This article is shared with permission from our friends at Dr. Mercola.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 30 percent of Americans have high blood pressure, also called hypertension, and only half of them have their blood pressure under control.1However, under controversial new guidelines released in November 2017, which advised that high blood pressure should be treated at 130/80 rather than 140/90, nearly 50 percent of Americans would technically be suffering from high blood pressure.2

When your blood pressure is not controlled it may lead to other health conditions, such as cognitive decline, heart disease, stroke and kidney disease. On a global scale, more than 1 billion people suffer from hypertension3 and that number has nearly doubled in the past four decades.4 Nearly 13 percent of all deaths worldwide are attributed to high blood pressure.

The rising numbers of people suffering from hypertension was not lost on the pharmaceutical industry. An increasing number of drugs have been developed in the past decade to control blood pressure, but they come with a laundry list of side effects and negative health problems of their own.

Instead, consider a significant number of natural options, including eliminating lifestyle choices that trigger hypertension and choosing alternative treatments that reduce your blood pressure. One of the easiest and best smelling is using essential oils.

Blood Pressure and What It Means

To fully understand why your choices increase or decrease your blood pressure, it’s helpful to understand how your blood pressure is measured and how it affects your body.

The traditional method of measuring your blood pressure was developed in 1881 and refined in 1905 when Russian surgeon Dr. Nikolai Korotkoff discovered the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure measurements.5 Today, sphygmomanometers measure the difference between the appearance and disappearance of sounds in your arteries, called Korotkoff sounds.

The appearance of the sound, your systolic number, represents the highest pressure through which your blood is pumped, while the disappearance of the sound, your diastolic number, is the lowest pressure needed by your heart to push blood through your arteries. In many instances, your blood pressure measurement may not be accurate, based on your body position, cuff size, activity level and consumption of caffeine, nicotine or alcohol.

Hypertension is called the “silent killer” as it may cause few or no symptoms and can quietly damage your blood vessels and organs for years without your knowledge. The added pressure needed by your heart to push blood through your vessels increases your risk of congestive heart failure.6 Coronary artery disease and an enlarged heart are two other heart conditions that may result from chronic hypertension.

High blood pressure also damages the cells lining your arteries, which may result in narrowed and less elastic arterial walls. This change raises your blood pressure further and reduces blood flow to your organs, increasing your risk of damage to your eyes, kidneys and brain. Reduced blood flow to your brain may lead to transient ischemic attacks (mini-stroke), stroke, cognitive impairment or dementia.

What Triggers High Blood Pressure?

There is no one lifestyle choice that triggers all hypertension. A combination of a number of reversible choices you make may put you at risk. Hypertension that isn’t obviously associated with a cause, such as a medical condition or medication, is referred to as essential or primary hypertension.

Get your Free copy of The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook

This free cookbook is jampacked with 148 delicious ketogenic recipes that will help you burn fat like crazy!

GET YOUR FREE COOKBOOK!

It’s estimated that as much as 95 percent of hypertension is essential hypertension. However, just because a known medical condition or medication is not responsible does not mean there isn’t a known cause for the condition. A number of contributing factors have been identified for high blood pressure, including but not limited to:

  • Insulin and leptin resistance causes your blood pressure to increase7
  • Elevated uric acid levels are associated with rising blood pressure; any program you adopt to address your hypertension needs to normalize your uric acid levels as well8,9
  • Poor nutrition in childhood has been shown to raise the risk of high blood pressure in adulthood;10 consuming an excess of sugar is also linked to high blood pressure11
  • Lead exposure has been associated with cardiovascular disease and hypertension12
  • Air and noise pollution affects blood pressure; air pollution triggers an inflammatory response while noise pollution has an adverse effect on your nervous and hormonal systems.

By using natural options to address hypertension and any underlying medical condition you may realistically be able to reduce your dependence on medication. Lifestyle choices that are known to increase your blood pressure include smoking and alcohol useObesity may also play a role.13

However, while many believe that your blood pressure will increase with age related to a decrease in arterial elasticity that is concurrent with advancing age, the truth is that this reduction in elasticity is often associated with insulin resistance, rising blood sugar and inflammation. Each of these conditions is associated with eating a diet high in net carbohydrates and refined sugars.

Medication Isn’t the Answer

It is highly likely that if your blood pressure is elevated your physician will recommend medications. While the allure of “just taking a pill” to address hypertension has millions under its spell, using medication comes without a laundry list of potential side effects and warnings. The Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure in 2014 emphasized the importance of weight control and regular exercise,14 but I don’t believe they went far enough.

