Currently, heart disease kills more people than anything else.1 A total of 610,000 men and women per year in the U.S. That’s about 1 in every 4 deaths. So, reducing your risk ought to be high on your to do list. Sadly, that probably means lifestyle changes like not smoking or drinking, eating better and exercising more. But what about essential oils for heart health.
Are There Any Good Essential Oils for Heart Health?
While diet and exercise changes are the most important, essential oils can help too. They come from a variety of fragrant plant sources like flowers, leaves and wood. You can either breathe in the scent or apply them to your skin when they are mixed with an oil that dilutes their potency. Some are toxic to consume, so be careful about putting them in your mouth.
In all honesty, there is little proof that essential oils have positive effects for people with heart disease, but there is evidence that they reduce stress and anxiety.2,3 Both are strongly associated with high blood pressure, which of course leads to heart disease.4 In fact, a recent study showed that essential oils reduced blood pressure for participants.5 It found that short bursts of aromatherapy with essential oils was effective, but longer than an hour actually had the opposite effect.
Some of the Best Essential Oils for Heart Health
Basil for Lower Cholesterol
Here is a common herb you are probably already familiar with. It is also one of the best essential oils for heart health. You often find it in food like pizza and soups. It’s also full of magnesium and vitamin K and can lower LDL’s.6 This is the bad cholesterol (it isn’t actually cholesterol, but does carry cholesterol) that is associated with hardening of the arteries.
Cassia for Blood Sugar and Insulin Control
Cassia is an herb that has been shown to lower blood sugar while increasing insulin.7 This is important because high blood sugar can result in more plaques on artery walls.8 Furthermore, insulin forces sugar out of the blood and into cells. Thus, cassia uses this double-whammy to keep artery walls clear and thus heart disease in check.
This herb is a white-ish, pink-ish flower that grows from a shrub. Some research shows it can decrease systolic blood pressure.9 This is the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. If it is too high, you literally risk bursting a blood vessel. Its not much unlike blowing out a sprinkler when the water pressure is too high.
Eucalyptus, also to Lower Blood Pressure
Many products that treat colds, such as cough drops, include eucalyptus. It helps open your airways and provides some relief to a sore throat. Yet it also helps your heart by reducing blood pressure. One study shows that inhaled eucalyptus has a significant effect.12
Ginger with Antioxidants and Fewer LDL’s
Ginger is another well-known herb from Asia and is also one of the most powerful essential oils for heart health. Native foods to that area of the world commonly include it. First, it contains antioxidants, which are associated with a healthy heart, but also helps relieve nausea. Second, it lowers LDL’s that can lead to heart disease.13
Helichrysum for Even More Blood Pressure Relief
There’s a good chance you haven’t heard of this one. Helichrysum is a plant with reed-like flowers. It also helps you to maintain a healthy blood pressure.14
Lavender to Calm and Relax (and Make You Smell Good)
Lavender is pretty common and you might even have some in your garden. Chances are its in your soap and perfume too. Some people even use it to shoo away mosquitos. More importantly, lavender induces calmness and relaxation. Thus, it reduces blood pressure and ultimately benefits your heart.15
Marjoram Means Better Blood Flow
Marjoram is a Meditteranium herb very similar to oregano. It earns its place as a powerful essential oil for heart health for lowering blood pressure.16 It accomplishes this by stimulating improved blood flow. This lowers blood pressure while also increasing oxygen to every cell in your body.
This one is so nice they named it twice. Not really, but inhaling it is nice. In fact, in one study, it displayed a sedative-like effect. This lowered blood pressure and also the heart rate of participants.17