Many of you ask how essential oils work on the brain when using them. I have often been asking this question from people, maybe because we all have been using essential oils more than ever, finding the best option to relax or improve our mood and reduce stress, anxiety, or depression in recent years. Many times the only option that we have is to take a hot bath and turn our bathroom into an aromatherapy studio.

Fill the bath with essential oils of choice, and let some more fill the air too. Aromatherapy is a proven way to improve your mood and make you happier and relaxed. Depending on the type of oil you’re using, you can aim towards different parts of the brain controlling different emotions.

This is exactly what we’re going to talk about in this article. We will talk more about how essential oils work on the brain and the science behind them. How the smell we feel affects us, and how does it make us feel better. Follow up and learn more about it!

There are three types of essential oil application

in order to understand how essential oils work on the brain, the first thing we need to talk about is what the application process of essential oils is. There are mainly three ways to use essential oils – inhaling, massage, and ingestion. All three are equally functional, and it all depends on the personal preference of the one using them.

The first method is scattering the smell of the oils through diffusers or aromatherapy candles. The second is by rubbing the oils on the skin through a thorough massage, and the last is by using the oils in cooking sessions or, better said, through foods.

There are three types of essential oil application

It’s crucial to know that all methods create the same effect on our bodies. The only difference between them is the way the essential oils will get into our system. This is done through our nose, the skin, or the gut. Let’s see more about the science behind it.

The science behind essential oils

When the essential oil mist gets inside our nose, is rubbed on our skin, or digested through our mouth, it instantly goes into the bloodstream. The process in all three methods is the same. Essential oil particles may be consumed differently, but all of them will guide the oil particles into the bloodstream.

From there, they travel across the entire body, but the most important part where they will go is the brain. When it gets there, among other things, it will affect one essential system in particular called – the limbic system.

The limbic system is the part of the brain dedicated to our emotions and behavior, but also our long-term memory and olfaction. For those that haven’t heard of the term olfaction so far, it is used for our sense of smell, which is why the most popular way for using essential oils is through the air – the scent goes directly into the limbic system.

When the scent affects the limbic system, it sends a signal through the nerves to other parts of the brain in charge of our behavior and emotions. Hormones start producing what is needed to feel once again relaxed, calm, happy, and satisfied. Dopamine, serotonin, endorphin can all improve their functions by letting the scent of essential oils get to the limbic system.

The science behind essential oils

Not every essential oil is the same, though. Although we take our sense of smell for granted, it is actually a highly complex mechanism. The olfactory system checks every air particle that goes inside the nose with some of its sensors.

For example, the olfactory tubercle has 27 inputs and 20 outputs to help us transfer the information from the nose to nearly all surrounding systems – from the amygdala to the eye retina, which instantly reacts to it.

When you spend enough time in a room filled with the odor of your favorite essential oil, or the one you chose especially for the occasion, your brain will be affected, and you’ll soon start reacting to it. It doesn’t take too much time for the scent to get to the brain, which explains is why we instantly feel emotion when we smell a wonderful aroma.

What essential oils affect our brains the best?

As we mentioned, not every essential oil is the same. Scientists prove that the human olfactory system can detect one trillion different odors. They all affect our brains differently, and once our nose gets in touch with them, the information stays there forever.

What everyone is probably interested in is what essential oils affect our brains the best? That depends on what you’d like to accomplish. If you’re stressed and you want to become relaxed, you’d want a lavender scent to fill your room.

What essential oils affect our brains the best

If you’re in search of dopamine and want to boost your energy, try some peppermint oil. Sandalwood is excellent for learning and when you need to focus on something. Jasmine is excellent for improving your libido, while lemon is perfect for headaches. More about essential oils you can be read in this article.

As you can see, they all have their functions. That’s because the brain is used to the smell and reacts accordingly. With nearly 100 different essential oil options, you may say that you can cover all your mood issues and get in the right place at all times by inhaling the right scent.


If you ever wondered how essential oils manage to make such huge changes in our feelings by simply exposing ourselves to the scent of particular plants’ oils – now you know how it’s done. The science behind the aromatherapy methods is amazing.

This is why we often say that aromatherapy is science and needs to be explored thoroughly. There are tons of aromatherapy and essential oil curses on the internet for everyone to learn more about them, so if you like to make the most of it, feel free to search for the best ones out there.

This article is what you need if you want to learn how essential oils get inside our system, how they affect the brain, and what essential oils are good for various issues. We learned how these oils make changes and how to use them properly. If you want to know more, do follow the other topics we have covered in our blog.