Essential oils for diabetes

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Essential Oils for the Management of Type 2 Diabetes

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Ivory A. Gordon, Pharm.D. Candidate

Florida A&M University College of Pharmacy

Essential oils are complex and contain many different chemical ingredients that are extracted from plants through distillation, a process of purifying liquids by boiling and condensing its vapors. Essential oils serve as an invaluable element of natural healing for mankind. Ancient Egyptian oils were used in religious practices and the preservation of the dead for the afterlife. The Greek and Roman cultures used oil of lavender for wounds which is still utilized today. While there is still limited understanding of the mechanisms through which most essential oils act, research continues to indicate their effectiveness as agents for both treatment and preventive measures for several chronic diseases such as; cancer, HIV, and even diabetes.

Diabetes is becoming a common condition with many people in the United States and elsewhere in the world. It has been recently discovered that diabetes can be tempered with the use of essential oils such as; dill, cinnamon, coriander, or ylang ylang. Although essential oils can never cure diabetes completely, they can help reduce some aggravation of the condition.

Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum) is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia. Traditionally, coriander has been used as an infusion to aid in the healing of digestive conditions, flatulence, anorexia, gripe pains and for children’s diarrhea. Coriander has dual blood glucose-lowering effects in diabetes. It works both by enhancing the secretion of insulin from the pancreas and exhibiting insulin-like activity at the cellular level.

In 2008, a study was conducted to observe the effects of Coriander seed oil on the lipid profile within a population of rats. The study demonstrated decreased levels of triglycerides, total cholesterol, and LDL cholesterol. There was also a significant increase in HDL cholesterol within both the experimental and control groups.

Cinnamon bark (Cinnamon Zeylancium) is one of the most antimicrobial essential oils. Other possible uses include; rheumatism, flatulence, stress, and even lowering blood pressure. It originates from Indonesia and is cultivated in many countries such as; Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and India.

Recent studies have demonstrated cinnamon’s on the reduction of the glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in subjects with Type 2 diabetes. This study was conducted in the Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan where individuals with Type 2 diabetes were divided randomly in which half consumed cinnamon daily (experimental group), respectively, and the control group was given placebo capsules corresponding to the number of capsules consumed for the cinnamon. Although the mechanism of action for cinnamon is not clear, the effects of the extract led to increased insulin sensitivity for those in the experimental group. Although the study population was small, it proves that cinnamon is indeed beneficial to the management of Type 2 diabetes.

In my opinion, essential oils will be a part of future research and there will continue to be increased clinical use in the United States. I’m already convinced that the use of essential oils can be helpful in the healing of ourselves and others. The proof is demonstrated within these two medical studies.

As a pharmacist, it is vital to have reliable resources of drug information at your fingertips. Sources must provide a thorough synthesis of history, chemistry, safety issues, the most current clinical research, clinical applications and more. I feel that resources such as the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database and Essential Oils Reference Desk are good examples of efficient up-to-date information surrounding CAM products.

FYI

Agriculture, pharmacy, and commercial ingenuity have all contributed to the development of the modern industry of essential oils. According to data from the 2007 National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), approximately 30% of U.S. adults use some form of complementary alternative medicine (CAM) for health and wellness or to treat a variety of conditions and diseases. CAM accounts for 1.5% of total health costs and 11.2% of total out-of-pocket costs on healthcare in the U.S..

Essential Oils Desk Reference. 2nd ed. Orem, UT: Essential Science, 2000.

Heinerman, John. Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Healing Herbs & Spices. New York, NY: Penguin Putnam, 1996.

Ramadan, Mohamed Fawzy., et al. Coriander seed oil improves plasma lipid profile in rats fed a diet containing cholesterol. European Food Resource Technology (2008). Vol 227: 1173-1182. Web. 15 April 2010.

National Institutes of Health. Americans Spent $33.9 Billion Out-of-Pocket on Complementary and Alternative Medicine. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. (2009). Web. 11 April 2010 http://nccam.nih.govnews/2009/073009.htm

Should You Use Essential Oils for Diabetes Treatment?

If you follow type 2 diabetes forums, you may have come across users suggesting turning to essential oils — often for managing blood sugar, treating symptoms, or even curing the disease. While these oils may be considered a more “natural” therapy, they also may have side effects, which is why there are many things you need to know before giving them a try in your diabetes management plan.

What Are Essential Oils Made of and Can They Cure Diabetes?

Essential oils are derived from plants, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t potent. For instance, it takes 50 lemons to make a 15-milliliter (mL) essential oil bottle; 3 pounds (lbs) of lavender flowers are used in a 15 mL bottle; and there are 105 lbs of rose petals in a 5mL bottle, according to Doterra, a brand of essential oils.

They’re powerful, and as lovely as they smell, they need to be taken seriously. First, it’s important to cut through the chatter you may have heard: Essential oils will not reverse diabetes or treat it in lieu of more traditional approaches. “None of the essential oils are significantly potent enough to serve as diabetes medication,” says Rasa Kazlauskaite, MD, an associate professor in endocrinology, diabetes, and metabolism at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

What the Research Says About Using Essential Oils to Treat Diabetes

There are a few ways you can incorporate essential oils into your diabetes management routine — some recommended, and some not. Well-meaning friends or family may come to you saying that essential oils will fix the condition or cure diabetic neuropathy, and say there’s research behind it, but the truth is that there is limited research on essential oils.

Many studies have been done on mice and rats, which is a start, but this doesn’t give enough information on how safe or effective these oils are for humans. For instance, one study published in May 2013 in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry showed that cinnamon leaf essential oil may help improve blood sugar control in rats with diabetes, possibly by protecting beta cells in the pancreas. The authors note more research is needed.

Is It Safe or Beneficial to Add Essential Oils to Your Food?

While you may hear people suggesting you add these oils to your food, taking essential oils orally can be a gamble. “I do not believe in ingesting any essential oil, whether you have type 2 diabetes or not. I don’t feel that it’s safe,” says Donna Audia, RN, of the inpatient integrative medicine team at the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore. Audia is a proponent of essential oils and regularly uses them as aromatherapy in her patients.

She points to statements from both the Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA) and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), noting that you should not ingest the oils unless your doctor explicitly tells you to do so. “AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal, or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a healthcare practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level,” their statement reads. Similarly, the NAHA states that you should not take them internally without a health professional’s guidance.

