Although Valentine’s Day is over, the focus on caring for the heart remains at the forefront in medicine for the continuation of February. In the previous post, I explained why it is time to redefine how medicine approaches cardiovascular health into one that is more holistic, comprehensive, and personalized. I discussed how essential oils are one tool to incorporate to address the mind-heart-body connection in this more integrative manner. Due to their synergistic and multiple actions, these secondary metabolites of plants provide benefits for emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual wellness. Furthermore, by promoting connection, essential oils can also help to mitigate the number one risk factor of cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality, isolation and perceived loneliness.
Below, I list five of my favorite oils and blends to support healthy relationships and cardiovascular function. For each, I specifically address their characteristics and properties in relation to the care of the heart.
1. Ylang Ylang
Ylang ylang is an alluring essential oil made famous by the perfume industry because of its enticing aroma. Ylang ylang not only has romantic olfactory properties that enhance social connection, it also supports the physical heart. It has been shown to balance blood pressure, sooth stress and anxiety, and calm nervous system tone.
2. Sacred Frankincense (Boswellia sacra)
Frankincense is one of my favorite essential oils for mind-body balance. It is appropriately deemed the “King of Essential Oils.” This is due to its powerful effects and multifaceted uses.
Boswellia sacra has a high pinene content. Pinenes were recently popularized due to their attribution to the benefits received from the act of “forest bathing,” a traditional Japanese practice of immersing oneself in nature. These wellness and resiliency-enhancing and stress-relieving phytnocides also enhance the body’s defense and repair system. Altogether, these benefits result in decreasing inflammation, balancing the immune response, and mitigating overwhelm. Each of these are important aspects for maintaining a healthy blood flow.
There are various species and specific chemotypes of frankincense oils. Although their benefits are similar, each one has unique characteristics. It is easy for one to get lost in the biochemical soup of different compounds when deciding which frankincense oil type to choose. I summarized the key points in this accompanying video to help clear up this confusion.
I chose sacred frankincense for heart health month due to its mind-body rejuvenating properties. Many incorporate this ancient oil into their yoga, mindfulness, and meditation practices.
3. Patchouli Oil
Depending on your preferences, the smell of patchouli can either be appealing or undesirable. Regardless, this distinct aromatic has many benefits including promoting healthy skin, enhancing defense and repair, maintaining cellular heath, and offering neurological support related to its sesquiterpene content. It has traditionally been used in Chinese medicine for gastrointestinal issues. Patchouli has various mechanisms of action including potential gut microbiome support. One study in rodents found it had prebiotic-like effects, increasing helpful microbes and decreasing unwanted ones, as found in fecal samples. Along with its nervous system support, these aspects address important factors in cardiovascular care. (source, source, source)
4. Stress Relief Blend
Stress Relief blend is appropriately named for its ability to calm the mind and body and combat the negative ramifications of stress on the heart. Below is a list of the essential oils it contains and their characteristic properties in this blend.
Lime- a citrus oil for elevating the mood.
Cedarwood – a comforting oil that supports sleep and neurological health.
Copaiba – a strange-sounding oil that interacts with the endocannabinoid system, a system that regulates major functions of the body. Copaiba is relaxing to the mind, and benefits the brain, skeletal system, and much more.
Ocotea – an oil that has a warm, soothing scent. It has many properties based on its diversity of chemical compounds. Ocotea quixos is known as “American cinnamon.” It contains cinnamaldehyde, which has some evidence for supporting blood sugar. This can be very helpful during overwhelming times, as blood sugar is impacted by stressful triggers and can affect blood flow.
Vanilla – this is not a true essential oil, but an extract or oleoresin. It has preliminary evidence for elevating the mood. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. (I personally look for ethically sourced, pure vanilla oleoresin for best quality.)
5. Unifying Blend
This blend is based on a formulation aimed to inspire people to unify, unite, and empower. These qualities positively influence the emotional and physical heart of the users and everyone surrounding them.
Ylang Ylang essential oil for its heart tonifying effect.
Northern Lights Black Spruce essential oil for the benefits of its phytoncides and soothing properties.
Ocotea essential oil to enhance the blend’s comforting properties.
Lemon and Lime citrus essential oils to provide emotional upliftment and focus.
Other Resources for Essential Oils and Heart Health
These five selections above are only a small sample of how essential oils can benefit the cardiovascular system on the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual levels.
For those interested, I have several previous articles that explore how essential oils impact the heart through their direct effects or by their ability to modulate hormonal and mental health. They are listed below.
- Essential Oils for the Heart
- This One’s for the Boys: Male Infertility, Libido, and Hormones
- Supporting Hormonal Health for Better Connection
- Using Essential Oils for Healthy Hearts, Hormonal Balance, and Human Connections During “The Month of Love” and Beyond
- The Power of Connection for Health and the Benefits of Supporting it with Essential Oils
With their capacity to holistically address all areas of health, you can probably now understand why essential oils are a perfect tool to address all aspects of the mind-heart-body connection.
Addendum: Blending, Safety, and Applications
This blog highlighted several mixtures of essential oils, known as blends. Creating essential oil blends is a complex process. It is advised that one should be versed in aromatherapy when combining complimentary chemical constituents with therapeutic effects. (source) Personally, I rely on trusted suppliers that produce quality essential oils and have expertise in essential oils’ chemistry.
If you are DIYer and want to study a bit on blending oils, you can often safely combine up to five essential oils with similar properties. This is usually done using a carrier oil to achieve a 2.5-3% dilution rate (about 8 drops of oil/15 ml jar).
It’s also important to note that blends containing certain citrus oils can result in photosensitivity. To prevent unwanted discoloration, these should be used aromatically or only applied topically at night. Also, only ingest essential oils from a trusted manufacture that labels them safe for internal use!
The blends and single oils in this post can safely be applied to skin and diffused for most people. To learn more about safety and essential oils, including potential interactions, read this article.
Mental Health Resources
*If you are experiencing a mental health crisis and/or are suicidal, please seek professional mental health support:
- The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (U.S.) — Call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line — Text HOME to 741741 to connect with a crisis counselor
- Lifeline Crisis Chat — Chat online with a specialist who can provide emotional support, crisis intervention and suicide prevention services at www.crisischat.org
Other Helpful Resources
Below are some of the highlights of the many free resources on this website:
- Four Essential Oils Blends for Supporting the Mind-Body and Easing Tension
- VIDEO: How Your Brain and Body Suffer with Too Much Stress & Naturopathic Medicine Tips for Calming the Mind and Relieving Overwhelm
- Video Recap: Essential Oils to Ease the Stress & Anxiety of Back to School
- The Importance of Fun, Music, & Play for Mental Health
- Video Recap: Essential Oils for Brain and Mental Health & Soothing Stress
- 10 Natural Ways to Relieve Stress and Calm the Mind-Body During Trying Times
- Video: A Naturopathic Doctor’s Approach to Thyroid Health Using Essential Oils: Video Recap & Additional Resources
Additional Supportive Techniques & Tools
- The Tapping Solution, A Technique to Lower Cortisol and Reduce Stress- Podcast interview by Dr. Kara Fitzgerald with Nick Ortner.
- Stress management tips and resources
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures. Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.