Morocco is better known to Americans for being the home of Casablanca (with Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman staring) than it is for cutting edge health modalities. But for lowering cholesterol naturally, the people from this North African country have discovered a unique approach. They use the essential oil of Basil. Research is proving that this and other essential oils may be beneficial in our cholesterol lowering efforts. Essential oils are concentrated liquids derived from plants. They are most often used for their aromas in perfumes and soaps as well as flavoring agents in foods. Essential oils are also utilized as aromatherapy in oil burners or candles and are frequently mixed with lotions for massage. Essential oils have longed been used for a variety of ailments, but now we can add to the list their effectiveness in lowering cholesterol naturally.
Cinnamon essential oil is distilled from the bark and leaf of the cinnamon plant, Cinnamomum zeylanicum. Research in the journal, Diabetes Care, found that intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduced serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. Harvard Medical School suggests that consuming as little as 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon each day can reduce your blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as 12 to 30%.
Basil oil (also called Holy basil oil) works gradually, but effectively, in lowering cholesterol in the body. Derived from the herb, Ocimum basilicum, basil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and cholesterol-lowering actions. A study published in the journal, Phytotherapy Research, tested basil extract on rats with induced high cholesterol. The study found that basil significantly reduced LDL. Furthermore, the reduction of LDL was accompanied by an increase in HDL (“good”) cholesterol.
- To achieve the cholesterol-lowering effect, only buy oils that are available in capsule form and labeled as “standardized extracts”. Standardized extracts are diluted and safer for consumption. Follow the dosage instructions listed on the manufacture’s label.
- Rotating essential oils is most effective. Choose one essential oil and try it first for a few weeks, then rotate to another oil.
- After two to three months, have your cholesterol checked to monitor your progress.
- Do not use undiluted essential oils as they are highly concentrated. Failure to dilute an essential oil can result in a chemical-like burn on the skin and should not be swallowed unless directed by a health care professional.
Essential oils can be effective remedies for a variety of ills but they should always be used with caution. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, or have cancer, use essential oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapy practitioner. It is safest to consult a qualified practitioner before using essential oils with children. Also note that some essential oils are toxic to pets.
To learn about using another essential oil – oil of oregano - to lower cholesterol naturally, click here: Herb Used for Lowering Cholesterol Naturally.
 Diabetes Care. 2003 Dec;26(12):3215-8.
 “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating”; Walter Willett and P. J. Skerrett; 2005.
 Phytotherapy Research. 2006 Dec;20(12):1040-5.