Every third American is reportedly diagnosed with high blood pressure. The results of hypertension are severe and life threatening in a small percentage of cases, while in most other cases, the condition is life altering in nature. Some of the common effects of hypertension include heart attack, stroke, damaged blood vessels, organ damage, dementia, and impaired memory, among a host of other issues. Medication for high blood pressure is sometimes lifelong in nature for a specific percentage of patients. There are multiple claims about the efficacy of essential oils for high blood pressure. We will look at the claims and the reasons behind the claims, before profiling some of the essential oils that have proven outcomes in treating high blood pressure.
What exactly is hypertension and are essential oils for high blood pressure effective?
Oxygenated blood that is supplied to the tissues and organs are vital for proper functioning. The heart pumps blood through the circulatory system, by creating pressure, which moves the blood through an intricate network of blood vessels. The pressure is built through two forces – systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure refers to the pressure created when the blood is pumped out of the heart. Diastolic pressure is created when the heart rests between subsequent beats. High blood pressure refers to the condition when the heart is forced to work harder during this process of pushing the blood through the blood vessels. As the force with which the blood moves through the blood vessels increases, this causes long term damage to the tissues and the organs that receive the blood. Among the many adverse outcomes, atherosclerosis is common, due to the gradual build up of plaque on the walls of the arteries. This in turn, results in a narrowing of the arteries, which raises the blood pressure, and increasing the possibility of further damage to the organs. With the reasons for high blood pressure established clearly, it is now time to look at the efficacy of treatment using essential oils for high blood pressure.
Mechanism of action of category of essential oils for high blood pressure
The bioactivities and mechanism of action of essential oils have been studied for the treatment of various conditions. This includes the use of essential oils for high blood pressure. Essential oils are typically known for antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Additionally, essential oils also have proven preventive and therapeutic mechanisms of action that make it suitable for treating various conditions. For instance, studies were conducted on coumarin in the peels of citrus fruits. The research clearly showcased how a decrease in blood pressure was achieved without any impact on the heart rate. Similarly, studies conducted on monoterpene citronellal indicated that vasorelaxation was achieved, in addition to reduction in mean arterial pressure. All studies clearly indicate that dose dependent results were observed in the achievement of reduction of blood pressure. The studies were mainly focused on the results of compounds and substances in essential oils. The studies did not delve into specific mechanism of action. However, the results have been positive in nature and this in turn makes out a strong case for the use of essential oils for high blood pressure.
In addition to this, the various other properties of essential oils make them suitable for use in treating hypertension. For instance, aromatherapy and topical application of essential oils are known to reduce stress. This helps to ease some of the common effects that are typically observed among individuals diagnosed with high blood pressure. Essential oils have cardiovascular effects that are attributed to the chemical compounds in the essential oils. The combination of the various chemical compounds and the mechanism of action of the oil makes it a good treatment option. In most cases, essential oils for high blood pressure are used as a part of the treatment process. In other words, essential oils are often not the only treatment, but work alongside other measures that include medications and lifestyle/dietary changes.
Composition of essential oils – an overview
Before we profile the various proven essential oils for high blood pressure it is necessary to look at the composition of essential oils. This is important to understand the connection between the essential oils and the mechanism of action/bioactivities that have been outlined earlier. Typically essential oils comprise a mix of various hydrocarbons (saturated as well as unsaturated), terpenes, ketones, ethers, aldehydes and alcohol among others. Essential oils are characterized by strong, distinct odors, which explains the role in aroma therapy. Diluted essential oils that are inhaled, work powerfully to deliver desired outcomes.
Proven essential oils for high blood pressure
Here is a brief outline of some of the top, proven essential oils for high blood pressure.
Citronella Essential Oil – As briefly mentioned above, this qualifies as one of the most suitable essential oil for treating high blood pressure. This is because of the chemical compounds that have been studied, with well documented results on the effects on pressure. In addition to the commonly known effects of stress reduction, Citronella Essential Oil will reduce blood pressure levels. This will work perfectly in combination with other treatment regimens.
Frankincense Essential Oil – One of the oldest essential oils, Frankincense has powerful effects as a stress buster. In addition to bringing down stress, Frankincense Essential Oil is considered to be effective in regulating heart rate. This is attributed to the mild sedative effects of essential oils, which in turn help to regulate heart rate and reduce blood pressure to a certain extent. This is one among essential oils for high blood pressure that work in tandem with medication.