The Potential Risks of Using Essential Oils for Diabetes Management

As Audia mentions, essential oils are volatile chemicals that can have side effects, like burning mucous membranes in your GI system, and there’s also the issue that they can potentially interact with medication you’re taking. Some can bring out sedative properties of certain prescriptions, while others can enhance diuretics, which can have dangerous ramifications on your blood pressure.

While Dr. Kazlauskaite also doesn’t recommend taking essential oils by mouth, she does recommend getting those properties from food. “I don’t believe it’s better to take this oil as opposed to sprinkling cinnamon in your food or using pepper to cook with,” she says. Diabetes-friendly spices, like coriander, cardamom, and curry, will help improve the taste of your food so you can cook with less salt and sugar and other additives, she notes — both of which will benefit the health of those with diabetes.

Should You Use Essential Oils Topically or in Aromatherapy?

Even though rubbing oils on your skin seems harmless enough, there are considerations if you’re going to use this application approach. “The skin is our largest organ, and we can absorb essential oils into our body, where they may also interact with medication,” says Audia.

“Don’t treat it like perfume. It’s not. It’s like a medication,” adds Denine Rogers, RDN, an integrative dietitian, nutritionist, and herbalist in Douglasville, Georgia. For her part, she also likes to use essential oils, but she says you still need to approach them cautiously.

How Essential Oils Might Help Treat Diabetic Neuropathy

One place that some healthcare providers like to use essential oils is with diabetic neuropathy, says Rebecca Denison, RD, CDE, a doctor of integrative medicine at the Geckle Diabetes & Nutrition Center at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Maryland. Lavender may be particularly helpful, she says, when massaged into feet to improve circulation and decrease pain. If you’re using it topically, she says, dilute one or two drops of essential oil in a carrier oil (like coconut) before applying to your skin; straight oils can cause irritation.

For all these reasons, it’s essential to be up-front with your healthcare team about what essential oils you’d like to use topically. This may be scary at first if you worry your practitioner isn’t friendly toward integrative therapies, but it’s something you two need to talk about.

Why Using an Essential Oil Diffuser May Help Reduce Diabetes-Related Stress

One place where essential oils shine is when they’re used as aromatherapy — where you place the oils in a diffuser and inhale the scent — to offer a potential source of stress relief, which is important in dealing with the disease. “People with diabetes are under stress. Anything that helps to release that stress, doctors will be happy about,” says Kazlauskaite. Finding comfort and calm may also help keep blood sugar levels lower, she notes.

What to Know Before You Try Essential Oils to Better Control Diabetes

Whether or not you choose to incorporate essential oils into your routine safely is your decision. If you do, follow these guidelines for adding them into your treatment plan:

Think small when you’re first starting out. Aim for a baby dosage, says Audia. She recommends diluting one drop of essential oil into 2 ounces of carrier oil, if you’re using it. If you’re going the aromatherapy route, use a diffuser for just 15 minutes.

Use the oils cautiously. As Audia notes, we attach memories to scent. While that can be a very good thing — think about how warm and fuzzy you feel with the scent of fir trees during the holidays — it can also backfire if you surround yourself with that scent during a rough time. Smelling that scent can create a stress response later on, she notes.

Buy and store your essential oils correctly. Look for those that are pure or organic, recommends Rogers. And store in a cool, dark place, otherwise they can break down under heat or light.

Find an oil scent you love. “The important thing is to find a scent that makes you feel good,” says Audia. A few to consider for aromatherapy:

  • Lavender This is the quintessential botanical for helping calm down your nervous system and inducing relaxation.
  • Sweet Orange “Kids often find this relaxing, while adults find it uplifting,” says Audia. If you need a burst of energy, gravitate toward citrus.
  • Cypress If you like to be outdoors, this woodsy scent can help you feel like you’re connecting with nature, Audia notes.

Essential Oils for High Blood Sugar: Making a Balancing Body Oil

Can essential oils for high blood sugar be used to manage blood sugar levels? Research suggests they can! This is great news for diabetics who struggle daily with inconsistent blood sugar levels.

Essential Oils for High Blood Sugar Synergy

One of the most intriguing things about essential oils for high blood sugar is the effect of synergy, which is the phenomenon in which combinations of oils work together to make even stronger effects. That’s why we’re so frequently making blends and formulas of oils rather than just using one here and another there. Teamwork makes the dream work, right?

One prominent study out of Georgetown in 2005 took note of the benefits of synergy when they studied essential oils for high blood sugar and diabetes. Instead of isolating a single oil for their research, they experimented with blends of multiple oils that have been suggested as beneficial for diabetes (source):

  • Blend 1 was composed of pumpkinseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin and fennel.
  • Blend 2 was composed of pumpkinseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin, myrtle,
    allspice and ginger.
  • Blend 3 was composed of pumpkinseed oil, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, cinnamon, fenugreek, cumin and myrtle.

All of the essential oils for high blood sugar blends were able to improve insulin sensitivity when taken internally, which can be replicated by including oil blends diluted into a carrier and consumed in capsules, drinks, and recipes. Alternatively, you can create a body oil and apply with similar results!

For even more information, check out my article on 6 Ways to Use Essential Oils for Diabetes Management.

Make Your Own Essential Oils for High Blood Sugar Balancing Body Oil by Dr. Z

Ingredients for Blood Sugar Balancing Body Oil

  • 2 ounce carrier oil (we use Mama Z’s Base)
  • 3 drops cumin (Cuminum cyminum)
  • 2 drops cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
  • 2 drops fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • 2 drops melissa (Melissa officinalis)
  • 2 drops myrtle (Myrtus communis)
  • 2 drops oregano (Origanum vulgare)
  • Glass bottle

Instructions for Blood Sugar Balancing Body Oil

  1. Drop essential oils into a medium glass bowl.
  2. Add in carrier oil and mix.
  3. Between blood sugar tests, massage over abdomen and lower back twice a day for one month.
  4. Store in glass jar or in a lotion dispenser.

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Can essential oils really help with supporting healthy blood sugar levels? Previously, I discussed how flavonoids could be used to modulate sugar in the blood. For example, rodents imbibing grapefruit extract and helichrysum demonstrated positive changes in measurements of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, inflammation, and weight. (Note: remember to be careful of medication interactions with grapefruit oil.)

