Essential Oils for Circulation

by Jodi Cohen

heart, circulatory system

Your circulation system is responsible for moving blood throughout the entire body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to the organs and tissues of your body and brain. It also works with your lymphatic system to help remove waste materials.

Healthy circulation also supports the immune system, as certain blood cells, carried by the bloodstream, help to fight infection. Oxygenation of tissues also supports physical health, like faster wound healing, a sharper brain, better cardiac health, glowing skin and healthy temperature regulation (healthy circulation warms up the body).

But the blood can’t do its part if it’s unable to reach its destination. This is where the circulatory system comes in. Through the actions of a pumping heart and the contraction of various muscles, blood is carried throughout the body.

If blood flow to some part of your body or brain is disrupted or diminished, it can compromise the effectiveness of your lymphatic system and undermine your health.

What is Poor Circulation?

The circulatory system is designed to support proper blood flow throughout the body which to carries oxygen and other necessities to your cells and while removing waste in an efficient and continuous way.

Poor circulation occurs when blood doesn’t reach its destination due to some kind of blockage or problems with your heart, veins, arteries, capillaries or blood vessels that can inhibit the blood distribution process.

Problems can occur when something goes wrong with some part of the delivery system or the valves that control which direction your blood goes.

For example, if blood vessels are damaged, it can be harder for blood to get through and carry oxygen and other necessities to your cells, especially when trying to reach the parts of your body that are the longest distance away from your heart ― your brain, fingers and toes. The biggest problem with poor circulation is that your cells aren’t getting as much oxygen as they need. When cells don’t have the oxygen they need, they can’t function well.

There are several components that comprise human blood, including Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Hemoglobin which need to present in a specific volume for your blood to function properly in your body. If any of these components are over or under the required amount, it can create several health problems.

Your red blood cells are the principal means of delivering oxygen to your tissues. They are round in shape with a flattish, indented center (like a doughnut without a hole) and are supposed to flow unattached to each other in your veins and arteries.
If they stack on each other like coins, a condition known as Rouleaux, they change formation. This restricts the blood flow throughout your body, as your capillaries (very tiny blood vessels) can only accept free-flowing singular and independent RBCs.


Symptoms of Poor Circulation

Some symptoms of poor circulation include:

  • No Brian endurance for focus and concentration
  • Cold hands, feet or face
  • Fatigue
  • Must exercise or drink coffee to improve brain function
  • Poor nail health or white (instead of pink) on the nail beds
  • Fungal growth on toenails
  • Prefer to wear socks at night
  • Nail beds are white instead of pink
  • The tip of the nose is cold
  • Hair thinning or falling out
  • Restless legs and feet, muscle cramps or joint pain
  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Slow wound healing
  • Swollen veins and arteries (varicose or “spider” veins)
  • Poor Appetite and Digestive Problem
  • Reduced Libido

All of these indications reflect the lack of blood flow and nutrients to extremities. For example, blood flow to the scalp is responsible for caring hormones and essential nutrients needed by the hair follicles. Therefore when circulation is compromised to the head, many individuals complain of hair falling out and thinning.

When blood circulation to the brain becomes sluggish, it can impact your physical and mental abilities, including your ability to focus and concentrate. Poor circulation in the brain can also contribute to fatigue, vertigo, dizziness, memory loss, and frequent and unexplained headaches.

Similarly, poor blood circulation makes it harder for your body to deliver nutrients and oxygens to different parts of your body and reserve any energy, which is causing your fatigue.

When circulation is compromised, your body may struggle to deliver nutrients to your body contributing to a slowed metabolism and loss of appetite. Your digestive system required good circulation to support proper function.


What Causes Poor Circulation?

Causes of poor circulation may include health problems, lack of exercise, extremely cold temperatures, exposure to EMF and others.
Excess weight: can place excess pressure on your heart and lungs which can contribute to blood restriction throughout your body.

Blood sugar Imbalances: Too much glucose in your blood can harm your blood vessels. Excess blood sugar can build up in the walls of small blood vessels, reducing the amount of blood that can flow through them. In addition to narrowing blood vessels, diabetes can cause inflammation in the vessels. This also reduces blood flow.

High blood pressure: When your blood is pushing against your blood vessel walls with a lot of force, it can weaken them. This makes it harder for blood to move through them.

Viral infections: Circulatory issues seem to play a role in viral infections like Covid-19 which seems to affect blood vessels. A paper the scientific journal The Lancet found that the virus infects the endothelial cells that line the inside of blood vessels. Endothelial cells protect the cardiovascular system, and they release proteins that influence everything from blood clotting to the immune response.
Mold Exposure: Mycotoxins in mold may cause circulation problems, according to a 2016 study published in the Journal of Biomolecular Research & Therapeutics.

