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Ultimate List of Essential Oils for Heart Health

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I’ll say it right off the bat. Essential oils are not scientifically proven to decrease your risk of heart disease. But…they do help reduce stress and anxiety levels. And we all know that increased stress is no good for the heart. For that reason, using essential oils are worth adding into your routine. A stress-free mind = a happy heart. So, without further ado, let’s take a peek at the 15 best essential oils for heart health.

Check out the recipe for >>Happy Heart Massage Oil<< while you’re here.

What are Essential Oils?

According to the Natural Medicines Database, essential oils are aromatic constituents of certain plant parts such as flowers, fruits, and seeds. We call them “essential” because they contain the plant’s “essence” or the smell and taste characteristic of the plant.


Is Using Essential Oils the Same as Aromatherapy?

Sort of. Essential oils are a small part of a practice called aromatherapy. Aromatherapy involves using essential oils by either inhaling them or using them on the skin to improve physical, emotional, or spiritual well-being. We consider the use of essential oils part of a complementary health approach.

According to the President of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy is part of a larger field called phytotherapy (plant therapy). True aromatherapy is the skilled use of genuine essential oils for therapeutic purposes. Science, education and experience allow aromatherapy to truly become a holistic art oils and water are used for their therapeutic properties to heal the mind, body and spirit, returning the body to a state of equilibrium.

Annette Davis, NAHA President
woman smiling and breathing essential oil

How are Essential Oils Good for Your Heart?

Essential oils affect the central nervous system which controls most body functions, including emotion and mood. This can affect your heart. What’s more, the physical act of massaging your body using essential oils can improve circulation. Hence, also impacting heart health.

Each essential oil contains specific phytochemicals. These chemicals can have some very impressive health-benefitting properties. Some of these properties include being:

  • anti-inflammatory
  • antibacterial
  • antioxidant
  • anti anxiety
  • antidepressant
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • antiarrhythmic
  • and more!

With heart health specifically, a 2012 study found that aromatherapy can lower blood pressure through relaxation. There is a large number of research focusing on the benefits of aromatherapy in reducing blood pressure, anxiety, stress, and cortisol levels. So for the purposes of this article, many of the oils listed will have anti-anxiety and stress-relieving properties.

I will also mention some that have anti-hypertensive effects. Meaning individuals with low blood pressure need to be careful when using them.

For more on heart health, read this article: 5 Things You Can Do to Support Heart Health NOW

Fifteen Best Essential Oils for Heart Health

Basil

Description and Potential Properties: This oil has a warm, sweet, herbal scent. It may help reduce mental fatigue and anxiety, and calm your nerves while also energizing and uplifting your mood. It may also have potential for aiding in constipation and poor digestion. And has antidepressant properties

Possible Interactions: If you are taking any medicine for high blood pressure, it may be best to stay away from basil essential oil. As it may lead to episodes of very low blood pressure. Also, if taking anticoagulant or anti-platelet medications, it may increase your risk of bleeding

Bergamot

Description and Potential Properties: Bergamot oil has a sedative, antidepressant, and anxiety-relieving effect. It is cooling, refreshing, and relaxing to the central nervous system. Its scent is sweet, citrusy, and spicy. It is also said to be one of the more affordable antidepressant essential oils. Always a good choice to have on hand!

Possible Interactions: Bergamot oil contains a substance called furocoumarins. This substance could make your eyes sensitive to the light if used too often on skin.

Cassia

Description and Potential Properties: Described as light, warm, comforting, and sweet. Cassia is similar to cinnamon, as it comes from the same plant family. Cassia is sweeter and less spicy than cinnamon however. One study shows that it has anticancer, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antioxidant properties. Pretty impressive!

Possible Interactions: If using on skin, always dilute this with a carrier oil to prevent burning or irritation.

Cedarwood

Description and Potential Properties: Cedarwood essential oil comes from cedar trees. As you can imagine its scent is woody and coniferous.  Studies show that it has significant relaxing effects in humans. This may benefit those dealing with situational stress.

Possible Interactions: Do not use cedarwood essential oil if you are allergic to cedar.

Clary Sage

Description and Potential Properties: There are hundreds of different sage species. Here we are talking about clary sage (S. scleria). The essential oil from this plant has a calm, woody, earthy, and herbal aroma. It induces a sense of well-being and has a sedative effect. One 2017 review, shows its potential in improving depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure. Another study shows that it balances hormones during menopause and reduces menstrual cramps in women by reducing cortisol levels.

