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poor circulation

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


see also Cholesterol control, Heart disease

Poor circulation or limited blood flow is typically noticed in the limbs.  The legs, feet, or hands may have pain or cramping accompanied by a feeling heaviness and/or fatigue caused by the insufficient blood flow.  With the legs often the pain in the calf, thigh, or buttocks will be more intense while walking or climbing but then will be reduced when the physical exertion is stopped.  If this is a chronic condition and is not remedied it can lead Atherosclerosisto even more serious health concerns such as kidney problems, varicose veins, slow healing or open ulcers, hypertension, or even a stroke.   

The most common type of poor circulation problem is peripheral arterial disease or PAD that is caused by atherosclerosis or the build up of plaque in the arteries. The plaque may include cholesterol, triglycerides, calcium, cellular waste and other substances. As the fatty plaque builds up and then hardens the blood vessels are constricted and at some point are not able to carry the amount of blood required.  The reasons for plaque build up are well know and include a poor diet, smoking, lack of exercise, and being overweight.  Some are genetically inclined and men and those middle aged and beyond are more at risk.

Just to help with the terms. Claudication is the symptom, atherosclerosis is the mechanism, and PAD is the condition. It's all about blocked arteries, and someone with PAD has atherosclerosis causing them to experience claudication.


[search helps: thrombophlebitis, claudication]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends: Massage Blend, Invigorating BlendC, CorianderC, CypressEC, EucalyptusC, FrankincenseC, GeraniumC, LemonEC, Lemongrass, MarjoramC, Protective Blend

Essential oils based products: Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV)

Also consider: BasilC, Black PepperE, GingerC, MyrhhC, PeppermintC, SandalwoodC, Ylang YlangC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

For the long term help with atheriosclerosis and resulting poor circulation:

   By far the most oft mentioned suggestion is to consistently use the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV) (that include the Omega 3). See also controlling cholesterol.

For immediate relief:

   Some suggest massaging into the feet, legs, or arms Massage Blend, Cypress or Protective Blend (others have used Coriander or Lemongrass). Massage oils added to (...) Spa Hand and Body Lotion or VCO vigorously on inside of calves and/or forearms and always towards heart.

  For more difficult situations use the above massage plus make a blend of equal drops of Cypress, Marjoram, Lemongrass, and Frankincense. Rub it onto the heart area and the bottom of the feet.

Attributed to Dr. Hill is this simplified procedure for “neuropathy of the feet” that some also find helpful for improved circulation (see Neuropathy for more details):

·    rub 2-4 drops Grounding Blend into the feet

·    rub 2-4 drops  each of Basil, Cypress, and Marjoram into one foot

·    finish with 2-4 drops Peppermint then cover with hot moist towel and perhaps a dry towel to keep the heat in for the longest time.

·    repeat on other foot.


Experiences and Testimonials of others

Lehuah - My dad has poor circulation in his legs due to his heart working at 25%. His legs swell from fluid retention and then oozes liquid. He gets sores from it. What oils can he use?

Esther - I know Cypress is good for circulation.

Pat - Cypress is good and you might want to try a blend that will help with what heart muscle he has left. Equal drops of Cypress, Marjoram, Lemongrass and Frankincense. Rub it on the heart area and the bottom of his feet. Use Protective Blend and FCO (fractionated coconut oil) on his legs. And if after all these oils you could convince him to go on the supplements (LLV) he will find some success in taking care of his health. These are suggestions only.


Meredith - I have a good family friend whose husband has congestive heart failure and was newly diagnosed with stage 4 renal failure. Is there any, any at all, oils that would help him? He is in his late 40's or early 50's. He had 2 brothers die from this, both of them around his age. He is stubborn as far as taking care of himself.

Dot - I would say start with the Massage Blend therapy.  Wow - that’s my age, Helichrysum for one, it has strong cardio-vascular and lymphatic actions such as: arteriosclerosis, arteriosclerosis, hypertension, congestive heart failure, cardiac arrhythmias, thrombosis, embolisms, liver disorders, and phlebitis. It has been used for hematoma (swelling or blood-filled tumor) and bleeding.

Helichrysum improves circulation and reduces blood viscosity.  Ylang Ylang has been used traditionally to balance heart function. · Marjoram helps smooth muscle tissue (heart). · Cypress improves circulation and lymphatic drainage. Rosemary is powerful for heart conditions. Use these oils separately or in a blend of equal amounts and massage them over the heart area, along the carotid artery areas (side of neck), and/or the reflexology points in the feet, hand, or ear.


Cowgirl - My husband has extremely cold feet.  They are ice cold most the time. We think it may be due to poor circulation in his feet and legs.  I also think he has restless leg syndrome.  Any suggestions of what oils to use to try and help this situation out would be greatly appreciated. 

Dian - Protective Blend helps warm my feet that are cold most of the time.  I put it on the bottom of my feet and put socks on.  There is also a protocol for neuropathy that might help his circulation.  My husband uses it even though he does not have neuropathy just poor circulation from diabetes. 

Editorial Note -  This is the protocol used for neuropathy mentioned above.  2-4 drops Grounding Blend, rub into feet, Next, on one foot, add the next three oils, either separately or combined: 2-4 drops Cypress, 2-4 drops Basil, 2-4 drops Marjoram, finish with 2-4 drops Peppermint. Finally cover with hot moist towel and perhaps a dry towel to keep the heat in for the longest time. Repeat on other foot.

Carol - For poor circulation, Cypress should be used.  Also, I have RLS, I take the supplements and no more RLS!

Janet - I too have cold feet 24/7 365!  I was teaching a class last night and reading over my notes from several classes I attended and saw that I had written Lemongrass for cold feet.  So, I just tried it just now (cuz of course my feet are cold) and they did warm up. And not so much that I'm uncomfortable.  

Pat – Coriander is known to help with poor circulation.


Tara - I am not sure if this is related to blood circulation, and if its not I would still like to know what would be good for it. There are times in the morning when I wake up and my hands are numb. The pin and needles feeling, that won't go away till I get up and get going. What oils would anyone recommend?

Kendra - I know that Cypress is great for circulation.  Also how about Frankincense?

Pat - You might get results from using Cypress and Lavender with a small amount of carrier oil, rubbed on the chest two to three times a day and again before going to bed. Also put Cypress and Lemon on the bottom of your feet.

Rob - Single oils that are mentioned in gift of the earth as possibly helping with circulation are Helichrysum, Marjoram, Cypress, Lemon, Orange, Grapefruit and Clove.  The strong representation of citrus oils makes it logical to assume that Invigorating Blend would be a good blend. And for sure Massage Blend (Marjoram, Cypress, Grapefruit, Peppermint, etc) would be excellent.  Augment it with Helichrysum if you want.

I have personally have experience helping someone recover from major circulation problems in one of his legs.  Consistent application of Helichrysum, Cypress and Marjoram, topically are helping.  I would also recommend taking Lemon and/or Peppermint internally.

My wife has trouble with her arms sometimes falling asleep at night, even when she is careful not to sleep on them.  We have had very good success using Massage Blend on her shoulders and arms. I would apply before bed and in the morning.  Aggressive massage by another person would be ideal.

Protocols folks recommend for children



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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.