By Christina Winnett, M. S. Integrative and Functional Nutrition, CHC
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, occurs when there is an increase of pressure in the arteries due to the heart working harder to pump blood through the body. The causes of this phenomenon are multifactorial, but much of this can be caused by stress and sympathetic nervous system over-reactivity.
One major goal at Natural Heart Doctor for treating hypertension is to reduce stress, both physical and emotional. The heart is responsible for pumping blood to every organ, tissue and cell in the body. When we are stressed and certain systems or organs are not functioning optimally, the heart has to work harder in order to pump the blood. Stress can increase your heart rate and up-regulate production of stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. A chronic state of stress leads to problems for the heart and blood vessels resulting in higher blood pressure.
Alternatively, if we are constantly in a parasympathetic nervous system state, we experience decreased heart rate which helps to conserve energy under resting conditions. We also tap into increased Intestinal motility and secretions, increased blood flow to muscles because of relaxation of arterioles, and dilation of coronary arteries (1).
So how do we restore your parasympathetic nervous system function, also referred to as your “rest and digest” mode? After years of living in a chronically stressed (“fight or flight”) state, our bodies have learned to default to this and it has damaged our autonomic nervous system responses. We must actively re-train this ability to tap into our parasympathetic nervous system through therapeutic strategies including nutrition, relaxation exercises, sleep, supplementation, and essential oils.
Yes, essential oils are a big trick up our sleeve for nervous system restoration! Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. These tiny molecules serve to deliver massive healing properties to act on systems of the body that control our physiological state, both physical and emotional. They can be inhaled, applied topically, or ingested if they are of high quality.
3 Essential Oils for High Blood Pressure:
- Cypress – Helps improve circulation, helping the veins contract, making it easier to stimulate blood flow. It may also help alleviate some of the triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow. Cypress also helps to balance and calm the nervous system, supporting nervous tension, stress, and lack of sleep.
- Ginger root – Helps warm the skin and vessels, promoting circulation. Also helps flush toxins and reduce inflammation of the blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body. Ginger may also help reduce pain and improve digestion.
- Grapefruit – Stimulates the liver, gallbladder and helps the lymphatic system function properly which helps promote blood flow. On emotional and spiritual levels, grapefruit is said to address a person’s self-acceptance and release self-abuse patterns. (1)
Essential oils can effectively work to prevent and treat many cardiac related conditions due to unique abilities to lower stress, activate cholinergic and vagal reflexes, and provide high antioxidant potency to combat oxidative stress. The relaxing effects are often mediated by an increase in nitric oxide synthesis imperative for arterial health and natural vasodilation. (2)
How can you get the benefit of the above oils all in one blend? Enter Vibrant Blue. This company uses only organic materials to create their blends and is housed in gorgeous cobalt blue bottles.
Our favorite blend for hypertension is their Circulation Blend, which contains the above listed oils as well as black pepper, cypress, frankincense, myrtle, nutmeg, and peppermint all for their actions on restoring balance throughout the circulatory system and nervous system.
Circulation blend organic essential oil is great for people with high blood pressure and any cardiovascular issue. Buy the Circulation blend here.
Vibrant Blue also has an amazing blend specifically for support of parasympathetic nervous system tone that can be used in conjunction with their Circulation blend. The parasympathetics help you to relax and lower your blood pressure.
The Parasympathetic blend includes clove bud and distilled lime oils which work to boost mood, stimulate the vagal nerve reflex, improve digestion, and relieve anxiety and nervousness–all essential aspects of normalizing blood pressure. Click here to buy the Parasympathetic blend.
To explore more of Vibrant Blue’s organic essential oil blends, you can check them out and purchase here.
How to use essential oils:
- For Circulation Blend: Apply 1-2 drops on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles as needed.
- For Parasympathetic Blend: Apply 1-2 drops on fingers, rub on the vagal nerve directly (behind ear lobe, on mastoid bone on the neck) as needed.
- In a diffuser: The best diffusers utilize ultrasonic (water) diffusion to preserve the integrity of the oil. You can buy our favorite diffuser here. Simply fill the base to the water line using high quality water, then add about 4-5 drops of oil.
- Massaging with essential oils: Dilute 2-3 drops into organic virgin coconut oil.
- How often: We suggest using essential oils 2-3 times per day or as needed. Especially for our hypertensive patients, using the Circulation Blend daily is important. The Parasympathetic Blend can be used before bed or after meals to help with sleep and improve digestion.
- How to store your essential oils/safety: Too much light can degrade the oil’s potency, so you need to store them in a cool, dark place and in a dark glass bottle like the ones Vibrant Blue oils come in. Pay close attention to the oil’s shelf life. If you have pets in the home, be aware that eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, cinnamon, citrus, pennyroyal, peppermint, pine, sweet birch, wintergreen, and ylang ylang are all toxic to pets. Do not use these oils in proximity to them. (4)