Possible Interactions: No known medicine or supplement interactions.

Cypress

Description and Potential Properties: If you like the smell of the forest, you’ll love the woody, masculine, smoky scent of cypress. According to research, the smell of this oil can help decrease blood pressure and heart rate, promote feelings of relaxation, and improve immune function.

Possible Interactions: There is little information known on the safety of cypress oil. However, it may cause side effects such as kidney irritation.

Eucalyptus

Description and Potential Properties: Eucalyptus is a smell you’ll never forget. It’s a fresh, woody, and spa-like scent. It has anti-inflammatory and astringent properties. One study reports that it reduces post-op pain. And its also great for clearing a stuffy nose during cold season!

Possible Interactions: Using too often may induce or provoke seizure, epilepsy, migraine, cluster headache, and anxiety disorders and may also be addictive.

Geranium

geranium flower

Description and Potential Properties: Geranium oil, just as you would expect, has a floral scent. Research shows that it has a calming effect, helping to reduce anxiety. Because of its anxiety-reducing properties, it may help lower blood pressure and heart rate.

Possible Interactions: No known interactions with drugs or supplements.

Ginger

ginger root

Description and Potential Properties: Ginger essential oil has a strong, warm, and spicy smell. It is known to help reduce nausea if eaten, although studies show minimal effectiveness on managing nausea if inhaling the oil. It does however help improve immune function, pain, and stress levels.

Possible Interactions: If you take certain anti-hypotension meds or coumadin, ginger essential oil may cause episodes of hypotension and increase risk of bleeding.

Helichrysum

yellow helichrysum flowers

Description and Potential Properties: Helichrysum is know for its soothing and calming properties. Oddly enough, it smells like a mix of honey and hay. It is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant abilities.

Possible Interactions: This oil is generally safe for humans to use but one study on cells shows it may inhibit liver enzymes of working.

Juniper Berry

juniper berries on branch with greens

Description and Potential Properties: Another oil coming from a conifer, juniper berry oil smells woody, sweet, and fresh. It has antibacterial uses but also has brain benefits. In one study, it shows memory-boosting benefits in mice. This suggests possible cognitive benefits for humans as well. If used in a massage oil, it may also helps relieve muscle cramps.

Possible Interactions: No known interactions with drugs or supplements.

Lavender

lavender flowers in a white bowl

Description and Potential Properties: Lavender is most likely the most familiar of all the essential oils on this list. It’s smell is light, floral, and powdery. It has long been known to promote relaxation and lower stress levels. You may have lavender-scented room sprays, candles, or even laundry dryer sheets. And this is wonderful! Why?

Well, studies show that it decreases stress and cortisol levels. This can be especially beneficial for heart health. And another study shows that the chemical, linalool, present in lavender decreases the incidence of arrhythmias in a rats.

Possible Interactions: There are a few known side effects with lavender.

Lemongrass

lemongrass plant with essential oil bottle

Description and Potential Properties: As the name suggests, this oil has a light, lemony scent. It may help reduce inflammation and also prevent fungus from growing. And in terms of mood, breathing in lemongrass essential oil helps relieve stress and anxiety.

Possible Interactions: Lemongrass stimulates menstrual flow, so pregnant women should avoid it.

Marjoram

marjoram plant

Description and Potential Properties: Consuming marjoram the herb shows cardiac benefits. The essential oil however can protect against certain bacteria and also oxidative stress, which is also promising to cardiovascular health.

Possible Interactions: No known interactions with drugs or supplements.

Ylang Ylang

ylang ylang plant with yellow flowers

Description and Potential Properties: The smell of ylang ylang is spicy but sweet, and also floral. If put on skin, it has a sedative effect. But is also antiseptic, hypotensive, and an aphrodisiac. If inhaling, ylang ylang is calming and may help increase cognitive function. Studies show that it can decrease nervousness and depression and also lower blood pressure in otherwise healthy adults.

Possible Interactions: No known interactions with drugs or supplements.

Ways to Use Essential Oils for Heart Health

Essential oils have so many therapeutic uses. Here are a few ways in which you can incorporate these heart healthy essential oils into your life.