Recently, I wrote an article on sugar addiction to be published in the Natural Path. It inspired me to publish this blog that was originally sent as a E-blast to my essential oils subscribers. In it, I will focus on the use of essential oils for blood sugar support.

Of Mice (Well mice and rats)

The following is a list of several studies that support how certain oils modulate blood sugar in rodents:

1. In one study with rats, cinnamon oil of the linalool chemotype (specific secondary metabolite at the highest levels in the oil) was shown to have a benefit on blood sugar and relieve oxidative stress at a certain dose.

2. In another study, a specific type of lavender had blood sugar lowering effects and also decreased oxidative stress in our four-pawed rodent friends.

3. In a well-done study, which even analyzed the oil constituents (a lot of them don’t), little diabetic rodents exhibited very impressive results regarding the use of lemon balm oil (Melissa off.) The study demonstrated that lemon balm alleviated many of the damaging effects that high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause. Specifically, the lemon balm positively impacted lipids, insulin response, liver enzymes, and various cellular signaling pathways.

4. In another study, the synergistic effects of essential oils for blood sugar were tested. For the trial, researchers combined several blends of essential oils and tested them in hypertensive and diabetic rats. The researchers found beneficial effects on blood sugar with the oil blends.

5. A mouse study reported blood sugar lowering effects, oxidative stress protection, insulin enhancement, and a decrease in alpha-amylase using Korean Pine Oil.

6. One study that compared the use of Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér.) to an antidiabetic medication reported that the oil could be more effective in decreasing glucose and effecting liver and kidney antioxidant functions than the drug:

After the administration of two doses of essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. together with glibenclamide which is known by its antidiabetic activities and used as reference (600 μg/kg b.w.), for four weeks, the serum glucose significantly decreased and antioxidant perturbations were restored. The hypoglycemic effect of P. graveolens at the dose of 150 mg/kg b.w. was significantly (p<  0.05) more effective than that of glibenclamide. It is through the histological findings in hepatic and renal tissues of diabetic rats that these beneficial effects of geranium oils were confirmed.

Of Men

Remember the effect of stress on blood sugar and how essential oils can modulate this response and hormones (cortisol-insulin connection)? This can impact blood sugar levels. One study also listed potential uses for oils to use as support in those who were struggling with blood sugar issues. These included using the oils to cleanse wounds, support for the stress response, and supporting mood.

Summary:

Essential oils have been shown in rodent models to modulate pathways related to blood sugar and the damaging effects of too high amounts in the blood. In human trials, essential oils have prolific evidence for modulating stress and hormonal response. Taken together, there is good evidence that essential oils support healthy glucose levels.

If you want more on essential oils and their clinical use,

Shih-Chieh Lee, et al., Chemical Composition and Hypoglycemic and Pancreas-Protective Effect of Leaf Essential Oil from Indigenous Cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum Kanehira). J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013: 61 (20), pp 4905-4913

J Buckle. Diabetes and Aromatherapy. Diabetes Spectrum. August 2001; 14(3). 124-126

Talpur N, et al. Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on glucose-insulin metabolism in diabetic and hypertensive rats: a pilot study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Mar; 7(2):193-9.

Anti-Diabetic Potential of the Essential Oil of Pinus koraiensis Leaves toward Streptozotocin-Treated Mice and HIT-T15 Pancreatic β Cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 2013; 77(10).

Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2012;11:81. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-81.

Chemotype: http://dr-lobisco.com/lovers-haters-unite-for-the-good-of-essential-oil-science/

Lavender species: http://dr-lobisco.com/using-lavender-universal-oil-calming-mood-support-brain-health-immune-support/

Essential Oils and Medication Interactions: http://dr-lobisco.com/essentialoil-druginteractions/

Dr. Z: http://drericz.com/diabetes-oils/

Disclaimer:
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.

This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.

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No, this isn’t a blog on weight loss through a “miracle supplement.” Those claims actually scare the heck out of me. This is because anything that’s touted as a “panacea in a bottle” is probably a scam, or even worse, it could be dangerous!

In fact, I try to steer clear of writing about supplements that may modulate weight; therefore, this blog isn’t meant to claim that a little bit of an essential oil will make you lose weight and you can ignore all the basic healthy lifestyle factors. It’s more of an educational read on how powerful nature’s compounds can be to re-balance our bodies when they are not performing optimally.

I was actually intending to do a blog on how amazing helichyrsum oil is, but I got side-tracked by a few studies. (Shocking, right?) These articles investigated how extracts of helichrysum (Helichtrysum italicum) and grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) modulated blood sugar, weight gain, inflammation, and immune health.

Flavonoids!

Ladies and gentleman, one word may explain these effects- flavonoids! I discussed previously all the incredible properties of this classification of phenolics which are found in many essential oils as secondary metabolites. Flavonoids and phenolics have been touted for a variety of health benefits, including their role in modulating blood sugar. (1) The subcategories of flavonoids include the following:

  1. Flavonols, such as kaempferol, quercetin, isorhamnetin, and myricetin
  2. Flavones, such as apigenin, luteolin, wogonin, and baicalein
  3. Isoflavones, which are found almost exclusively in leguminous plants
  4. Flavanones, such as naringenin and hesperetin (found in citrus oils, most abundantly in grapefruit)
  5. Anthocyanidins, such as pelargonidin, cyanidin, delphinidin, peonidin, petunidin, and malvidin
  6. Flavan-3-ols, including simple monomers and oligomeric and polymeric proanthocyanidins, also known as condensed tannins
  7. Dihydrochalcones, a minor group

The Benefits Of Citrus Oil Compounds

This study I spoke of that sparked my interest for this blog topic demonstrated how helichyrsum (Helichyrsum italicum) and grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) extracts had positive effects on blood sugar in several fascinating ways:

  1. They both showed inhibition of enzymes related to carbohydrate, starch, sugar, and glycogen metabolism in vitro. These enzymes included alpha-glucosidase, which breaks down carbohydrates and some sugars, and a-amaylase, another enzyme that metabolizes starches, carbohydrates, and glycogen.
  2. Both extracts reduced maltose digestion and inhibited update of this sugar in intestinal cells in vitro.
  3. The authors of the study also reported, “ In vivo studies demonstrated that helichrysum decreased blood glucose levels after an oral maltose tolerance test (OMTT), and both extracts reduced postprandial glucose levels after the oral starch tolerance test (OSTT).”
  4. “Finally, both extracts improved hyperinsulinemia (31% with helichrysum and 50% with grapefruit) and HOMA index (47% with helichrysum and 54% with grapefruit) in a dietary model of insulin resistance in rats.” (2)

To my delight, I then found a follow up study in the same journal which reported very impressive results regarding the antioxidant and inflammation-modulating effects of helichrysum and grapefruit extracts. This study was on overweight insulin-resistant rats and consisted of thirty-eight male rats randomly distributed into a control group and a high-fat sucrose (HFS) group. The rats first were given 22 days of free access to water and food. Following their “ad libtum” intake, the rats fed HFS diet changed to the standard diet and they were reassigned into three groups of either non-supplemented, helichrysum extract (2g/kg bw), or grapefruit extract (1g/kg bw) for a period of 5 weeks.

