Essential oils – What Are they?
Everyone loves aroma, whether it is of a rose or of a ginger. Essential oils are aromatic oils obtained from different pant parts. These parts include the flowers, petals, blossoms, buds, fresh leaves, dried leaves, branches, barks, stem and roots. The oil is extracted mainly through steam distillation which does not add chemical or heat to the raw materials, thus maintaining the organic nature of the oil.
Every essential oil has its unique aroma thanks to the compounds in the oil and its composition. Besides having an aroma, essential oils also have several therapeutic benefits. One such property is in treating or mitigating high blood pressure.
Essential oils are also used as an ingredient in cosmetics, perfumery and food products. It is commonly used in skincare and hair care; however, more serious health conditions including high blood pressure can be treated with the essential oils of plant parts.
Essential oils are not a new phenomenon; it has been used in traditional medicine for treating various illnesses for centuries and even millennia. The healing properties of the plant and its parts were recognized even in those times. Evidence shows that essential oils were used in healthcare and home cleaning. But, it is only during the modern era that the uses of essential oils extended beyond the cosmetic realm. It is now used in the treatment of physical and emotional ailments.
Some Ailments That Essential Oils Fight
Essential oils have been used in different ancient civilizations. Some of these civilizations are the Chinese, Egyptian, French, Indian, Romans and Greek. Here, the oils were not just used in cosmetics and perfumery, but also in spirituality, hygienic, ritualistic and therapeutics. In fact, even ancient texts are available that describe the merits of essential oils.
Some of the common uses of essential oils are as follows:
- It helps fight common colds, coughs and flu
- It may treat fever
- It induces energy
- Some oils induce sleep.
- It is used to treat stress, anxiety and depression
- It is used to boost concentration and memory
- It is used to relive physical pain
- It is used as massage oil
- It is applied on the hair to stimulate hair growth and healthy scalp
- It is applied on face to eliminate bacteria and prevent acne
- It is applied on stomach to promote digestive health.
How To Use Essential Oil
There are a few ways of using essential oils (even for high blood pressure):
- The oils can be diffused via an aroma diffuser and its aroma inhaled.
- It is diluted and applied on topically as a massage oil.
- It is directly inhaled from the bottle
- It is added to bath water for relaxing bath.
Essential oil can be used as a standalone oil or as a blend with other essential oils. Aromatherapists recommend blending the oils to enhance its benefits.
Essential Oils For High Blood Pressure
The number of people who suffer from high blood pressure levels is rising every year. The issue needs to be understood and treated via an organic way. Essential oils are a good way to take care of high blood pressure the natural way and without side effects. And, early use of essential oils will have a positive impact in the long run. Blood pressure levels rises because of overeating and obesity, improper stress management, lifestyle habits, sedentary jobs, a high salt diet, junk food, cigarettes and alcohol consumption, high caffeine intake and other factors.
Someone who is diagnosed with high blood pressure is often prescribed medications to bring the soaring BP levels under control. Essential oils form an excellent complementary treatment for high blood pressure issues. Inhaling the power of different plants and its oil is a natural way of BP therapy.
A randomized controlled trial was performed in 2006 to understand the effect of aromatherapy on blood pressure and stress. This test was conducted on patients with hypertension. There were 52 participants in total who were divided into three groups. The essential oils used were a blend of lavender oil, ylang ylang oil, and bergamot oil.
The result showed that not only was aromatherapy helpful in lowering blood pressure levels, but it also reduced serum cortisol levels, which means that the oil could lower stress thereby countering blood pressure rise. The health benefits of the oil also help relieve cortisol induced stress in prehypertensive and hypertensive people. (1)
A study on essential oil used in aromatherapy proved that inhaling the aroma lowered blood pressure levels of patients with hypertension and also lowered the stress causing hormone, cortisol.