EMF exposure: Research studies have found that prolonged EMF exposure heavily interferes with your blood’s functioning, causing a quality reduction in your blood circulation, which in turn can create problems like high blood pressure, blood clotting, and cardiac arrest. A recent research study found that “exposure of human and experimental animals to EMFs has shown to cause harmful effects on blood cells.”

Essential Oils for Circulation

Essential oils are warming in nature which helps them enhance blood flow and improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and supporting the health of the blood vessels.

Natural compounds, like essential oils, possess unique chemical constituents that support therapeutic properties. For example, essential oils can act as vasodilators, meaning they increase the size of blood vessels. This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process. Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow. Essential oils may also help alleviate some of the triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow.

Essential oils may also help improve circulation by relaxing the smooth muscles that line the blood hat them, improving your circulation and increasing brain oxygen levels in the process.

Plant compounds, including the highly concentrated essence of plants found in essential oils, have been shown to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow and enhance “brain microcirculation,” which is the flow of blood through the body’s smallest vessels. They may help reduce some of the buildup of triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow.

More specifically, plant compounds like polyphenols and flavonoids, have been shown to improve blood flow to the brain and reduce inflammation in the brain. The process of distilling these concentrated plant essences into essential oils makes them more accessible to the brain to help calm brain inflammation and enhance brain circulation. Essential oils of Thyme and Basil are high in flavonoids. Citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, bergamot and grapefruits contain numerous flavonoids.

Terpenes – the highly aromatic chemical component of essential oils that are believed to provide the first line of defense in the plant’s immune system – increase cerebral blood flow, thus indirectly enhancing delivery of oxygen to the brain. Research on the “Functional imaging of effects of fragrances on the human brain after prolonged inhalation” demonstrated a direct increase in blood flow to the brain following the inhalation of essential oils.

“The effect of the fragrance 1,8-cineol, which was described in literature as ‘stimulating’, on regional and global cerebral blood flow in the human brain after prolonged inhalation was investigated.”

Sesquiterpenes are a subclass of the large terpene chemical family that are abundant in essential oils derived from plants including black pepper, cedarwood, frankincense, ginger, myrrh, patchouli, sandalwood, spikenard, and vetiver. Essential oils that are high in sesquiterpenes have been shown to help oxygenate your brain. Sesquiterpines are carbon chains that do not contain oxygen molecules but seem to pull oxygen in. This may be one reason why essential oils high in sesquiterpines increase oxygen levels in the brain when inhaled or topically applied to the skin around the head.

Formulated to support healthy circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated. The Circulation™ blend contains a proprietary formulation of organic and/or wild crafted essential oils that work synergistically to support healthy circulation and blood flow to the body and the brain.

Black Pepper (Piper nigrum) helps to warm the body and stimulates circulation, increasing blood flow to your digestive system. This helps to boost nutrient absorption so much that it is often added to supplement formulations to enhance the effectiveness of the supplement.

Black pepper and its active compound piperine have been found to enhance circulation, increasing blood flow to your digestive system, which helps boost nutrient absorption.

Piperine helps stimulate digestive enzymes, enhances digestive capacity, increases absorption in the intestines, and also significantly reduces gastrointestinal food transit times. This means that your cells are better able to utilize nutrients and healing remedies when piperine is added, so much so that it is often added to supplement formulations to enhance the effectiveness of the supplement. Dr. Datis Kharrazian, a Harvard-trained clinical researcher, found that adding black pepper to his supplement formulations increased the absorption 200 to 400 percent.

Black Pepper also contains high levels of the sesquiterpene constituent Beta-caryophyllene which helps support healthy blood sugar levels. It also contains large amounts of limonene, a terpene thought to stimulate circulation and increase energy.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) helps to improve circulation and contraction of the blood vessels, making it easier to stimulate blood flow.

Derived from the twigs and needles of coniferous cypress trees which are known to calm the respiratory system, Cypress essential oil has a diuretic and detoxifying action and can help to flush out toxins from the body, which helps promote better blood flow and circulation.

Cypress essential oil may help alleviate some of the triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow. Cypress also helps to balance and calm the nervous system and work as an antispasmodic agent.

Seventy compounds were identified or tentatively identified in the oil. Cypress essential oil is high in the compound α-pinene exhibits anti-inflammatory activity in research which helps with blood flow.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) contains sesquiterpenes, which enable it to cross the blood-brain barrier to assist in increasing oxygen in your brain.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine, frankincense of Boswellia carterii is commonly used as a remedy for improving blood circulation and relieving pain. Research has found that Frankincense has a positive effect on the respiratory system.

Boswellic acids found in frankincense have shown to be responsible for the inhibition of leukotriene biosynthesis and, therefore, can reduce and prevent the inflammation in many chronic inflammatory diseases like asthma.