According to the researchers the rats who were given the extracts had the following results:

  1. They gained less body weight.
  2. They showed lower levels of insulin and in an indicator of insulin resistance, the leptin/adiponectin ratio.
  3. Liver TBARS levels (measures of oxidative stress) were decreased.
  4. A reduction in gene expression of two immune and inflammation modulating genes, TNFa (in epididymal adipose tissue and intestinal mucosa), and TLR2 (in intestinal mucosa).

The researchers concluded:

Helichrysum and grapefruit extracts might be used as complement hypocaloric diets in weight loss treatment. Both extracts helped to reduce weight gain, hyperinsulinemia, and IR, improved inflammation markers, and decreased the HFS diet-induced oxidative stress in insulin-resistant rats. (3)

A 2006 study supported these findings. It claimed, “Flavonoids have been identified as the antidiabetic components in a number of traditional ethnic remedies.”

This study investigated the effect of the flavonoids hesperidin and naringin on glucose and lipid regulation in mice. The results demonstrated that these components modulated several pathways related to blood sugar and fat metabolism. Specifically, these two compounds effected gene expression of sugar breakdown in the liver and fat cells. They also modulated free fatty acid and liver triglyceride levels. For my fellow biochemistry geeks, the authors discussed the mechanism as follows:

These changes were seemingly attributable to a suppression of the hepatic fatty acid synthase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, and phosphatidate phosphohydrolase activities and an increase in the fecal triglycerides. The two flavonoids also led to a decrease in the plasma and hepatic cholesterol levels that may have been partly due to the decreased hepatic 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-coenzyme (HMG-CoA) reductase and acyl CoA: cholesterol acyltransferase (ACAT) activities and increased fecal cholesterol.

The authors concluded that hesperidin and naringin could improve high blood lipids and glucose levels in type-2 diabetic rodents “by partly regulating the fatty acid and cholesterol metabolism and affecting the gene expression of glucose-regulating enzymes.” (4)

Another study investigated the effect of citrus bioflavonoids on blood glucose level, liver glucose-regulating enzymes, liver glycogen concentration, plasma insulin levels, plasma leptin, and body weight in male mice. The results indicated that hesperidin and naringin both positively impacted enzymes that regulated blood glucose in these rodents.

The authors reported, “The current results suggest that hesperidin and naringin both play important roles in preventing the progression of hyperglycemia, partly by increasing hepatic glycolysis and glycogen concentration and/or by lowering hepatic gluconeogenesis.” (5)

In addition, a study with mice either on a low fat (LF) or high fat (HF) diet alone or supplement with .5% lemon polyphenols for 12 weeks claimed, “Body weight gain, fat pad accumulation, the development of hyperlipidemia, hyperglycemia, and insulin resistance were significantly suppressed by lemon polyphenols.”

The authors reported that the lemon polyphenols significantly up-regulated the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor-a (PPARa) compared to the LF and HF groups in the liver. These nuclear receptor proteins are related to cellular differentiation, development, metabolism (carbohydrate, lipid, protein), and regulation of cellular growth. Furthermore, the lemon polyphenols modulated an enzyme related to fatty acid oxidation.

The study states, “Thus, feeding with lemon polyphenols suppressed body weight gain and body fat accumulation by increasing peroxisomal a-oxidation through up-regulation of the mRNA level of ACO in the liver and white adipose tissue, which was likely mediated via up-regulation of the mRNA levels of PPARa.” (6)

Another benefit of flavonoids is that they may also help in modulate various pathways involved in inflammation. (7, 8) This leads us to our first review of a human study.

A randomized, double-blind, controlled clinical trial with seventy-five patients who had a heart attack (myocardial infarction) were divided into two groups who either consumed a 600 mg/d pure hesperidin supplement or a placebo for 4 weeks. Inflammatory markers and adipocytocines were measured at baseline and at the end of the intervention. The hesperidin group had significant decreases in in inflammatory markers (IL-6, hs-CRP), leptin, and lipid profiles. The group also had an increase in adipoenectin, which regulates glucose and fatty acid breakdown.

The authors concluded:

Hesperidin supplementation could compensate for decreased levels of adiponectin and HDL-C and increased levels of E-selectin in patients with myocardial infarction. These results support the concept that certain flavonoids in the diet can be associated with significant health benefits, including heart health. (8)

Interestingly, in another human study with 204 participants with mildly elevated cholesterol levels who were divided into groups that received either a placebo or a daily dose of 800 mg hesperidin or 500 mg naringin, a change in cholesterol levels with the intervention was not shown. However, the study had several limitations:

  1. Bio-availability of the supplements that were prepared in the capsule where not evaluated.
  2. The role of cholesterol on health outcomes isn’t firmly established. Furthermore, the NMR panel to test for particle size, which is a better marker of cardiovascular health, (10) wasn’t done.

In another trial that tested for mechanisms of action of hespertin (the gut breakdown product of hesperidin) in vitro and in vivo, hesperetin was shown to modulate production of nitric oxide, a vasodilator, in blood vessel cells. It was also reported to reduce inflammatory processes within the bovine aortic cells. These results were confirmed in the authors’ clinical study. They reported, “In the clinical study, when compared with placebo, hesperidin treatment increased flow-mediated dilation (10.26 ± 1.19 vs. 7.78 ± 0.76%; P = 0.02) and reduced concentrations of circulating inflammatory biomarkers (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, serum amyloid A protein, soluble E-selectin).”

