At least 1.13 billion people have high blood pressure across the globe, while an estimated 7.5 million succumb to the disease yearly, studies show. Elevated blood pressure is a major risk factor for hemorrhagic or ischemic stroke and coronary heart disease. The risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) has also been seen to rise with each increment for about 20/10 mm Hg, from as low as 115/75 mm Hg.
Other complications in this regard may include heart failure, renal impairment, peripheral vascular disease, visual impairment, and retinal hemorrhage. With the high risk of hypertension and its complications, what can be done to alleviate it? Are there natural remedies that can be used to control it? Let’s find out.
What is Blood Pressure?
The systolic and diastolic pressure readings determine blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the force of blood recorded when the heart is beating. Diastolic pressure is the reading recorded when the heart is at rest. In the new blood pressure guidelines released by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) in collaboration with the American Heart Association (AHA) towards the end of 2017, several adjustments were made. The guidelines state that the normal blood pressure should be under 120/80 mm Hg and not the previous 140/90 mm Hg.
A systolic pressure between 120 and 129 will now be considered elevated. This was the range initially considered to be prehypertension. In a nutshell, hypertension occurs when the pressure on the walls of the arteries, and the blood vessels is too high. Because high blood pressure is a silent killer without obvious signs, many people do not realize they have it until serious complications arise. The results of high blood pressure are as follows:
- Arterial damage
- Vision loss
- Ruptured or blocked blood vessels
- Heart failure
- Metabolic syndrome including atherosclerosis, increased waist size, high cholesterol and insulin
- Loss of cognitive function including memory, ability to learn, and concentration
- Reduced kidney function
Although the signs are not obvious, watch out for chest pains, headaches, irregular heartbeat, fatigue, confusion, ear buzzing, vision changes, and nosebleeds.
The causes of high blood pressure include:
- High caffeine intake
- High salt diet
- Emotional stress
- Heavy metal poisoning
- Birth control pills
How effective are Essential Oils in Hypertension?
A clinical study done in 2012 on aromatherapy using a blend of marjoram, ylang-ylang, neroli, and lavender supported the notion that essential oils can lower blood pressure. Used alone or in combination with different oils, essential oils can be effective in hypertension. Although there are many medications for managing high blood pressure, many patients prefer the more natural approach to treat or prevent the condition. Here, we shall focus on the best essential oils and how to use them. However, before indulging, be sure to consult your physician.
Choosing the Best Essential Oil for Hypertension
Begin by evaluating your health issues to determine the best essential oil for your condition. Choosing the right type of essential oil also depends on your specific risk factors. Identify the root cause of your blood pressure to figure out the best essential oil. When used appropriately, essential oils can be safe for high blood pressure. There are 3 methods to do this, including topically, internally, and aromatically.
Because essential oils are lipid soluble, they can easily penetrate the skin. Once applied, they remain in the applied area for localized benefits. Increase the absorption by diluting with a carrier oil such as coconut. When applying potent oils topically, you are advised to blend them with a carrier oil to reduce the risk of a reaction, especially for people with sensitive skin. These oils are safe to apply around the forehead, chest, neck, arms, stomach, and legs. In this method, you could also add a few drops to your bath water or your favorite non-scented lotion.
The sense of smell also referred to as olfactory sense, can generate significant effects in your body. Smelling into these oils can cause them to be absorbed by the smell receptors. Smell receptors affect the limbic system of the brain. This system supports functions such as memory, behavior, smell, and emotions. The easiest way to use essential oils aromatically is through diffusion.
You can use some of the essential oils as dietary supplements. Each time you drink peppermint tea, rosemary or cinnamon, you are unknowingly consuming most of the compounds present in essential oils. The best thing about using the oils internally is you can better target potent health issues in the most concentrated form. Once ingested, the oils penetrate the bloodstream through the gastrointestinal tract.
Because they are lipid soluble, they are easily distributed throughout the body and then metabolized by the liver before excretion. The composition of essential oils is complex, with the biochemical properties of each reacting differently with the body. If you prefer the internal method, check with your doctor first because your body can only handle certain dosages.
Best Essential Oils for High Blood Pressure
Here are the top 17 essential oils you can try:
1. Clary Sage Essential Oil
Also known as Salvia sclarea, the sweet and nutty smelling clary sage is native to the Northern Mediterranean Basin and is widely used as a spice and in medicinal purposes. In a 2013 randomized controlled trial, this plant was found to lower blood pressure significantly when inhaled. It also reduced the symptoms of stress and depression. This hormone balancer can be useful during menopause and may also help with regulating periods. Because it is relaxing and eases nervous tension, it can come in handy when dealing with diabetes.
