The Health Benefits of Essential Oils for Congestive Heart Failure

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease accounts for nearly one in every four deaths in the country each year.

Having congestive heart failure (CHF) can affect every aspect of your life. Managing the condition is important. In addition to conventional treatments, you may also want to explore complementary therapies to help alleviate your CHF symptoms.

Essential oils are an alternative therapy option that may improve heart health. Research suggests that when used in aromatherapy, short-term exposure to essential oils may reduce blood pressure, slow your heart rate, and help you relax.

Read on to learn more about how essential oils might be beneficial for congestive heart failure. 

An unseen person holding a bottle of essential oil with a red ribbon in front of their chest. They are wearing a white button-down shirt.

Mikhail Nilov / Pexels

What Is Heart Failure?


Heart failure is a chronic health condition that occurs when the heart is not pumping enough blood to meet the body’s needs. The body depends on the heart’s pumping mechanism to deliver oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to all of the cells in the body. 

Many heart conditions, including coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and a history of a heart attack, can eventually lead to heart failure.

The symptoms of congestive heart failure (CHF) can have a tremendous impact on your quality of life. Common symptoms of CHF include:

  • Fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lack of appetite
  • Persistent coughing/wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Swelling (edema) in the ankles, feet, and legs

Risk Factors

Your age, family history, lifestyle, and other health conditions that you have can increase your risk of developing heart disease.

Common risk factors for CHF include:

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Diet (e.g., high in processed foods)
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Sleep apnea/poor sleep
  • Stress
  • Tobacco use

Essential Oils for Heart Failure 

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that are derived from the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, and fruits of plants.

A 2014 study found that when essential oils are used in aromatherapy or breathed in for an hour or less, the oils can improve sleep as well as lower a person’s heart rate and blood pressure.

Basil 

Basil essential oil is loaded with antioxidants that offer immune-boosting health benefits. It might also promote heart health by reducing low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad” cholesterol) levels.

Research has shown that basil essential oil can reduce cholesterol levels and lower a person’s risk of developing atherosclerosis-related heart diseases.

Clary Sage

Stress and high blood pressure have a direct effect on heart health. Clary sage is widely used in aromatherapy for its relaxing effects. Breathing in the oil vapors from the flowers of clary sage can relieve stress and promote relaxation.

Research has shown that clary sage essential oil decreases systolic blood pressure and lowers heart rate.

Eucalyptus

Commonly used in cold relief medicines like cough drops, eucalyptus is also good for your heart health. A 2013 study found that inhaling eucalyptus oil significantly decreased blood pressure and helped reduce pain.

Lavender

The extract from the blue-violet flowers of lavender is versatile and offers a pleasant smell along with promoting relaxation.

Research has found that inhaling lavender essential oil provides relaxation, which can help lower blood pressure, calm anxiety, and promote better sleep.

Ylang Ylang

Derived from star-shaped flowers on the tropical ylang ylang tree, ylang ylang essential oil has been shown to have a calming, sedative effect. It may also reduce heart rate and blood pressure levels.

Summary

Congestive heart failure is a chronic health condition that can greatly affect a person’s quality of life. Essential oils may help some people with heart failure manage their symptoms because they can decrease blood pressure and heart rate while promoting relaxation.

A Word From Verywell

Congestive heart failure is incurable, but there are things that you can do to improve your quality of life with the condition.

Essential oils can be a complementary therapy alongside conventional CHF treatment and lifestyle changes, such as following a heart-healthy diet, getting regular exercise, and reducing stress.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What are natural ways to improve heart health?

Eating a nutritious, balanced diet, exercising regularly, reducing your alcohol intake, quitting smoking, and engaging in stress-relieving activities that help you relax are all steps that you can take to improve your heart health.

Using essential oils in aromatherapy may help lower your blood pressure, promote relaxation, and improve your sleep—benefits that are good for your body and your mind.

Which essential oils are good for the heart?

Research has shown that several essential oils might be beneficial for the heart when used on a short-term basis as part of aromatherapy.

Basil, clary sage, eucalyptus, lavender, and ylang ylang can help reduce blood pressure and heart rate, promote relaxation, and improve sleep. 

What do cardiologists say about essential oils for congestive heart failure?

Research has shown that short-term exposure to essential oils may have a positive effect on heart rate, blood pressure, and stress levels.

Talk to your doctor about using essential oils as a complementary therapy. They will want you to continue taking your prescribed medications and making changes to your lifestyle to manage your heart failure even if you are adding essential oils to your routine.

Is congestive heart failure permanent?

Congestive heart failure is caused by damage to the heart that develops over time. There is no cure for the condition, but lifestyle changes, prescription medications, ongoing medical management, and surgery may help reduce the likelihood of further damage and help you manage symptoms.

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Article Sources
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