Ask an Aromatherapist: Can Essential Oils Help with High Blood Pressure?
Research on the aromatic compounds in essential oils shows that there are numerous molecules that are hypotensive or promote lowering of blood pressure. Let's look at just a few of these aromatic compounds and see how we can incorporate these essential oils into products.
The ester benzyl benzoate is an example of an aromatic molecule that has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on aniotensin II induced hypertension. (1) The compound is found in oils such as Peru balsam (Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae) essential oil (59-86%), jasmine (Jasminum grandiflorum) absolute (15 -24.5%) and ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina) essential oil (4.3 - 14.9%).
Cedrol, a sesquiterpenol found in cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) has been shown to lower blood pressure when inhaled. (2,3)
Linalool, a monoterpenol found in over 200 essential oils such as lavender (Lavendula angustafolia), bergamot (Citrus bergamia) , coriander (Coriandrum sativum), and bergamot mint (Mentha citrata), has a sedative effect and is also hypotensive. (4, 5, 6)
The major component of tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) , terpinene-4-ol, also found in sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) has hypotensive effects. (7, 8)
There are additional compounds but many commonly used essential oils can have a beneficial hypotensive effect given their aromatic profiles.
How to use these oils in a blend:
The hypotensive benefits of these compounds can be enjoyed aromatically or topically. A diffuser blend or aroma inhaler work beautifully or a massage oil or lotion or bath oil/salt would be wonderful as well. It's best to look at the individual and decide which is the best option. An inhaler is great for on the go or work or in circumstances where a diffuser can't be used. A massage oil or lotion is a great way to couple tension soothing touch with aromatherapy and baths are always a relaxing option. Since there are many oils with hypotensive aromatic compounds one can choose from a variety of aromas from woodsy to floral. Here are a few ideas:
Aroma inhaler: Use 15-20 drops total in an aroma inhaler. Try blending bergamot (8 drops), bergamot mint (5 drops), and coriander (2 drops) to create a fresh uplifting aroma with linalool rich oils. Or try cedarwood (3-5 drops) combined with lavender (10-12 drops), and a drop of ylang-ylang for a floral-woodsy aroma. Inhale as needed throughout the day to promote a sense of calm.
Relaxing lotion: Bergamot is very phototoxic so it is NOT a great choice for a lotion that will be used on an area that gets sun. But there are many other essential oils to choose from. Aim for a 2% blend which is 10-12 drops per ounce for adults. If you are blending for an elderly or frail person aim a 1% dilution is appropriate (5-6 drops of essential oils per ounce of carrier).
I like using ylang-ylang to soothe and calm but more than a drop or two can be very strong and cause headaches. Here are a few ideas for a relaxing lotion: To one ounce of unscented lotion or carrier oil (such as jojoba or fractionated coconut oil) add 2 drops of cedarwood, 1 drop of ylang-ylang, 4 drops of lavender, and 3 drops of orange. The orange, in addition to smelling awesome, contains d-limonene which acts as a skin penetration enhancer to help the hypotensive aromatics get absorbed more readily. For a more herbal, clean smelling blend try a 1 drop of sweet marjoram or thyme linalool, 5 drops of lavender, and 4 drops of orange. These blends would also be great in a roller ball. I like to make a 30 ml (or one ounce) blend in a stock bottle and transfer 10mls into my roller ball. Roller balls are great for on the go and can be easily to the neck, wrists, or as desired.
So yes the aromatic compounds in essential oils do have hypotensive effects and can be used to help promote relaxation and soothe the nervous system. As always do check for allergies and contraindications with medications and supplements before using essential oils and follow the advice of your health care practitioner.
If you have questions about essential oils or aromatherapy or would like to discuss creating a blend to meet your specific needs contact Tricia. Visit the web store to see available products or set up an appointment for a professional consultation.
How have you used essential oils to combat feelings of stress and
promote relaxation? Comment below.
I understand that the Food and Drug Administration has not evaluated the therapeutic suggestions or any statements made on this website about essential oils, carriers or other products offered by Aromatherapy by Tricia Ambroziak (ABT)
The statements made on this website are for educational purposes and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
The data on this website is not considered complete and is not guaranteed to be accurate.
Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking treatment based on something you've read or accessed through this website. Tricia Ambroziak is a professional aromatherapist but not a licensed health care professional.
I understand that essential oils and aromatherapy are not a substitute for professional medical care. I understand that the products being sold by ABT are not intended to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
Ohno O, Ye M, Koyama T, Yazawa K, et al (2008) Inhibitory effects of benzyl benzoate and its derivatives on angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry 16(16):7843-7852.
Dayawansa S, Umeno K, Takakura H et al (2003) Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of cedrol in humans. Autonomic Neuroscience 108:79-86
Umeno K, Hori E, Tsubota M et al (2008) Effects of direct cedrol inhalation into the lower airway on autonomic nervous activity in totally laryngectomized subjects. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology 65:188-196
Heuberger E, Redhammer S, Buchbauer G (2004) Transdermal absorption of (-)-linalool induces autonomic deactivation but has no impact on ratings of well-being in humans. Neuropsychopharmacology 29:1925-1932
Northover BJ, Verghese J (1962) The pharmacology of certain terpene alcohols and oxides. Journal of Scientific & Industrial Research 21C:342-345
Tanida M, Niijima A, Shen J et al (2006) Olfactory stimulation with scent of lavender oil affects autonomic neurotransmission and blood pressure in rats. Neuroscience Letters 398:155-160
Lahlou S, Galindo C A, Leal-Cardoso J H et al (2002) Cardiovascular effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet leaves and its main constituent, terpinen-4-ol, in rats: role of the autonomic nervous system. Planta Medica 68:1097-1102
Lahlou S, Interaminense LF, Leal-Cardoso JH et al (2003) Antihypertensive effects of the essential oil of Alpinia zerumbet and its main constituent, terpinen-4-ol, in DOCA-salt hypertensive conscious rats. Fundamental and Clinical Pharmacology 17(3):323-330