2. Bergamot Essential Oil
This is a citrus-based essential oil that has a crisp and refreshing smell. Its inhalation or diffusion can lower blood pressure. This is perhaps the reason individuals who practice aromatherapy using bergamot have few blood pressure issues. Not only does it lower blood pressure, but it also helps slow the heart rate to an acceptable level. Bergamot alleviates stress and boosts mood. Inhaling the oil causes the nose to release neurotransmitters, also known as the feel-good hormones. Studies show that inhaling this oil when in a stressful situation, for about 15 minutes, can calm anxiety.
3. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense has been used for a long time to promote mental clarity and reduce stress levels. This anti-inflammatory oil is native to the ancient Egyptians, commonly used to promote the peace of mind. It is a powerful therapeutic grade oil that has calming effects, helping to regulate the heart. Because it can slow the pumping of blood and soothe the cardiovascular system, it is good at controlling blood pressure. This sedative oil will boost your sleep and protect your heart. Blend it with a carrier oil and apply it directly to your chest or neck before sleeping. Because it has a sweet and strong aroma, some people choose to diffuse it.
4. Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
This essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes that contain a soothing and hypotensive effect. It is also known to relax nervous muscles and relieve stress, which can cause high blood pressure. Ylang ylang promotes a normal blood flow which puts less strain on the blood arteries and vessels. Because it is also an excellent sleeping aid, it prevents sleep apnea. It has an intensely sweet floral aroma. You might enjoy the aroma of this floral oil by placing a few drops on your neck or wrist.
5. Citronella Essential Oil
Did you know that the same stuff you use to get rid of mosquitos could be your greatest aid in bringing blood pressure levels down? When diffused, citronella essential oil can lower blood pressure and improve heart health. It is mostly recognized for its ability to get rid of mosquitoes, but it is also an important essential oil for people with high blood pressure. Citronella is also an antiseptic, analgesic, anti-parasitic, and antifungal.
6. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antibacterial disinfectant. This light-yellow essential oil which smells like nutmeg is extracted from a plant native to Australia and is mostly used as an antiseptic. Recent scientific research found that this essential oil can be used for many health benefits. It calms the nervous system and can also slow down heart rates. It contains anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, and analgesic properties. Research now shows that performing massages with this oil regularly can lower blood pressure.
This is high in esters and alcohol and is one of the sweetest and smoothest essential oil. Lavender is one of the most versatile oils and carries many health benefits, including reducing high blood pressure. It balances the nervous system and works as a tonic, with analgesic properties helpful for curing headaches. This is an effective antidote for emotional imbalance, depression, and the disorders of the nervous system. Lavender lowers blood pressure, alleviates cardiac excitation, and is effective in palpitations.
8. Chamomile Essential Oil
This is one of the oldest medicinal herbs and is effective and easy to use. Diffusing it or applying it topically can improve blood pressure levels and relaxes the heart. It can also decrease digestive issues, calm the mind, reduce inflammation, and treat skin ailments. Because it contains high levels of flavonoids, chamomile essential oil offers cardiovascular protection, in turn, reducing mortality from heart disease.
9. Marjoram Essential Oil
Marjoram has the same properties as those found in lavender. It is a tonic that warms and balances the body and has high alcohol content. Marjoram has a spicy woody fragrance and is used to treat lethargy and nervous exhaustion. It also releases emotional desires and obsessive thoughts. Replace dried marjoram with its potent oil and sniff it from the bottle to calm the mind and the body.
10. Neroli Essential Oil
This essential oil contains anti-hypertension properties. Blended with marjoram, ylang-ylang, and lavender, the results can be almost instant with long-lasting positive effects on blood pressure. Neroli can also be used as a cleanser and moisturizer. If you are looking to reduce depression and anxiety, the uplifting scent of this essential oil can help. You only need to inhale this oil from a bottle. A negative emotional pattern can elevate blood pressure leading to chronic hypertension.
11. Rosemary Oil
This is a top stress reliever and is highly effective at lowering blood pressure. Many people are prone to having high blood pressure because of stressful lifestyles and the inability to control hormones. This essential oil can soothe inflammation and lessen the strain on the heart. Because it is powerful oil, do not diffuse it all day. Use it for a few hours combined with a natural base to control your blood pressure.
12. Mandarin Essential Oil
Mandarin is known to be an effective stress reliever and is also good at reducing anxiety. It calms the nervous system, relieves muscle cramps, and improves the functioning of the liver. It is an excellent way of calming the mind to prevent blood vessels from constricting. In turn, blood pressure levels stay healthy. The high vitamin and antioxidant properties in this essential oil balances the metabolism and keep the cardiovascular system working properly. You could diffuse this refreshing natural oil around your home to keep your blood pressure low and nerves soothed.
