Essential oils like Lavender and Bergamot are rich in linalool, compounds that have well-known relaxing properties. Now, a recent study in mice suggests that it may also bring about relaxation of blood vessels. (1)
Clary Sage, Basil, Cilantro, and Coriander also contain linalool. Linalool is a terpene alcohol. Terpenes are a large and diverse class of organic compounds, produced by a variety of plants, though also by some insects. They are often strong-smelling. They may protect the plants that produce them by deterring herbivores and by attracting predators and parasites of herbivores.
The potential benefits shown in this study (Kang P, Seol GH. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2015;67(5):714-719.) affect smooth muscle lining blood vessels in the body.* Smooth muscle is different from skeletal muscle in that it contracts and relaxes involuntarily due to nervous system cues. During exercise, smooth muscle contracts to facilitate increased blood flow throughout the body. During rest, the smooth muscle relaxes.
Linalool is a chemical that may help relax these muscles. The conclusion of the study was: Our findings indicate that LIN may induce endothelium-dependent vasorelaxation in mouse thoracic aortae by activating soluble guanylyl cyclase and K(+) channels. (1)
When these muscles stay tensed even when not active we can develop health concerns such as high tension, arterial enlargement, accumulation of coagulated blood which in turn can lead to an interruption of blood flow to vital areas.