Summary

High flavonoid citrus fruit oils can be a powerful tool and simple addition to your wellness routine. Young Living citrus oils are safe for ingestion and my team and I ingest lemon, lime, orange, or a yummy blend, Citrus Fresh, in our water everyday. Not only may these oils be assisting with modulating biochemical pathways in metabolism and immune health, but they could also be cleaning out toxicants from our little cells as well.

for tips on how to incorporate them into your family’s everyday routine.

Note: For those on medication, grapefruit oil may affect its clearance, so check with your doctor before you sip water with this yummy oil.

**If you want to continue to learn more ways to enjoy a healthier lifestyle with essential oils, make sure you sign up for my weekly essential oils blog.

Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic, Grade A essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been AFNOR and ISO standardized or tested for purity. There is no quality control in the United States and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.

This information is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness.

(1) Brahmachari G. Opportunity, Challenge and Scope of Natural Products in Medicinal Chemistry. Bio-flavonoids with promising antidiabetic potentials: A critical survey. Research Signpost: Kerala, India. 2011: 187-212. ISBN: 978-81-308-0448-4

(2) de la Garza AL1, Etxeberria U, Lostao MP, San Román B, Barrenetxe J, Martínez JA, Milagro FI. Helichrysum and grapefruit extracts inhibit carbohydrate digestion and absorption, improving postprandial glucose levels and hyperinsulinemia in rats. J Agric Food Chem. 2013 Dec 11;61(49):12012-9. doi: 10.1021/jf4021569. Epub 2013 Nov 27.

(3) de la Garza AL1, Etxeberria U, Haslberger A, Aumueller E, Martínez JA, Milagro FI. Helichrysum and Grapefruit Extracts Boost Weight Loss in Overweight Rats Reducing Inflammation. J Med Food. 2015 Jan 19.

(8) Haidari F1, Heybar H, Jalali MT, Ahmadi Engali K, Helli B, Shirbeigi E. Hesperidin Supplementation Modulates Inflammatory Responses Following Myocardial Infarction. J Am Coll Nutr. 2015 Mar 11:1-7.

(10) Kathiresan S1, Otvos JD, Sullivan LM, Keyes MJ, Schaefer EJ, Wilson PW, D’Agostino RB, Vasan RS, Robins SJ. Increased small low-density lipoprotein particle number: a prominent feature of the metabolic syndrome in the Framingham Heart Study. Circulation. 2006 Jan 3;113(1):20-9. Epub 2005 Dec 27.

(11) Rizza S, Muniyappa R, Iantorno M, Kim JA, Chen H, Pullikotil P, et al.: Citrus polyphenol hesperidin stimulates production of nitric oxide in endothelial cells while improving endothelial function and reducing inflammatory markers in patients with metabolic syndrome. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011, 96:E782-E792.

(12) Zahra Bahadoran, Parvin Mirmiran, Fereidoun Azizi. Dietary polyphenols as potential nutraceuticals in management of diabetes: a review. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolic Disorders. 2013, 12:43 doi:10.1186/2251-6581-12-43.

Images courtesy istockphoto.com

Natural Ways to Cope with Diabetes using Essential Oils

Table of Contents

Here are some recommended ways to use these potent oils by which you can control aspects of this disease.

Cinnamon Essential Oil

Doctors regularly recommend cinnamon for diabetic relief.

While one can also use the spice, cinnamon oil is far more potent and can prove highly beneficial in maintaining your blood sugar levels.

As a result, it prevents sugar cravings, overeating, and fatigue.

There are many ways that diabetic people can use cinnamon oil in their daily lives and benefit from its natural healing properties, rather than depending solely on medications.

Aromatic application

Use cinnamon oil in a diffuser, so that you can inhale the potent and robust fragrance of this oil.

You can also dab some of it on your clothes or wrist.

Some people also inhale directly from the bottle.

Inhaling the oil helps control sugar cravings and appetite.

Topical application

When using cinnamon oil, always use it with a carrier oil, such as coconut in 1:1 ratio.

It is necessary to mix the oil before you apply it directly to your skin.

Ingestion

You can safely consume cinnamon essential oil by ingesting it.

However, only mix it in a reputed and organic oil that is free from chemicals and other toxins.

You can also take a drop of cinnamon oil every day as a dietary supplement by adding it to your food or drinks.

It is safe to use one or two drops every day to enjoy the full health benefits of cinnamon oil.

However, remember to use it with caution as it can also be an irritant if misused.

Coriander Essential Oil

fresh coriander

Coriander has been used conventionally to help treat digestive problems such as diarrhea, flatulence, anorexia and colic pain.

However, coriander or cilantro essential oil can also be used to fight this disease.

Research proves that coriander can reduce serum glucose and promote secretion of insulin in the pancreas.

Moreover, this oil also enhances insulin absorption by the cells and help lower blood sugar levels in type 2.

Here are some ways you can use coriander oil to control diabetic symptoms:

Topical use

Cinnamon and coriander essential oil are both known for their powerful ability to fight the side effects of Diabetes.

You can mix a few drops of both in a carrier oil, such as coconut, and rub it at the bottom of your feet.

Regular application will help maintain glucose levels.

Diffuser

You can add 3-4 drops in a diffuser to inhale the coriander oil and allow it to work its magic on your blood sugar.

Alternatively, you can rub a drop of oil on the palm of your hands and inhale slowly by cupping your hands around your mouth.

Ingestion

Consuming one or two drops of coriander essential oil after large meals can help in digestion.

You can also rub the oil on your stomach to charge up your digestive system.

Massage oil

You can bust stress, one of the most significant causes of diabetes, by making a concoction of essential oils – two cups Epsom salts, ten drops each of coriander and lavender oil – and massage on your skin.

It will not only soothe your muscles but also regulate the blood glucose levels to a healthy low.

Coriander essential oil is very useful in the treatment of digestive disorders and diabetic symptoms.

However, consult your physician before use if you are pregnant or a nursing mother.

Clove Essential Oil

Cloves are obtained from flower sprout of a tropical evergreen tree.

Research says that patients who are suffering from the condition can benefit from clove’s glucose-lowering properties.

Clove oil works wonders when it comes to blood purification and controlling blood sugar levels.

The phenol concentration found in clove oil helps regulate insulin and response of glucose in the body.

In addition to that, when it clove is consumed as a supplement, it can also balance the insulin levels.

Type 2 patients can benefit significantly from clove oil as it also helps reduce cholesterol levels and glucose levels in the body.

