Essential Oils For High Blood Pressure
If you have high blood pressure, then it’s very important to try and bring it back down. High blood pressure means that the blood is thick and viscous, or that the veins and arteries are too narrow for it to pass through. Either way, the result is that your heart has to pump a lot harder to circulate your blood and to deliver oxygen and nutrients where they’re needed. You’ll get out of breath much more quickly and will be at greater risk of heart problems.
This also has a host of other problems. High blood pressure may make you appear red in the face for example as the blood will be forced closer to the surface. Likewise, high blood pressure can often be associated with a firey and stressful temperament. While this isn’t true to quite the extent it is shown in popular culture (think J. Jonah Jameson) it is nevertheless true that the body releases more adrenaline and cortisol the harder your heart is working. The result? You feel constantly in ‘fight or flight’ mode so that the smallest thing can push you over the edge.
And essential oils might just be able to help!
How Essential Oils Help High Blood Pressure Via Vasodilation
In most cases, essential oils are used for their curative benefits by being rubbed into the skin or inhaled through various oil diffusers. In other words, they aren’t consumed and normally won’t make it into the blood stream in high quantities.
How then can essential oils help your blood pressure?
Well, there are actually a number of ways this works.
The first and most potent way that you can improve your blood pressure is through essential oils that act as vasodilators. What this essentially means, is that the essential oil will cause your blood vessels (veins and arteries) to widen, thereby allowing more blood to pass more easily through your veins and travel around your body. So the thickness of your blood hasn’t changed by now the ‘pipes’ are wider. The result is that it’s easier for more blood to fit through at once, so the heart can get a bit more of a break.
There are a number of different oils that provide this benefit. One of the most commonly known is eucalyptus oil. Eucalyptus oil is a brilliant essential oil for treating all manner of things because it has analgesic (painkilling) properties and because it also works as an anti-inflammatory agent. What we’re interested in though is its ability to help widen the blood vessels thereby dropping the blood pressure immediately. Another essential oil that works in precisely the same way is marjoram oil.
Using these kinds of oils in on a regular basis is a good way to give your blood pressure a bit more of a fighting chance. Certain foods also have a similar effect, such as garlic. Conversely, if you drink lots of caffeine this has the opposite effect and actually constricts the blood vessels… avoid!
How to Unwind With Essential Oils for Heart Health
Next on our list are those essential oils that help to improve the mood and reduce stress. As mentioned previously, stress levels are closely related to our heart rate. This is because both are controlled by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. When you’re stressed, your body releases neurotransmitters like adrenaline, cortisol, dopamine and norepinephrine. Together, these trigger physiological changes in the body which cause the heart rate to increase, the muscles to harden and blood to move away from your digestive system and towards your brain. This is why when you get in an argument, you often find yourself shaking and feeling butterflies in your stomach. The same is true when you’re very nervous.
This raises the heart rate and causes us to breathe faster. In the most extreme cases, this can cause us to faint!
And here’s something else: when you’re in this fight or flight mode, your blood viscosity actually increases. That’s because your body is preparing you for a potential injury or wound. Now, should you be scratched or otherwise injured, your blood will be more likely to quickly clot and thereby prevent you from bleeding out!
Now this response in itself is not a bad thing. The fight or flight response is actually very beneficial to us to help us survive in life-or-death situations. If you were confronted by a lion for example, having extra blood and nutrients delivered to your muscles would be very beneficial. Likewise, thicker blood and more oxygen to the brain would also help.
But the problem is when stress becomes chronic. If you’re stressed in the office because you’re overworked, or if you’re stressed at home because you have a lot of debt; these too cause a milder version of the fight or flight response that is ongoing. The body was never meant to exist in this state for extended periods of time (debt didn’t exist during our evolution). This then means that many of us are now living in a state where our heartrate is constantly elevated and our blood is constantly thickened.
The result? High blood pressure and increased chance of heart problems. This is why the typical ‘Type A’ personality is so much more likely to suffer a heart attack at a young age!
Essential oils can help here too though by providing incredibly relaxing and therapeutic benefits and even helping you to forget your worries and get off to sleep more easily. Many people find lavender oil and frankincense very soothing and pleasant to burn. If you have an oil burner then, consider burning these to create a relaxed atmosphere and to help yourself relax.
Meanwhile though, other essential oils can go further and actually trigger the release of serotonin and GABA in the brain. Serotonin is the ‘feel good’ hormone, while GABA is a neurotransmitter that makes us feel drowsy and sedated. Both can be perfect for combating stress and anxiety and thereby giving us some relief from high blood pressure.
You can also enjoy essential oils in a number of other ways. Try using lavender oil during massage for instance and the feeling of the massage alone will be enough to help you feel at ease and reduce stress. Likewise, you can also make a relaxing bath all the more relaxing by adding a few drops of peppermint oil.
A Little More About High Blood Pressure
Using these techniques can help you to reduce high blood pressure and thereby improve your general health and well being.
At the same time though, it pays to know a little more about blood pressure, how it works and how you can lower it. To start with, know that blood pressure is also closely related to what you eat. This can become too high when you eat too many foods that raise LDL (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. These are generally the foods that include trans-fats which in turn are mainly things like ready meals with lots of additives. It was once thought that saturated fats (from dairy and meats) would also raise blood pressure but this is now thought to be incorrect; these raise HDL (high density lipoprotein) which is actually good for us.
You can also improve your blood pressure by consuming more fiber. This passes undigested through the bloodstream and thereby helps to remove the fatty deposits that can build up over time. Meanwhile, you can fight stress yourself by using meditation and stress management techniques and drinking lots of water is also a very good approach.
When getting your blood pressure checked, you will normally be given two numbers: your systolic and diastolic. The systolic blood pressure is the highest pressure that your blood reaches while your heart is actually beating. Diastolic meanwhile is the lowest your blood pressure drops between beats. But even these two numbers will vary a lot throughout the day based on all kinds of factors. That’s why 24 hour monitoring is necessary if you really want to get the most accurate picture of your heart health.
If you’re worried about your blood pressure, then it’s very important to see your doctor. They may recommend decongestants and other medications to help thin the blood. Meanwhile, you can continue to support your own healthy blood pressure with lifestyle changes, home remedies (such as the use of essential oils) and other things.