Can Essential Oils Raise Or Lower Your Blood Pressure? - AAA

by Bella Martinez February 07, 2022

Essential oils laying flat on a wood with flowers in the foreground

Blood pressure, pulse, body temperature and respiratory rate give us an idea of how our body is functioning. In other words, our vital signs are a window into our health. Healthy vitals equal a healthy body – ensuring that our body’s most basic functions are working properly is therefore crucial. 

Essential oils, like many substances, can affect our body’s vital functions. For example, numerous studies in the last decade have shown that essential oils can affect blood pressure quite significantly. 

If you’re someone who’s watching their blood pressure, it’s important to know how aromatherapy can affect your health. In today’s blog, we’re helping you do just that by discussing which essential oils can raise and lower blood pressure and how you can use these oils safely and effectively. Read on to learn more. 

Understanding Blood Pressure

When our heart beats, it creates pressure that allows our blood to travel through our circulatory system and deliver oxygenated blood to our organs and tissues. This is what we call blood pressure. 

Blood pressure is created by two forces – systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.[1] Systolic pressure measures the pressure in your arteries as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries. Diastolic pressure measures the pressure in your arteries when the heart rests between beats.

Blood pressure is categorized as follows:[2] 

  • Low blood pressure is systolic of less than 90 and diastolic of less than 60
  • Normal blood pressure is systolic of less than 120 and diastolic of less than 80
  • Elevated blood pressure is systolic of 120 to 129 and diastolic less than 80
  • Stage 1 high blood pressure is systolic is 130 to 139 or diastolic between 80 to 89
  • Stage 2 high blood pressure is when systolic is 140 or higher or the diastolic is 90 or higher

Risks of Abnormal Blood Pressure

Elevated or low blood pressure does not always indicate a health issue, but chronically abnormal blood pressure can lead to further health problems. 

High blood pressure, or hypertension, causes one’s heart to work harder, yet less efficiently, leading to damaged arteries and blood vessels. According to the American Heart Association, high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer” and a catalyst of the domino effect because it can lead to several health conditions. These conditions include stroke, vision loss, heart failure, heart attack and kidney disease.

Many doctors agree that low blood pressure, or hypotension, is considered a health risk if your blood pressure drops suddenly or causes symptoms such as:[3]

  • Nausea 
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Poor concentration
  • Confusion
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing

Certain conditions may cause hypotension, such as dehydration, blood loss, endocrine problems, allergic reaction, infection, heart problems and a lack of nutrients that contribute to red blood cell production. 

Consult with your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of abnormal blood pressure. 

Can Essential Oils Raise Or Lower Your Blood Pressure?

Recent studies have shown that aromatherapy can indeed affect blood pressure. Here’s what science has shown us. 

Essential Oils That Lower Blood Pressure

For those with high blood pressure, studies show that these helpful essential oils may lend a helping hand.

  • A study from a University in Korea measured the blood pressure of subjects wearing an aromatherapy necklace throughout the day. The necklace contained a blend of Lavender, Ylang Ylang, Sweet Marjoram and Neroli. The placebo group wore an aromatherapy necklace containing an artificial fragrance. Compared to the placebo and control groups, the aromatherapy group had significantly lower blood pressure and stress.[4] 
  • A 2006 study observed the effects of aromatherapy on hypertension patients. Each person was instructed to inhale a blend of Lavender oil, Ylang Ylang oil and Bergamot oil once a day for four weeks. Blood pressure, pulse, serum cortisol level, subjective stress and anxiety were measured twice a week. Doctors concluded that the essential oil blend effectively reduced blood pressure and stress.
  • Following the previous two studies, scientists observed the effects of essential oil massage in middle-aged women with hypertension. The blend contained Lavender, Sweet Marjoram, Ylang Ylang and Neroli diluted to 3% in Sweet Almond and Jojoba oil. The placebo group received a massage using an artificial fragrance. Blood pressure and sleep quality were measured after 5 sessions that occurred over 4 weeks. Compared to the placebo and control groups, the aromatherapy group had lower systolic blood pressure and better sleep quality.

