From lavender, rose to eucalyptus, essential oils are known for their aroma and various health and wellness benefits. Lowering blood pressure can be one of them.
A recent study conducted confirms that something as simple as an essential oil can help lower high blood pressure.
When left untreated, hypertension can damage your arteries, lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease and vision issues. The first line of treatment for hypertension is making simple lifestyle changes such as eating a low salt-diet, exercising regularly, saying no to alcohol and learning to manage stress. Many people also require medication to bring their blood pressure back to normal range and lower their risk of diseases.
Essentials oils can help lower blood pressure but should not be a substitute for medication.
How essential oil works in lowering blood pressure?
Stress can have a direct and indirect impact on your blood pressure. Essential oils help by reducing stress levels that can release cortisol and other hormones that raise the blood pressure. Stress can also make you overeat, make unhealthy choices, which can increase your blood pressure.
When you smell an essential oil, the feel-good hormones get released, reducing the stress. The autonomic nervous system activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which acts as a brake and calms your body.
The essential oils used for blood pressure
If you are having any medication for hypertension, use essential oils in addition to that and not alone. Studies suggest that essential oils such as ginger, black pepper and turmeric can help reduce the blood pressure by widening the arteries and decreasing inflammation. The essential oils that help by activating the parasympathetic nervous system response include Roman chamomile, ylang-ylang, neroli, lavender, bergamot, rose and clary sage.
In a small study of 29 men, half of them spent one hour in a room with the scent of ylang-ylang and the other half spent the same time in a fragrance-free room. The scent of ylang-ylang had a sedative effect on the men, who had slightly lower blood pressure and heart rate as compared to their counterparts in the no fragrance room. The blood pressure dropped from 115/66 to 97/59 in the ylang-ylang group. The study was published in 2013 in the Journal of Exercise Rehabilitation.
The scent of lavender is linked with calmness and tranquillity. In another study conducted on 126 people with dental anxiety, half of them inhaled lavender oil before wisdom tooth surgery and half did not. It was observed that people who inhaled lavender oil felt less anxious and had lower blood pressure than the people who did not inhale lavender.
Best way to use essential oil
It’s best to use essential oil through an individual inhaler, aroma stick or aromatherapy jewellery (bracelet, necklace). If you do not have a personal inhaler, you can put a few drops on a cotton ball or gauze pad and inhale. You can also use an essential oil diffuser, which involves a mix of essential oils and water and then is released in the air.
Drops of essential oils can be added to massage oil, lotion and can be applied to the skin. Always use diluted essential oils on the skin and some of them are highly concentrated and can irritate the skin.
Side effects of essential oils
Some side effects of essential oils include headache, cough, shortness of breath, nausea and burning of the eyes. But these effects typically go away when you cannot smell the scent.
How to purchase essential oils?
When you buy essential oils, make sure to buy the oils that come in dark amber or cobalt blue bottles. This protects them from the light which can make them lose their fragrance and any therapeutic qualities more quickly.
If you plan to use essential oils to lower your blood pressure, do not discontinue the medicine. You can reach out to a qualified clinical aromatherapist for consultation.