Essential Oils For High Blood Pressure
The research included in this article has strict sourcing guidelines and are taken from peer-reviewed studies and reputed academic research institutions. Hence some popular oils including rosemary, thyme, hyssop and helichrysum essential oils are omitted from the list.
1. Lavender Essential oil for High Blood Pressure
The oil of lavender is considered to be a natural healer which has a wide range of medical benefits. A study was conducted to learn about the effect of inhaling lavender oil on the heart rate and blood pressure. EEG results showed that after inhalation of lavender essential oil the elevated levels of heart rate and blood pressure dropped and the participants reported a feeling of relaxation.
The European Journal of Preventive Cardiology published a study on July 2014 which analyzed the effect of essential oils on the heart rate and blood pressure of employees of a spa. It was found that inhaling the aroma of essential oils for an hour decreased the heart rate and blood pressure of the employees. However, the study also reported that inhaling the aroma for over an hour may lead to cardiovascular issues. (2)
A study on the effect of essential oils on heart rate and blood pressure concluded that inhalation aromatherapy could lower the heart rate and blood pressure.
2. Lowering Blood Pressure with Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine essential oil has a rich sweet floral aroma that calms the mind and body. It instills positivity and helps control negative emotions including anger, sorrow, pain, annoyance. By controlling emotions jasmine oil can manage stress and depression.
Furthermore the oil eliminates any inflammations from the body which calms the body and relaxes the mind. When the body is calm and the mind is relaxed the blood pressure is automatically lowered. The essential oil inhalation on blood pressure and salivary cortisol levels regulates systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
3. Geranium Oil For Blood Pressure
The oil extracted from the perennial herb Pelargonium graveolens has shown that it can increase blood circulation and detoxify the body. It is also used to improve the digestive system. By acting as a detoxifying agent, the oil is able to remove excess salt from the body which in turn brings down blood pressure levels.
Furthermore, the oil has a balancing effect on the mind and promotes sleep. The essential oil of geranium is also known to be a nervous system balancer, which may soothe an overactive mind. It is also diffused to lower stress and depression. All these qualities of geranium oil work together in lowering elevated blood pressure levels.
4. Essential Oil of Marjoram For Blood Pressure
Sweet Marjoram essential oil may not be as popular as most of the essential oils in this list, but make no mistake the oil has potent therapeutic benefits. This is native to the Moroccan region where it has been used to treat many health–related issues including hypertension.
A study conducted on the cardioprotective activity of marjoram oil showed that the oil could have positive effect on myocardial infarcted patients. It is said to lower the myocardial oxidative stress that usually results in heart attacks. Using marjoram oil regularly lowers the risk of heart attacks significantly. (3)
5. Rose Essential Oil Lowers Blood Pressure
The floral aroma of rose essential oil can take care of hormonal and emotional wellbeing. One of the therapeutic properties of rose oil is in improving blood circulation in the body. Proper blood circulation in the body ensures that the blood pressure is regulated. Uses of rose essential oil reduce hypertension and psychological stress responses.
6. Melissa Essential Oil For Hypertension
Melissa essential oil also known as lemon balm essential oil is a tonic with cardioprotective and hypotensive properties. The oil maintains heart health, which in turn keeps the blood pressure levels in check. Regular use of lemon balm essential oil may keep heart palpitations in check; prevent fast heart beats or tachycardia, and lower the risk of cardiac arrests in the long term.
Lemon balm oil is also known to lower depression and instill energy in the body. Hence, it is used in aromatherapy to lower stress and anxiety (which is another way of managing blood pressure levels). Inhale its aroma for 15-60 minutes to reduce a person’s stress.
7. Frankincense Essential Oil for Blood Pressure levels
Frankincense oil is extracted from the Boswellia sacra plant native to the Arabian Peninsula and parts of Africa. The oil has been used by ancient Egyptian civilization in rituals and ceremonies. Nowadays the oil of frankincense is diffused and breathed in to get peace and satisfaction.
