santo with orange. Cedarwood has become a new favorite as well. So do feel free to combine and enjoy their beautiful effects.
      Warmest regards,

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