13. Jasmine Essential Oil
Jasmine is euphoric, a property that makes it highly effective in calming the nerves, boosting optimism, and increasing confidence. Its emotion-balancing qualities enhance breathing while relieving depression.
14. Geranium Essential Oil
High blood pressure can cause the mind to be overactive and trigger anxiety and stress. This essential oil relieves stress by balancing emotions and improving circulation. It also enhances digestion, the quality of sleep, and the ability of the body to detoxify. Use this oil before going to sleep. You could mix geranium with a tablespoon of coconut oil and apply it directly to your neck, wrist, and chest to give your body an extra boost.
15. Rose Otto Essential Oil
Rose contains a refreshing and energizing scent that calms the mind. It is rich in anti-inflammatory properties and produces relaxing effects in the body. This essential oil balances emotional and hormonal imbalances. It also enhances blood circulation stabilizing blood pressure.
16. Melissa Essential Oil
Also known as lemon balm, Melissa Oil uplifts the body and boosts mood with its antidepressant properties. It also restores balance and enhances healthy digestion by increasing the production of bile. With its sweet and relaxing aroma, Melissa acts as a tonic for the heart through lowering high blood pressure and preventing heart attacks.
17. Valerian Root Essential Oil
The valerian root eases insomnia, heart palpitations, shock, nervous tension, and hyperactivity. This essential oil contains powerful calming effects on the nervous system. Its sedative effects act as nerve relaxers allowing a tense, nervous system to be soothed. You might want to use it at night for a restful sleep if your insomnia is linked to high blood pressure.
Given the serious nature of high blood pressure, it is important that you avoid taking an unnecessary risk by first consulting a certified Aromatherapist before using any essential oil. Certain essential oils can cause inflammation to critical areas of your body, and can also result in allergic reactions, dangerously low blood pressure, hormonal imbalances, and sedation. Some can also have adverse interactions with your hypertension medication. Using the right essential oils can be rewarding. However, misusing them and applying incorrectly can lead to adverse effects.
How Essential Oils Lower Blood Pressure
When applied to the skin, essential oils penetrate your system through osmosis to lower the level of cortisol, which is responsible for regulating blood pressure. Cortisol is the fight or flight hormone that is triggered by stress. Because your skin cells have a semipermeable membrane, a certain amount of absorption takes place in the bloodstream. This is why essential oils are effective through diffusion. Once inside the body, you can experience the following:
- New cells growth
- Natural healing
- Better immune system
- Better digestion
- Improved toxin elimination
The other way of soothing the system and lowering high blood pressure is through inhalation. As the lungs oxygenate the blood, small oil molecules are absorbed into the blood. It means these oils can also be used in the form of sprays or candles. Essential oils work by dilating the arteries and keeping the body and mind in harmony. They also act as antioxidants by calming the nerves and keeping emotions under control.
How safe are Essential Oils during Pregnancy?
Using essential oils during pregnancy may be safe, but several considerations must come into play. First, it is important that you be in good health. Essential oils are extracted from different plants. Because strengths vary, it is crucial that you only consume essential oils in small doses. Purchase the oils from a reputable source and be sure they are of the highest quality. There may be possible effects of essential oils in the uterus and the fetus, so always check with your doctor before using them.
Essential Oils to Avoid
If you have high blood pressure, there are certain essential oils to avoid. Note; the ingredients of some essential oils are potent and could cause adverse effects. Here are some of them:
- Cedar nut
- Black pepper
- Olive oil
The regular use of any of these essential oils could elevate your blood pressure and should, therefore, be avoided.
Other Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
- Epsom Salt: Taking baths using Epsom salt has been linked to decreased blood pressure. Magnesium present in Epsom salt may help to regulate your blood pressure. Before using it, check with your doctor if it is right for you.
- Tea: Black tea has a burst of energy, while green tea offers a calming effect. 2-3 cups of these teas could maintain a healthy blood vessel function.
- Vinegar: Vinegar is great for your heart. Apple cider vinegar has been medically proven to lower blood pressure.
Hypertension is a serious issue that can quickly graduate to some severe health complications. Not only are patients at a higher risk of heart disease and stroke, but also heart failure, dementia, kidney issues, damaged vision, aneurysm, and coronary artery disease. While there are high blood pressure medications that can be prescribed, essential oils can also come into play and aid in alleviating the condition.