In a study, several patients with chronic bronchial asthma were treated with the B. serrata preparation of 300 mg thrice daily for a 6-week period. The improvement of the disease was obvious in 70% of the patients by disappearance of physical symptoms and signs such as dyspnea (difficulty in breathing), rhonchi (hissing lung sound), and the number of attacks. The data show a definite role of gum resin of B. serrata in the treatment of bronchial asthma.

Frankincense helps relieve nervous tension and stress related conditions. Contains sesquiterpenes, which enable it to go beyond the blood brain barrier to assist in increasing oxygen around the pineal and pituitary glands.

Frankincense oil has long been heralded for its anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and pain-relieving properties. Research shows frankincense, and its anti-inflammatory constituent alpha-pinene, significantly inhibit inflammation and enhance immune supporting properties, including healthy circulation. The chemical constituent borneol possesses anesthetic and anti-spasmodic properties.

Ginger root (Zingiber Officinale) helps warm the skin and blood vessels when topically applied, promoting circulation. It also helps to flush toxins and reduce the inflammation of the blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body.

Ginger may also help calm inflammation that interferes with healthy circulation. The beneficial effects of ginger polyphenols have been extensively reported in research such as “Assessing the Effects of Ginger Extract on Polyphenol Profiles.”

The anti-inflammatory effects of ginger are often attributed to secondary metabolites, like essential oils and gingerols. More specifically, Ginger oil triggers bronchodilation (dilates the bronchi and bronchioles to improve airflow to the lungs) possibly by stimulating the beta-adrenergic receptor, which improves breathing in people with chronic respiratory diseases, according to 2013 research published in Fitoterapia.

Zingerone, an antioxidant found in Ginger prevents the death of neurons and reduces oxidative stress in animals with insufficient blood supply to the brain, according to research.

For example, Ginger oil reduced the production of pro-inflammatory constituents released during respiratory infections in vitro. The research discovered that ginger oil reduces inflammation by preventing the migration of excess leukocytes from the blood to tissues. Leukocytes travel to the site of damaged tissue to encourage tissue repair; however, when they migrate excessively to the area it causes an abnormal inflammatory response.

Grapefruit (Citrus paradise) stimulates the liver and gallbladder. It supports the lymphatic system, which helps promote blood flow.
The limonene present in grapefruit helps to reduce inflammation and regulate the production of inflammatory cytokines. Grapefruit also contains high levels of bioactive flavonoids like naringin, which demonstrate anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic, lipid-lowering, and antioxidant activities according to research published in Oxid Med Cell Longev. titled “Bioactive Flavonoids, Antioxidant Behavior, and Cytoprotective Effects of Dried Grapefruit Peels”.

The research notes “data suggest that grapefruit peel has considerable potential as a source of natural bioactive flavonoids with outstanding antioxidant activity which can be used as agents in several therapeutic strategies.” Flavonoids were observed in the oil glands of citrus peels ( Essential oil are found mainly in the oil glands).

Peppermint (Mentha piperita) is stimulatory essential oil that can act as a vasodilator. This simply means that it can help to dilate, or open up, your blood vessels to improve blood flow, stimulate the mind, alleviate pain and promote energy. One reason for poor circulation is narrow or constricted blood vessels. When vessels are too narrow, there is less space for blood to flow easily. Peppermint essential oil can help expand and widen the space in the blood vessels. Widening or expanding space in your blood vessels allows more blood to flow through your vessels.

Research found that Peppermint essential oil significantly improved exercise performance. The improvement was believed to be “due to the peppermint effects on the bronchial smooth muscle tonicity” and oxygen increasing capacity.

Peppermint essential oil contains high concentrations of the property menthol which works to enhance exercise performance, boost energy and stimulate concentration. According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, peppermint essential oil enhances energy, alertness and memory. Research from the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increases the mental accuracy by 28%, again possibly due to increased oxygen flow to the brain.

Myrtle (Myrtus communis) helps relax blood vessels balance the nervous system and calm nervous tension and anxiety that can raise blood pressure.

Research found that “a methanolic extract of myrtle reduced intestinal and aorta spasms, enhanced bronchodilation (relaxation of the bronchi and bronchioles to increase airflow in the lungs) and vasodilation (relaxation of the blood vessel walls, which causes decreased blood pressure). Agents that block calcium channels prevent calcium from entering heart and blood vessel cells, which results in relaxed blood vessels and greater supply of blood and oxygen” to the body and the brain.

Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) helps improve circulation and helps support cardiovascular and respiratory health. Nutmeg essential oil works as a stimulant, helping to increase blood circulation and relax blood vessels. This may help to thin the blood cells and reduce the amount of pressure that is being placed on the arteries and veins.

Nutmeg essential oil is high in anti-inflammatory compounds like Eugenol, Sabinene and A-pinene that may help ease pain and swelling.

Apply 2- 3 drops of Circulation™ on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles to support energy, brain endurance and warmth of the distal extremities, like the fingers and toes.


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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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