  • Mix essential oils together with a carrier oil (such as grapeseed or sweet almond oil) and massage onto skin as you would a body oil or lotion.
  • Add a drop or two to a small roller ball bottle and apply to temples or under your nose.
  • Create an essential oil chest rub by mixing essential oils with melted shea butter then storing in a sealable container.
  • Add a few drops of essential oils to a warm bath and soak away your stress.
  • Use an aromatic diffuser to infuse a few drops of essential oil(s) of choice throughout any room of your house.
  • Make an essential oil candle.
  • Make a bath salt using epsom salt and essential oils.

Essential oils can also be ingested but I don’t recommended doing this- see “Oral Ingestion” below.

For other ways to enjoy the use of essential oils, check out these suggestions from the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.

Happy Heart Massage Oil Recipe

The next time you’re feeling stressed, try this easy mixture of essential oils and jojoba oil. Click here for more carrier oils you can use.

Ingredients:

  • lavender essential oil
  • ylang ylang essential oil
  • bergamot essential oil

Instructions:

  1. Mix 5 drops lavender essential oil, 4 drops ylang ylang essential oil, and 2 drops bergamot oil in 1 fl. oz. of jojoba oil.
  2. Massage anywhere on your body, avoiding eyes. RELAX.
  3. Store in a glass amber or cobalt blue colored air-tight bottle for up to 2 years. Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.

Precautions When Using Essential Oils for Heart Health

The safety of aromatherapy is always going to depend on the type of oil your are using, the dose and dilution of the oil, and the method of administering it.

You also have to consider the route you are taking it- inhaler or rubbing on skin. Here are four important things to consider before buying and using your essential oils.

Direct Skin Exposure

Not all essential oils are created equal. They each have their own properties and chemical makeup, containing different substances that may be harmful, or cause you irritation and sensitivity. Certain oils are even known to cause pruritis and dermatitis.

A 2% dilution of essential oils is considered safe in the adult population, while it is 1% or less for seniors and children.

Before using ANY essential oils, experts recommend you do a skin test to avoid any allergic reactions, irritation, or sensitivity. Alternatively, you can get a skin test from your dermatologist.

How to Perform a Skin Test

A skin test consists of diluting 1 drop of the essential oil in 4 drops of a carrier oil and applying one to two drops of this dilution to your inner forearm or back. Put a band-aid over the area and check the area for any irritation after 24 hours.

Keep in mind that even after conducting a skin patch test, there is no guarantee that you will not develop sensitization, irritation, or an allergy over time. Some sensitivities may be delayed or develop the longer you use an oil.

Oral Ingestion

Some people take essential oils orally in teas, supplements or even via a drop or two on their tongue. I do NOT suggest doing this without instruction from a trained herbalist or NAHA certified professional.

Essential oils are very concentrated so even a few drops can cause harm to your mucous membranes, even burning the lining in your mouth.

Routine Usage

Another thing to consider is how often you are using your essential oils. Some experts say that if you used them routinely, your body can get familiar to them. Thereby, lowering their effectiveness. One study even states that exposure lasting over an hour actually has the opposite effect of what you’re trying to achieve.

For this reason, I’d suggest only using short bursts of aromatherapy when you’re in need of a mood booster.

At-Risk Populations

There are also certain people who should be careful when using essential oils. This population consists of:

  • children
  • seniors
  • pregnant women
  • those with weakened immune systems

This is because some essential oils can be harmful to your liver, kidneys, and nervous system. Two examples are tea tree and eucalyptus oil, which have been known to cause seizures. If using them, its important to make sure you are avoiding certain volatile oils. You should also mix them at the correct ratio to prevent harm.

Conclusion

Essential oils and aromatherapy is both an art and a science. Treat your essential oils just as you treat your medications. They should not be used without 1) letting your doctor know and 2) without consulting with a trained herbalist or aromatherapist first.

We can also conclude that essential oils play an important role in the functioning of our central nervous system. Studies show numerous benefits of using essential oils.  They can help with depression, nervousness, sleeping disorders, and much more.

Perhaps someday, it may even become an effective nursing intervention in reducing psychological stress, anxiety, and blood pressure in patients.

IMPORTANT NOTE:

I am not an herbalist or a NAHA certified aromatherapist. Inhaling any essential oils may increase risk of respiratory issues. Additionally, if used on skin, any essential oil may cause dermatitis if not used appropriately or on broken skin.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat essential oils as a complementary medicine, not a replacement for medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of any adverse reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, and certain essential oils should not be used by pregnant or lactating women unless under the care of a medical practitioner.

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