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Dear Mr. Tisserand,

I have been a student of essential oils for the last 15 years or so. I have what seems to be a defeating question. I’ve looked for the answer from some people in aromatherapy and tried also to find the answer online.
Is there any kind of research on essential oils and healing the brain, whether it be strokes or epilepsy?
I am particularly interested in essential oils on healing stroke victims.
I am not in the medical field. I would like to do a research paper on this but have hit a dead end.
My husband had a stroke 6 years ago. I asked a very knowledgeable aromatherapist what
oils would heal a stroke. He said there were none.
I asked my brother who has been in the medical field for 20 years, what can heal the brain from a stroke. He said there is nothing.
I do not accept these answers. I am a firm believer that the human body has the power to heal anything. If essential oils can pass the blood/brain barrier, why wouldn’t there be an essential oil that could heal the brain? For every ailment, there is a plant.
I did do a little experiment after my husband’s stroke. It was about a week after it happened and he went into rehabilitation. The first night I used bergamot essential oil and put a few drops on his pillow before he went to sleep. The next morning the nurses were bragging how alert he was that day trying to get up and walk. That night, I put a couple of drops of lavender on his pillow before he went to sleep. The nurses the next day said he was awful. They said he wouldn’t try to get up. He wouldn’t try to eat. That night I used bergamot again. The next day the nurses said he was up, more alert, using a walker to try and gain strength back. After that night, I continued to use bergamot until he got out for that hospital.
I would really appreciate any information you can give me. Thank you so much for your time.

Lynn W.

Hi Lynn,

Thank you for your detailed message, and I applaud your efforts to help your husband.

As far as I know, there is no clinical research that shows a benefit for stroke victims from essential oils. However, there is good clinical research showing that inhalation of an essential oil constituent (perillyl alcohol) has been successful in treating brain cancer in some patients. This, and other research, demonstrates that the molecules of inhaled essential oils do enter the brain, and that this route has potential for healing in some neurological diseases.

In one rat study, bergamot essential oil inhibited the damage caused by “focal ischemia” (the same type of damage caused by stroke) . The oil was injected, not inhaled. This suggests that bergamot might be helpful if used at about the same time as a stroke occurred, but it does not necessarily suggest a curative effect after the fact. However, if anything is likely to be helpful, bergamot would be a good candidate, and your own observations support this conclusion.

Best wishes,

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