Inhaling the aroma of this oil leads to mental clarity and lower levels of cortisol. This calming effect that the oil brings to the mind and body is good for cardiovascular health.
8. Valerian Essential Oil for BP
Valerian essential oil may not be as popular as most of the essential oils in this list, but the oil have good therapeutic benefits. Some of the known benefits of using valerian essential oil are – it promotes sleep, it controls nervousness, it slows down heart palpitations and hyperactivity. The oil of valerian root is also known to promote sleep.
Diffusing the oil during bedtime ensures deep uninterrupted sleep. This oil is also known to benefit the nervous system. Its nervine properties relax the sympathetic nervous system and help the body relax. Using valerian oil on a weekly basis ensures healthy heart and arteries.
9. Bergamot Essential Oil for Blood Pressure Symptoms
Bergamot essential oil has several therapeutic properties. It is said that inhaling the aroma of the oil in aromatherapy lowers the blood pressure levels in people. Studies have shown that doing aromatherapy with bergamot oil for more than 30 minutes brings down heart beat rate and thus the blood pressure levels as well.
10. Clary sage Essential Oil for Blood Pressure
The oil of Clary sage is known to reduce stress and tension. And as you know, stress and tension can increase blood pressure levels. A study published in the BMC Complementary And Alternative Medicine in October 2014 evaluated the effect of the oil of Salvia sclarea in treating the coronary artery disease called endothelial dysfunction in stress induced rats. The test concluded that Clary sage oil may be useful in treating and preventing stress-induced cardiovascular diseases.
11. Ylang Ylang essential Oil for High BP
Ylang ylang essential oil is diffused to lower tension and stress. It is one of the popular oils in combating mental health issues. By lowering the stress levels, blood pressure is lowered. In aromatherapy a blend of ylang-ylang and bergamot essential oils are used. Inhaling both the oils lowers the cortisol levels in the body thus lowering stress significantly. This lowers the elevated blood pressure levels.
The Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation published a study on April 2013 analyzing the effect of the aroma of ylang ylang oil in lowering heart rate and blood pressure. The participants in the study were healthy men. The study proved that inhalation of ylang ylang reduced the heart rate and blood pressure.
12. Neroli Essential Oil For Blood Pressure Reduction
The essential oil of neroli is extracted from the blossom of the Citrus aurantium plant also known as bitter orange. The oil is used as an ingredient in many cosmetics because of its antiinflammatory properties. A study was conducted on Citrus aurantium L. var. amara oil to find its effect on menopausal symptoms and stress. The randomized control trial found that neroli oil was effective in reducing blood pressure levels of postmenopausal women. It also reduced stress. (4)
Another research was conducted on middle aged women with hypertension. This study showed that an aroma massage with neroli oil (and carrier oil) reduced blood pressure in the women. This study was published on January 2013 in the Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (5).
Precautions To Follow While Using Essentials Oils For High Blood Pressure
Essential oils are a great remedy for many ailments and people include it in their self-care routines. But are all essential oils safe for use? It is imperative or essential to follow caution while using essential oil to avoid side effects and adverse reactions. When using essential oils for high blood pressure, one needs to be extra careful. Essential oils are generally considered to be safe for use – both topical application and inhalation, but it is always wise to use it with caution. The need to follow caution is because every essential oil is different as they are made up of different active constituents and different composition.
Some individuals may be allergic to some compounds while others may be allergic to some others. Essential oils must, hence, be bought are discussing with a healthcare provider or an aromatherapist. Some of the precautions to follow while using essentials oils for high blood pressure are as follows: –
- Buy essential oils only from trusted online vendors. The term pure essential oil can be widely seen on the bottles; but, these may be spurious products.
- While buying essential oils read the label to check for the products’ botanical name and list of ingredients.
- Also check for the composition of the ingredients.
- Learn the difference between essential oils, fragrance oils, hydrosols and essential oil absolutes before buying the oils.