These studies suggest that oils regarded for their sedative, stress-relieving and calming properties may be a good choice for helping to lower blood pressure. 

The International Federation of Aromatherapists also lists the following oils as having the potential to reduce blood pressure: 

Essential Oils That Raise Blood Pressure

Studies on essential oils that elevate blood pressure are scarce in comparison to studies on oils that lower blood pressure. However, the studies that are available give us an idea of how essential oils stimulate blood pressure. 

  • A study from a University in Madrid studied the effectiveness of Rosemary oil as a hypotensive agent. Hypotensive patients were instructed to consume 1 ml of Moroccan Rosemary on a lump of sugar every 8 hours. The results showed that patients had increased blood pressure and improved functionality with no adverse reactions or increased heart rate.
  • Another study observed the effects of Rosemary essential oil on blood pressure and other vitals. Subjects were asked to apply 1 ml of a 20% dilution of Rosemary in Sweet Almond oil to their lower abdomen. The area was then covered with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and the subjects were instructed to breathe through a mask that provided fresh air. The subjects’ blood pressure was significantly increased, but there was no change in breathing rate.
  • A 2020 study measured the blood pressure of men before and after inhaling Grapefruit essential oil via an ultrasonic diffuser. The study found that the aroma of Grapefruit oil elevated blood pressure without increasing stress hormones.[5]

There are a few notable points that can be made about these studies. 

For one, the two studies on Rosemary use the oil at a high dilution of 20% and via oral application. Neither application is recommended long-term, as the risk (sensitization, irritation, overexposure, etc.) outweigh a potential benefit to those with hypotension. And if you’re someone watching their high blood pressure, It’s unlikely that Rosemary could cause a significant spike in blood pressure when following essential oil safety guidelines. 

One correlation between all three studies is that they involve oils that are known stimulants. Both Grapefruit and Rosemary are great choices if you’re looking to beat fatigue, boost energy and increase concentration. It’s possible that stimulating oils could also increase blood pressure in those with hypotension without causing negative side effects. 

Other stimulating oils include:

How To Use Essential Oils For Blood Pressure

Here are a few safe and effective ways to use essential oils for blood pressure.

Topical

Dilute your essential oil to 2-3% in a carrier oil such as Fractionated Coconut oil

2% = 12 drops of essential oil + 2 tbsp of carrier oil

3% = 18 drops of essential oil + 2 tbsp of carrier oil

Inhalation

Add 10-15 drops (.1 - .5 ml per ounce of water) to an ultrasonic diffuser on an intermittent setting. Alternatively, inhale your essential oils throughout the day using diffuser jewelry or an essential oil inhaler. 

Consult with your doctor before using essential oils for blood pressure. 

SOURCES: 

  1. What is High Blood Pressure? https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/the-facts-about-high-blood-pressure/what-is-high-blood-pressure
  2. Vital Signs (Body Temperature, Pulse Rate, Respiration Rate, Blood Pressure). https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/vital-signs-body-temperature-pulse-rate-respiration-rate-blood-pressure
  3. Low blood pressure (hypotension). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/low-blood-pressure/symptoms-causes/syc-20355465
  4. Essential Oil Inhalation on Blood Pressure and Salivary Cortisol Levels in Prehypertensive and Hypertensive Subjects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3521421/
  5. An increase in diastolic blood pressure induced by fragrance inhalation of grapefruit essential oil is positively correlated with muscle sympathetic nerve activity. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6992548/

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3 comments

Edens Garden

February 15, 2022 at 10:30 am

Hi AJ! Our Good Night synergy blend contains many of the oils mentioned in this article for lowering blood pressure.

AJ Johnson

February 15, 2022 at 10:18 am

Very good article. What synergy blends do you recommend for lowering blood pressure?

Joan sorita

February 11, 2022 at 10:09 am

What detail, in-depth writing on blood pressure.
I will share your link and blog on my Patreon and classes. Director of Animal Aromatic Science @
Northwest school of animal massage.