Here are some tips to use clove oil:

Aromatherapy

Clove oil blends well with many essential oils, including cinnamon oil that is known for its positive impact on mitigating symptoms.

You can use the blend of two for aromatherapy sessions or put it in a diffuser for inhalation.

Culinary

Clove is not only known for its medicinal properties but also for its use as a flavoring agent.

You can use a few drops of oil in your food or salad for the extra flavor and enjoy the beneficial effects it has on your blood sugar levels.

Massage

Clove oil contains eugenol which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, proven favorable for the treatment of numbness in the hands and feet of diabetic patients due to oxidative stress.

Massaging this oil can be beneficial in relieving some of that discomfort.

Clove oil blends well with many oils, making its application easier in your day to day lives.

However, it is important to note that this oil is very sharp and potent.

It must always be diluted before use. Its potency is why it is recommended to check with a medical practitioner regarding proper dosage.

Melissa Essential Oil

Some herbs and essential oils are naturally anti-diabetic.

Melissa essential oil, just like cinnamon, has organic properties such as hypoglycemic and anti-diabetic agents.

A study conducted six years ago showed visible results in mice that were administered Melissa essential oil for six weeks.

Their blood glucose levels reduced significantly, and they also showed signs of improved tolerance for glucose.

When tested, the control group of mice also displayed much higher serum insulin levels.

Together, all these aspects help in inhibiting common symptoms.

For someone who is battling with blood sugar discrepancy, just a minute quantity of Melissa essential oil may make a difference in their diabetic symptoms and digestive health.

Here are some tips to use Melissa essential oil for treatment of this condition.

Diffuser

You can either inhale Melissa oil directly from the bottle or add it to a diffuser.

Small quantities are enough to regulate glucose levels.

Topical application

You can also use a drop of oil on your hands, wrist or behind the ears for the treatment of depression and anxiety.

Stress is one of the leading causes of diabetes and its treatment at the root level can prevent it from culminating into one of many dangerous conditions.

Ingestion

Dilute a few drops, and then ingest to trigger the digestive properties of this oil.

It is also beneficial in promoting healthy glucose balance in your body.

Essential oils are highly concentrated.

Misuse can just as easily wreak havoc on your system.

Often, the difference between a medicine and a poison is in the dose.

It is advisable to work closely with your doctor, and only use the recommended dosage and high-quality oils for best results.

Natural Ways of Treatment

While diabetes is bad news, it isn’t all bad.

Type 2, the most common form, can be dramatically reduced by making lifestyle changes.

Let us explore some ways to reverse the condition naturally.

Control the insulin

As soon as your body displays resistance to insulin, you become susceptible.

It is crucial to regain your insulin sensitivity before the problem becomes untamable.

For starters, you will have to limit the consumption of grains, sugars, and processed carbs.

Realigning your focus on healthy eating will go a long way in controlling not only diabetes but also other ailments.

Eat fat

This is the last thing you expect to see in an article that preaches healthy eating.

However, fat has been demonized for all the wrong reasons.

The idea is to eat good fats such as Omega-3s. Most foods that you buy off the shelf contain Omega-6 fats, the main component that causes diabetes.

Limit your sources of omega-6 oils, and get your source of fats from fish like salmon and sardines.

Fix your diet

Start by eliminating toxic foods and refined grains.

Find ways to consume probiotics to let your intestines heal from the years of damage inflicted by poor nutrition.

Get moving

Exercise is crucial for your body. Introduce a regular exercising routine to your daily life.

Train your body to do small bursts of high-intensity exercise to have beneficial effects on insulin levels.

Following a healthy diet, a regular exercising routine is a perfect recipe for a long and healthy life.

You will be not only able to overcome this disease but also many other illnesses caused due to poor lifestyle.

It is disheartening to see how diabetes has become one of the most common illnesses these days.

With an estimated 10% population, and counting, diagnosed with the chronic condition, it is a clear sign that we must be doing something wrong.

It is not only disturbingly widespread; it is also potentially terminal.

However, studies and pervasive research suggest that we can manage Diabetes, and sometimes uproot it with a change in diet and lifestyle.

One of the most advocated methods to control and manage this disease is by using essential oils that can improve overall digestion and regulate body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Essential oils have been used around the world for thousands of years for a reason.

They can treat anything from cuts and scrapes to anxiety disorders.

Today, these oils are becoming a natural and affordable supplemental solution to expensive medicines.

Often, they can even be the primary solution.

In Conclusion

Natural remedies such as essential oils, lifestyle changes, and dietary adjustments are all beneficial in mitigating the effects, but never modify your medications without seeking guidance from your physician.

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Diabetes is close to my heart and unfortunately, my own home. Most of my family is diabetic and I received my own diabetes diagnosis around a year ago. While it can be treated conventionally, that wasn’t a route I wanted to go unless I absolutely had to. I don’t like chemicals and I don’t like conventional medications if I can avoid it. My body doesn’t react to them the way that most people do so taking a conventional treatment can actually do me more harm than good. When I first found out I was diabetic, I made a deal with my husband. I could try natural treatments for diabetes first and only if they failed would I go on more conventional diabetes treatments like medicine or insulin. I can be rather crunchy at times and I’m well aware of the benefits of essential oils so the first thing that I did was look up the different essential oils for diabetes to help harness nature in helping my body to heal.

My father was just 54 years old when he died from complications related to a diabetic ulcer. If you aren’t sure what that is, it is basically an open wound that won’t heal. The ulcer got gangrene and as a result, his entire body turned septic. As a result, he passed from a heart attack ten years ago. I’d love to tell you that he did everything that he could to manage his diabetes, but the truth is that he didn’t. I have vivid memories of watching him eat sweets and other sugar filled foods day in and day out. When I received my diagnosis, I realized that in this area, I didn’t want to be like my Dad. I wanted to live past my fifties. I want to be around to watch my child and grandchildren grow. I wasn’t only dealing with diabetes though. I was also dealing with chronic pain and a small truckload of health issues. It was that realization though that led me to looking for natural pain relief and natural diabetes treatments.

18 Essential Oils for Diabetes

If you’ve got diabetes, these oils won’t cure it. There is no known cure for diabetes. What they can do is help manage your blood sugars and other symptoms that come along with being diabetic. Some will be able to help regulate blood sugar while others will deal with more specific symptoms such as diabetic neuropathy (pain). You’ll need to do some research to find the oil or oils that will work best for you specifically. Since you’re looking for natural diabetes treatments, you may also want to take a look at a few home remedies for high blood pressure too. A lot of them go hand and hand together.

