Essential Oils, Aromatherapy, And Heart Health

December 12, 2019

1 in 4 deaths in the US is directly linked to cardiovascular disease, this is quite a significant proportion considering the multitude of possible death causes. Why is this case? One would ask. Cardiovascular disease is greatly influenced by diet and lifestyle, and it can affect literary anyone. Unfortunately when it creeps up, it is hard to manage unless through drastic lifestyle changes. Because of this, prevention appears like the best approach to diminish this mass massacre. Essential oils form part of the arsenal that one needs in order to keep cardiovascular disease at bay. This article explains why essential oils are good for your heart.

Reducing your risk of heart disease involves taking drastic measures to transform your lifestyle and dietary habits. This can include adopting a heart healthy diet, quitting smoking, limiting alcohol intake, engaging in daily exercise, and closely monitoring your cholesterol and blood pressure. A heart healthy diet is made up of different things; in a nutshell it should reduce the foods that may be toxic to your heart in high amounts and increase those that are not. Essential oils are usually used in aromatherapy to reduce the risk for heart disease. They come as part of adopting healthy lifestyle habits that reduce cardiovascular risk and promote heart health.

Aromatherapy And Essential Oils

Essential oils are sweet smelling compounds that are derived mainly from distilling flowers, leaves, wood, and plant seeds. The compounds that are produced are fragrant and also have healing properties. They have been used medicinally for centuries in different parts of the world. They can either be used in aromatherapy or alternatively they can be diluted in  carrier oil and applied to the skin.

Aromatherapy has an indirect effect on heart health. It does not directly prevent heart disease but it lowers stress, anxiety, and high blood pressure which are triggers for heart disease. A 2012 study showed that aromatherapy using essential oils can lower blood pressure through effective relaxation. However, aromatherapy should be delivered in short busts as long sessions exceeding 1 hour can have the opposite effect.

8 Herbs With Essential Oils That Are Good For Your Heart

1.   Basil

Basil is a common herb that packed with essential oils, vitamin K and Magnesium. It can be used in the preparation of soups, pesto, or pizza. Apart from the minerals, basil extract

This “royal herb” pops up in pesto, soup, and on pizza. It packs a solid dose of vitamin K and magnesium. In addition, extract from basil leaves can be used to lower bad cholesterol and promote heart health. Bad cholesterol plays a major role in atherosclerosis by depositing fat molecules along artery walls.

2.   Cassia

The cassia flower extract reduces blood glucose levels and promotes insulin production. This is not just good for the treatment of diabetes but also for the prevention of heart disease. That’s because unregulated high blood glucose can increase the amount of plaque that forms on your artery walls

3.   Clary sage

Clary Sage is not a common herb, but research has shown that its extract is effective at decreasing systolic blood pressure. High blood pressure is closely linked to cardiovascular disease and getting this under control can halt cardiovascular risk.

4.   Cypress

Cypress oil is frequently used in aromatherapy because of its anti-anxiety and stress relieving properties. It has also been shown to have a direct effect on blood pressure; it lowers blood pressure. All these effects contribute to overall heart health.

5.   Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus has the pharma green light as it is commonly included in cold relief products like cough drops for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is effective in managing pain and inflammation, factors which may contribute to increased blood pressure and heart disease.

6.   Ginger

Ginger is a common herb across many cultures and it is included in a number of foods and beverages. It is known for having anti-oxidant and anti-emetic properties. Recent research has shown that ginger can be used to lower bad cholesterol levels and in turn promote heart health.

7.   Lavender

The lavender extract is frequently used in perfumes, air fresheners, and soaps because of its drawing scent. It is also used as an essential oil in aromatherapy because it can help to relieve stress, depression, and low spirits. This is because it produces an overall calm and relaxed mood in those inhaling it. Overall, these effects lower the risk for heart disease. On occasion, lavender is also used to ward off mosquitoes.

8.   Marjoram

Marjoram is a Mediterranean herb that is a close relative of oregano. The marjoram extract has been used to lower blood pressure and reduce risk for cardiovascular disease. It achieves this by relaxing blood vessels and improving the flow of blood in vessels.

Are Essential Oils Safe?

Essential oils are safe to be used either topically or through inhalation. However, when used topically they need to be mixed in skin friendly carrier oil or otherwise some may burn the skin. They also should not be ingested orally.

Safety tests for essential oils have shown few, if any adverse when these oils are used as directed. Most essential oils generally recognized as safe (GRAS) by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

But even with such a modest safety profile, it is good to consult with your healthcare provider before starting out on essential oil therapy.

  • References

  1. CDC: Heart Disease Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm
  2. Research Gate: Effect of Eucalyptus Oil Inhalation on Pain and Inflammatory Responses after Total Knee Replacement: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/249322327_Effect_of_Eucalyptus_Oil_Inhalation_on_Pain_and_Inflammatory_Responses_after_Total_Knee_Replacement_A_Randomized_Clinical_Trial
  3. NCBI (2012): Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3521421/
  4. NCBI (2014): The effect of essential oil on heart rate and blood pressure among solus por aqua workers. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23197402

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