What if we told you that nature had a gift for you? A gift that can lower your blood pressure, has minimal side effects, can reduce healthcare costs, and smells great. Would you take it? Nature does have a gift—many gifts, in fact. Gifts that will help your heart, lift your spirit, and rejuvenate your soul. Adding any of the following essential oils to your medicine cabinet may help lower your blood pressure and help you achieve your 100 Year Heart. Thank you, mother nature!
Essential oils: nature’s miracle medicine
Since the beginning of time, aromatic plants have been the basis of medicine. Essential oils have been used by cultures worldwide to treat a multitude of ailments, from wound healing to stomach aches.
Plants are incredible. Through the power of sunlight and the magic of rain, plants harness miraculous healing qualities. Therapeutic oils reside inside plants, helping protect them from bugs and shield them from animals and harsh environments. These chemicals that protect plants can also benefit humans.
Essential oils are concentrated plant oils extracted from the roots, leaves, flowers, bark, peel, or seeds of plants. Not all plants produce essential oils, but those that do can be used to make oils that capture the plant’s scent or flavor, also called its “essence.”
Oils extraction typically happens using one of two methods. The first method, steam distillation, separates the oil and water-based compounds of the plant. Alternatively, essential oil producers can use mechanical methods to extract the oils, such as cold pressing. The extraction method affects the quality of the oil, depending on the temperature or pressure applied.
Either way, it takes many plants to make essential oil. For example, it takes approximately 105 pounds of rose petals to make one small 5 ml bottle of rose oil. Similarly, it takes 50 lemons to produce one 15 ml bottle of lemon essential oil. Concentrating the most powerful part of the plant to make an essential oil is both potent and expensive.
Benefits of essential oils
If there’s a health problem, there’s likely an essential oil that can help. From stress to headaches to skin disorders, essential oils treat various conditions.
Essential oils can:
- Improve sleep
- Relieve anxiety and depression
- Reduce inflammation
- Relieve nausea
- Kill bacteria, viruses, and fungi
- Aid in breathing
- Increase circulation
- Reduce pain
- Repel insects
- Regulate menstrual problems
Essential oils and the heart
The health benefits of essential oils extend to the heart and circulatory system. For example, research has found that essential oils may decrease heart rate, lower blood pressure, and assist with relaxation.
The exact mechanisms by which essential oils work to decrease blood pressure are not well studied. However, research suggests that they play a role in activating the vagus nerve, restoring antioxidants, regulating nitric oxide, and reducing oxidative stress.
Perhaps the most likely way essential oils lower blood pressure involves restoring the nervous system. Most people live in a continuously heightened state of stress. Spending excess time in this “fight-or-flight” state leads to dysregulation of the nervous system. Stress releases hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol, causing increased heart rate and blood pressure.
Studies have found that essential oils may help restore the body to the parasympathetic “rest-and-digest” state. For example, in a small study of 40 postoperative heart surgery patients, just ten minutes of exposure to lavender oil significantly reduced blood pressure and heart rate. The study echoed previous studies with similar results.
In a 2012 randomized study, individuals with high blood pressure were asked to inhale essential oils or artificial fragrances. Half of the group was exposed to the essential oil blended with lavender, ylang-ylang, marjoram, and neroli, while the other half to a synthetic blend. The researchers found that inhalation of the essential oils lowered blood pressure and the stress hormone cortisol.
9 essential oils to lower blood pressure
Derived from evergreen trees, cypress oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial qualities. In addition, this fresh, woody fragrance improves circulation. It may also help alleviate triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow. Cypress also balances and calms the nervous system, supporting nervous tension, stress, and lack of sleep.
Like ginger itself, ginger root oil improves blood circulation and lowers blood pressure. Additionally, ginger root oil helps flush toxins out of the body, reducing inflammation. Ginger oil may also help decrease cholesterol, lowering the risk of cardiac disease.
We bet you didn’t realize that you could extract oil from a grapefruit! This citrusy oil is removed from the peel. Grapefruit oil stimulates the liver, gallbladder, and lymphatic system, helping to promote blood flow and reducing blood pressure.
