Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of mortality and a major economic burden worldwide. Various drugs, including antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic, and antiplatelet agents, are prescribed to treat CVDs, but these agents have side effects, including serious side effects such as bleeding. Therefore, efforts are being made to develop new drugs made of natural substances with relatively weak side effects. Essential oils are natural substances extracted from aromatic plants with biological effects, such as antioxidant and antiinflammatory activities. These oils have therefore long been used in traditional medicines. This chapter reviews the effects of essential oils on CVD-related factors. Essential oils have various effects, including improvements in lipid balance, liver function, and endothelial function; reductions in blood pressure, oxidative stress, thrombosis, and inflammation; promotion of vascular relaxation; and inhibition of diabetes development and angiogenesis. Therefore, essential oils and their active components may be promising therapeutic agents for CVDs. Further studies are needed to clarify their clinical effects and to elucidate their specific mechanisms of activity.
Part of the book: Potential of Essential Oils