When using essential oils for diabetes, make sure that you’re only using 100% pure essential oil and just ignore any “therapeutic grade” wording. There are no federal standards in the US for essential oils which means that anyone and everyone can slap the words therapeutic grade on a bottle of essential oil no matter what is in it or what the oil is cut with. For my own natural diabetes treatments, I use Plant Therapy essential oils. They’re budget friendly and the selection that they have is wide enough that I can treat almost anything we have going on or make my own homemade cleaner recipes without having to search forever for one specific oil. They’re also 100% pure oils which means that they aren’t cut with any kind of carrier oil before they get to me.

You can use these essential oils for diabetes in a couple of different ways. First, you can pick up an essential oil diffuser and diffuse them through the air in your home. This has the added benefit of helping your home to smell amazing and letting others in your home get the benefit of the oils too. If that doesn’t work for you, you can mix them with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil in an essential oil roller bottle to directly on your skin as a massage oil. Coconut oil also makes a fantastic carrier oil and actually has fantastic benefits for diabetics too.

As always, we are not doctors here at Six Dollar Family. Make sure you speak with your regular doctor before starting any kind of treatment; natural or not. This is especially important if you’re on conventional medication since some oils can affect how your medicines are absorbed or may interact with them in a way that isn’t good.

Natural Diabetes Treatments

Cinnamon essential oil –

Cinnamon is well known to have quite a few health benefits, but it can be especially helpful when used as an essential oil to help diabetes. There is significant research available to show that cinnamon can help reduce blood sugars, lower cholesterol and more. Cinnamon essential oil is best used in cooking, but it can be mixed with a carrier oil and applied to the skin or inhaled from a diffuser as well. Since cinnamon is a very hot oil (meaning it can burn your skin), don’t apply it directly to your skin without a carrier oil.

Clove essential oil –

Clove is a spice that comes from the flower bud of an evergreen tree that originated in Asia and has been used for its medicinal purposes for hundreds, if not thousands of years. It has quite a few benefits including fighting acne, toothaches and more, but it can also help to stabilize blood sugars. If you’re taking an anticoagulant, using Clove essential oil topically may not be a good idea since it can cause bad irritation. Clove is best taken internally so you can either cook or bake with it or you can add it to a vegetable capsule and take it as a supplement. If you do decide to use it as a massage oil or in a roller ball, make absolutely certain to dilute it.

Coriander oil

Coriander essential oil is derived from the seed of a plant that is similar to parsley and originates in Western Asia or the Eastern Mediterranean regions. It is one of the oldest spices known to man and is widely used for medicinal reasons. It has a lot of benefits including treating digestive problems and helping with colic in little ones, but as one of the essential oils for diabetes, it works to help your pancreas secrete insulin the way that it should. There is also some evidence that it exhibits insulin like activity at the cellular level which helps to control your diabetes even more. For best using coriander, mix it with a carrier oil and any other essential oils you want to use in a roller ball to create an essential oil blend.

Myrrh oil

As evidenced by the Bible story of Christ’s birth, Myrrh has been used for thousands of years. In modern times, it is used to support the immune system and has great antioxidant properties. Those antioxidant properties make it one of the best essential oils for diabetes that you’ll find. Aside from that it can also help to control blood sugar levels. Myrrh essential oil can be used in a diffuser, as a topical blend or in cooking if it is food grade.

Ocotea essential oil

Ocotea essential oil is made from the Ecuadorian tree, has many different health benefits and is similar to cinnamon. When consumed as a tea it has been shown to greatly help balance blood sugars. It can be inhaled through a diffuser or applied topically as well though. It is considered a hot oil so don’t apply it to your skin without using a carrier oil.

Lemon essential oil

Lemon oil is fantastic in homemade cleaner recipes like my homemade all-purpose cleaner, for ringing ears and the common cold, but it’s also great for diabetics. Diabetes often comes with high stress and tension which can lead to other health issues like high blood pressure or heart problems. Because lemon essential oil is considered detoxifying, antiseptic, and a disinfectant, it makes it fantastic for cleaning and for use as a home remedy not only for diabetes, but also a home remedy for the flu. High blood sugars can also cause depression. Lemon oil can help reduce that stress and treat any depression that comes with out of control blood sugars. Lemon essential oil is best when taken in a veggie capsule or added to water since applying it to your skin can increase your risk of sunburn.

Vetiver Essential Oil

Vetiver essential oil is a soothing oil which makes it great for diabetics to use as a muscle relaxant. Mix it with a carrier oil and massage into sore and painful muscles. This is great for diabetics who suffer from foot pain or other forms of neuropathy. To use for a calming effect, diffuse Vetiver oil into the air. Vetiver oil should not be used at all by pregnant women.

Clary Sage essential oil

Just a heads up before we go into the benefits of Clary Sage essential oil. It should not be used by pregnant women. I can cause softening of the uterus which in turn could cause miscarriage. For diabetics, clary sage oil can be used to help prevent renal disorders. In short, you can use it to help take care of your kidneys which is a huge must-do for diabetics.

Thyme essential oil –

Yes, the same thyme that you cook with is a fantastic natural diabetes treatment. Thyme essential oil can be helpful in preventing things like psoriasis, heart disease or bronchitis which a diabetic is prone to. Thyme essential oil isn’t recommended for kids, pregnant women or people with high blood pressure. It can be taken internally in a veggie capsule, used for cooking, or mixed with a carrier oil and applied topically. If you’re going to cook with it, make sure you don’t use as much as you normally would with the dry spice. Essential oils are extremely potent so it will quickly overpower your food if you use too much.

Ylang Ylang essential oil –

Ylang Ylang essential oil can be both calming and stimulating to your mind so it is very useful for diabetics who might be dealing with stress or anger due to high blood sugars. It can also help with circulation when it is diffused which makes it great for anyone who is having circulation issues or high blood pressure issues. You can also apply it topically with a carrier oil. The backs of the wrist or neck is usually best.

Cypress Oil –

Speaking of circulation issues, Cypress essential oil is another great one for fighting them. It is probably the best essential oil for circulation issues that you could find and it will also help with any cardiovascular issues. Diffuse it or mix with a carrier oil to apply topically.