One of the most popular and widely-used essential oils, lavender has a tranquil, recognizable smell. A 2016 study of 126 people with dental anxiety revealed that lavender inhalation invoked calmer feelings and reduced blood pressure. Another study found that lavender effectively reduced cortisol stress levels.
Lavender has also been shown to improve sleep in cardiac patients. As quality sleep is essential for maintaining healthy blood pressure, you may want to add lavender to your rotation.
This uplifting and citrusy essential oil is excellent at calming the nervous system and reducing blood pressure. Bergamont is also known to promote healthy cholesterol levels and balance blood sugar. In addition, a 2020 study that exposed 100 spa workers to bergamot essential oil concluded that up to one hour of exposure promoted relaxation, lowering both the heart rate and blood pressure.
Derived from a star-shaped tropical flower, Ylang-Ylang essential oil is known for its sweet, calming scent. This therapeutic oil could help individuals connect to their hearts and release negative emotions. This mood enhancer is said to relieve grief as well. In addition to offering emotional aid, studies suggest that it may also help to lower blood pressure and heart rate.
Described as calming, soothing, and bitter-sweet, clary sage oil induces relaxation and has a powerful sedative effect. Perhaps these soothing effects influenced the results of a 2013 randomized control trial.
Thirty-four female patients undergoing surgery were assigned to inhale clary sage, lavender, or a control oil for the study. Those exposed to clary sage had reduced blood pressures and heart rates. The study authors concluded that linalyl acetate, the main component of clary oil, relaxed vascular smooth muscle, thus lowering blood pressure.
Better known for opening the airways and treating colds, eucalyptus oil has a minty, wood-like smell. Eucalyptus opens the blood vessels, allowing for better circulation. In a 2013 study, Eucalyptus successfully reduced pain and blood pressure in patients who had undergone a total knee replacement. As pain increases, so does blood pressure. Therefore, using Eucalyptus to address pain may lower blood pressure indirectly.
A cousin of oregano, this warm, spicy oil has a wide array of health benefits. Marjoram is a vasodilator, meaning it widens the blood vessels. As such, it eases blood flow and reduces blood pressure. A 2017 study found that inhaling marjoram essential oil had remarkable effects on blood pressure and heart rate. In addition, the relaxing effects of marjoram oil lower the stress response, helping put the body back in a parasympathetic state.
How to safely use essential oils
There are many ways to use essential oils safely. The most common use is through inhalation, either through a diffuser, humidifier, shower, or directly from the bottle. The best diffusers utilize ultrasonic (water) diffusion to preserve the oil’s integrity. Simply fill the base with high-quality water and a few drops of oil.
Most essential oils can also be applied directly to the skin. However, some can cause skin irritation due to potency. Therefore, it’s best to dilute two to three drops in organic virgin coconut oil before applying.
Note: Internal use is not recommended.
Can you use more than one essential oil at a time?
Yes, it’s safe to mix essential oils. Many companies already do this for you, calling them blends. Our favorite company, Vibrant Blue Oils, uses only organic materials to create blends housed in gorgeous cobalt blue bottles.
Our favorite blend for hypertension is their Circulation Blend, which contains some of the above-listed oils. Additionally, Vibrant Blue also has a fantastic blend specifically for parasympathetic nervous system tone. The Parasympathetic blend includes clove bud and distilled lime oils that boost mood, stimulate the vagus nerve reflex, improve digestion, and relieve anxiety and nervousness–all essential aspects of normalizing blood pressure.
Buyer beware: Not all essential oils are created equal
As there is little regulation of the essential oil market, the quality of oils varies greatly. In addition, some essential oils labeled as such may not even have the “essence” of the plant inside the bottle.
Remember, you inhale the ingredients in essential oils. If the oils are grown using pesticides or chemicals, those dangerous substances will enter your lungs and impact your health. Be sure to purchase pure and organic oils, such as Vibrant Blue.
If you are working to regain optimal health, essential oils are another tool to add to your toolbox. When used in combination with a healthy diet, exercise, stress reduction, and quality sleep, essential oils may help lower your blood pressure. While you should consult your doctor before discontinuing any medication, lifestyle changes and essential oils may help you achieve that goal.
Eat Well · Live Well · Think Well
Medical Review 2022: Dr. Lauren Lattanza NMD