It has been my experience that even stage 1 and 2 hypertension can be addressed with lifestyle interventions, making medications unnecessary. If you are currently taking medication for hypertension, do not stop. Instead, talk with your physician about your plan to incorporate lifestyle changes while monitoring your blood pressure. Then you and your physician can slowly reduce your medications while keeping your blood pressure under control. Problems associated with antihypertension medications include:15,16

Cough Diarrhea Constipation
Dizzy or lightheaded Sexual dysfunction Headache
Fatigue Nausea Vomiting
Skin rash Weight loss Hypokalemia
Muscle dysfunction (including heart) Blood sugar fluctuations Male breast enlargement
Gout Dehydration Skin cancer
Fainting Shortness of breath Chest pain
Reduced kidney function Ankle swelling Flushing
Heartburn Hypotension Increased heart rate
Dry mouth Sleepiness Nightmares
Stuffy nose Depression Inability to fall asleep

Essential Oils Are Simple, Easy and Effective

An essential oil is plant oil that is highly concentrated, often through distillation.17 Some oils are produced from the entire plant while others are made using specific parts, such as the leaves, bark or roots. These oils have been used in aromatherapy around the world to help reduce stress and improve health. Researchers have also been interested in the effect essential oils may have on reducing your blood pressure, on cardiovascular health and on secretion of cortisol.

In a study from the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology,18 scientists found that exposure to essential oil for one hour effectively reduced stress as measured by a reduction in the participants’ heart rate and blood pressure. However, after exposure for longer periods, both heart rate and blood pressure were elevated.

In a similar study, inhalation of a blend of essential oil was associated with a reduction in blood pressure and in cortisol secretion, often elevated during stress.19 Researchers used a blend of lavender, ylang-ylang, neroli and marjoram. There are several essential oils20 that have an effect on blood pressure and help reduce your stress. Since these oils trigger an effect in your body, use an inhalation method for no longer than one hour to reduce the potential for any negative effects from overexposure.

Bergamot

This refreshing oil is often used in cosmetics for the scent, but research finds it also helps reduce your blood pressure and may reduce your anxiety and improve your mood.21

Clary Sage

This oil has been shown to reduce both systolic and diastolic measurements, reduce your respiratory rate and decrease symptoms of stress and depression.22

Rose

The scent of red rose has a calming effect on your brain and has demonstrated an antianxiety and antidepressant effect,23 both of which affect your blood pressure.

Frankincense

Since ancient Egypt, frankincense has been used medicinally to reduce stress and promote peace of mind.

Rosemary

This oil retards hardening of the arteries, which raises blood pressure.24 The oil also helps regulate the cardiovascular system.

Ylang-Ylang

This oil comes from a small tree, known for use in trauma and shock to reduce breathing and heart rate.25 It is antidepressive, relieves anxiety and helps control blood pressure.

Lemon Balm

Low doses of the extract may reduce ischemic injury to the heart but higher doses increased the risk in an animal model.26 Further research is needed to determine a protective effect in a cardiac event. However, inhalation may protect against palpitations and heart attack and may reduce blood pressure.

Lavender

Lavender may be effective in treatment of neurological disorders, including anxiety, and acts as a mood stabilizer and sedative, all of which have a positive effect on your blood pressure.27

The Nitric Oxide Dump May Be Exactly What You’re Looking For

Exercise is another important strategy that may help normalize your blood pressure. In this video I demonstrate an exercise I do daily that takes just three to four minutes and should ideally be completed two to three times during a day. When you do the nitric oxide dump allow at least two hours between each session to get the most benefit from the exercise.

I am convinced that, although this gentler strategy has not been compared to other HIIT protocols discussed in previous articles, it is a far healthier way to experience the benefits of HIIT. This type of exercise will stimulate the release of nitric oxide stored in your endothelial cells of your blood vessels that effectively:

  • Relaxes and dilates your blood vessels, lowering blood pressure
  • Stimulates your immune system
  • Reduces the “stickiness” of your blood, reducing platelet aggregation and the potential for stroke and heart attack
  • Provides a powerful anabolic stimulus to increase lean body mass

A quick note from our founders


Have you been curious about the Ketogenic Diet? You're not alone!


Going "Keto" has helped so many of our friends drop weight and keep it off.

And it's the perfect time to try it because right now you can get a free copy of a brand new cookbook called The Wicked Good Ketogenic Diet Cookbook

This cookbook is jampacked with 148 delicious ketogenic recipes that will help you burn fat like crazy. Even stubborn belly and thigh fat won't stand a chance because your body will have NO CHOICE but to burn that fat for fuel!

If you've struggled to get rid of stubborn fat, you owe it to yourself to test-drive the keto diet and see how effective it really is. It’ll be easy once you have this free cookbook...

HURRY, this FREE offer won’t last long!

GET YOUR FREE COOKBOOK!
Joseph Mercola
Health Expert
I am an osteopathic physician who believes that proper nutrition, not medicine, is the key to good health. I seek to treat the whole person, not just the symptoms. I offer you practical health solutions without the hype. Founded Mercola.com in 1997 which is now the most visited natural health site on the web with 1.5 million subscribers. My site is grounded on providing the latest health information and providing practical health solutions. The strategies I present in my newest book, “Fat for Fuel,” are just too valuable for your well-being. That’s why you should not pass up this chance to ensure your copy! Order here .