- Show the list of ingredients to a doctor to make sure that you are not allergic to any compounds.
- Some essential oils are used by people with low blood pressure to increase their blood pressure levels. Check with an aromatherapist to ensure that the oil you buy is for lowering elevated blood pressure.
- Never apply undiluted essential oil the skin as it may cause redness on the skin and rashes. Dilute essential oils with suitable base products before topical application.
- While adding essential oils in the diffuser make sure you are adding the appropriate amount as advised by the aromatherapist.
- Do not apply the oils in sensitive areas of the body including eyes, noses and ears.
- Do not apply essential oils on broken skin. Some oils are suitable for application on broken skin, but, check the label to see if it is permissible.
- Some essential oils may be safe for kids and pets. However, it is best practice to keep the oils away from children and pets.
- Always consult an aromatherapist before diffusing or applying essential oils on kids and pets.
- Check the label to see if the oil is photo-toxic, which means the oil may be toxic when it comes in contact with the sun.
- Some other oils may also be sensitive to sun, but here SPFs can protect the skin
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers must consult their doctors before using the oil.
- The oil may cause embryotoxicity; talk with a doctor before using such oils.
- Always conduct a skin patch test before applying the oil topically. This ensures that the skin is not allergic to the oil.
- Sometimes sniffing the aroma directly from the bottle also works. In such cases make sure the nose does not get in contact with the oil.
- Some essential oils cannot be used by people with kidney problems, whereas some essential oils cannot be used by those with blood disorders. It is always advisable to consult a doctor about your essential oil needs and predisposition for diseases.
- Some of the side effects of using essential oils are usually ephemeral. But, if the side effects persist, then contact a doctor.
- Be mindful of rashes, redness, itching and swelling of the skin.
- The food and drug administration does not regulate essential oils. Hence consult doctors before using essential oils.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best essential oil for high blood pressure?
The top 10 best essential oils for high blood pressure treatment are: –
1. Lavender essential oil
2. Bergamot essential oil
3. Jasmine essential oil
4. Ylang ylang essential oil
5. Neroli essential oil
6. Clary sage essential oil
7. Sweet marjoram essential oil
8. Valerian essential oil
9. Cedarwood essential oil
10. Frankincense essential oil
Does lavender oil lower blood pressure?
Several studies have proven that the essential oil of lavender lowers blood pressure levels and stress. It relaxes the mind and body and lowers nervous system excitation.
Does peppermint oil lower blood pressure?
Peppermint essential oil has the ability to relax the mind and body and hence it may also lower blood pressure levels.
- Jin-Hee Hwang. (2006). [The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension]. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17211115/.
- Kai-Jen Chuang, Hua-Wei Chen, I-Jung Liu, Hsiao-Chi Chuang, Lian-Yu Lin. (2020). The effect of essential oil on heart rate and blood pressure among solus por aqua workers . https://academic.oup.com/eurjpc/article/21/7/823/5925767.
- Gamal Ramadan, Nadia M El-Beih, Nadia M S Arafa, Mai M Zahra. (2013). Preventive effects of Egyptian sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana L.) leaves on haematological changes and cardiotoxicity in isoproterenol-treated albino rats. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23054890/.
- Seo Yeon Choi, Purum Kang, Hui Su Lee and Geun Hee Seol. (2014). Effects of Inhalation of Essential Oil of Citrus aurantium L. var. amara on Menopausal Symptoms, Stress, and Estrogen in Postmenopausal Women: A Randomized Controlled Trial. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2014/796518/.
- Myeong-Sook Ju, Sahng Lee, Ikyul Bae, Myung-Haeng Hur, Kayeon Seong and Myeong Soo Lee. (2013).Effects of Aroma Massage on Home Blood Pressure, Ambulatory Blood Pressure, and Sleep Quality in Middle-Aged Women with Hypertension. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/403251/.
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