In years past, traditional aromatherapy taught that oils were not to be taken internally. Consequently, the vast majority of essential oil knowledge pertained to the effects of essential oils through topical and aromatic use. In recent years, internal use of essential oils has become more popular. A growing body of research suggests that the ingestion of most aromatic compounds is quite safe and can have incredible health benefits on many body systems, such as the digestive, immune, and cardiovascular systems.
This year, a review article1 was published on the various effects of different essential oil constituents on the cardiovascular system specifically. The review covers primary research from January 2011 to December 2015 and presents findings from 83 experimental research studies.
The cardiovascular system includes the heart, veins, arteries, and blood. Its primary function is to deliver oxygen and nutrients from the bloodstream to the tissues. Because of its essential role in human life, dysfunction of the cardiovascular system can be quite serious. Cardiovascular health is actually one of the most important keys to a long, healthy life.1
Cardiovascular health can be compromised by various internal stressors. In the review article, the authors presented data from various experimental models that simulated these (and other) cardiovascular issues. The consensus from the research is that many essential oil constituents show promising activity on the cardiovascular system. The 83 studies included in the review article suggest that internal use of these constituents can be effective for supporting healthy cardiovascular function via multiple mechanisms.*
Before we discuss those mechanisms, here is a list of the constituents mentioned in the review, as well as the oils that contain them in significant quantities.