Fenugreek Oil –

Fenugreek is fantastic for diabetics whether in fenugreek oil form or in the form of a fenugreek supplement. I actually take fenugreek myself twice a day. It helps to increase insulin sensitivity in the body meaning it can help to regulate your blood sugar. It can also help to keep your energy levels high which is important for a diabetic who is too sleep because their sugar is too high.

Black Pepper Oil –

Black Pepper Essential Oil is great for a lot of things including help to stop smoking but it is especially helpful when used as part of an essential oils for diabetes treatment plan. It can actually help to treat the disease and some studies have shown that it may even prevent it. It helps to naturally restrain two of the enzymes that are responsible for breaking starches down into glucose which helps to regulate your blood sugar as well as slows down how quickly your body absorbs sugar.

Eucalyptus Oil –

Eucalyptus is great for more than helping to open up your airways when you have a cold. It can also do things like cure receding gums, break a fever, stop an asthma attack and increase circulation. There is also some research that Eucalyptus essential oil can also actually lower blood sugar. One thing to watch with it though is lowering your blood sugar too much if you’re already taking medications to lower it.

Frankincense essential oil –

Frankincense is one of my favorite natural diabetes treatments and essential oils for diabetes for a couple of reasons. It is fantastic for pain relief, helps to build your immune system, can improve digestion, help reduce stress and can even help your body absorb nutrients that it needs easier. For a diabetic, all of these are incredibly important. Frankincense essential oil can be diffused or applied topically with a carrier oil. I like to make a blend of lavender oil and frankincense and use it daily to help keep my body working the way that it should.

Tea Tree Oil –

One of the things that a diabetic is especially prone to is slow healing wounds. If you remember from the beginning of this post, that is actually what slowly killed my father. Tea tree essential oil is antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, and antiviral which makes it the perfect natural diabetes treatment for those slow healing wounds and a whole slew of other benefits. You can apply it around any wounds that you have or do like I usually do. Apply a bit of a tea tree oil, four thieves oil and lavender lend to your bandage and cover your wound like normal. Tea tree is considered a hot oil so before you apply it topically be absolutely certain that you mix it with a carrier oil. If you have a first aid kit with essential oils, tea tree is one of the ones that you definitely want to have included.

Grapefruit Essential Oil –

Another citrus oil, grapefruit essential oil is great for diabetics who may need to lose weight to control their diabetes. Research has shown that it can function as an appetite suppressive which can help you to eat less. It can also benefit the kidneys since it helps to flush toxins, calcium and other uric deposits from them. For a diabetic, this kidney protection is invaluable. Finally, it can function as an antidepressant. For someone who is dealing with high blood sugar, depression can be one of the very first symptoms that occurs.

Lavender Essential Oil –

Finally, lavender essential oil is a great natural diabetes treatment. In fact, if I could only pick one essential oil to treat diabetes with, it would be lavender. In my opinion, lavender is a super oil since it has so many different benefits. It can help with pain relief, aid in digestion, assist circulation, help your kidneys to function better, treat depression, migraines, boost your immune system, help you sleep better and more. It is a mild oil and can be applied topically without too much worry about irritation. (Although it is always best to err on the side of caution with essential oils). Diffusing it into the air can also have huge benefits too.

While most of these essential oils for diabetes won’t cure your blood sugar issues, they can help treat the symptoms and make your life a little easier. Talk to your doctor and give them a try. You really have nothing to lose, but you will gain better health.

essential-oils-for-diabetes

For those living with diabetes, aromatherapy or the use of essential oils can directly improve quality of life and help relieve their symptoms. Aromatherapy has often been relegated to the same category of medicine as crystal healing and reiki massage. “New Age” stores with chime music playing and incense burning in all four corners always seem to feature a display of essential oils by the cash register. However even though some vendors may make claims of essential oils that they can’t follow through on, medical research has proven that some oils can have genuine therapeutic value, both in terms of relieving stress and lowering blood pressure through aromatherapy, and also via physical means such as wound care and improving circulation.

What is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to effect changes in your body, whether physical or emotional. An essential oil is basically a plant extract. The volatile compounds of various herbs, roots, and other plant material are extracted via pressing, heat processing, and other methods, and then mixed with what is called a carrier oil, a neutral oil such as jojoba oil, to allow it to be used in a targeted way. There are hundreds of plant species which have been recognized in various cultures and time periods to be helpful with any number of ailments.

The use of, and various methods of extraction for, essential oils is thought to originate with Ibn al-Baitar, a Muslim physician and chemist who lived in Spain in the late 12th and early 13th century.

The term aromatherapy was coined by a French perfumer in 1937. Rene-Maurice Gattefosse may not have been the first to recognize the potential healing benefit of scent, and the oils that those scents come from, but he was one of the first, and most famous, to codify that information into a resource that others could use to help in their own lives. His book “Gattefosse’s Aromatherapy” was a clinical examination of the potential medical properties of various scent oils that he was using to make his perfumes.

Recreational vs Clinical Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has the potential to be used in number of settings, and for a variety of effects. The simple use of scent to lift mood or create a certain atmosphere can be considered recreational aromatherapy.

Clinical aromatherapy, on the other hand, is a practice in alternative medicine which uses specific essential oils to effect certain changes in the body. The concentrations of oils used in a clinical or therapeutic setting may be higher, and certain oils may be applied to the skin or ingested for particular effect.

Any aromatherapy intended for therapeutic use should be done only after consulting a medical professional or practitioner to ensure that you are doing so in a safe and efficient manner.

Aromatherapy and Essential Oils in Medicine

When it comes to aromatherapy, essential oils can be used in a number of ways. The first is directly, with the chemical properties that the oils of various plants have. Depending on the plant, these oils may help accelerate healing, promote circulation, decrease blood pressure, and ease pain in a variety of ways.

Another way is to use the scent of the essential oil to have either a psychological or physiological effect on the body. Although a particular scent may not have a verified therapeutic effect on the body, when it comes to health the mind is as much a part of the whole picture. Certain scents are known to be soothing, to encourage alertness, or even to affect the mood to help combat depression.

Benefits of Direct Aromatherapy for Diabetes

When using aromatherapy for diabetes, there are a number of different direct techniques that can be utilized to different effects.

  • Internal Use of Essential Oils for Diabetes

Ingestion is the most direct, and there is some medical research supporting the use of oils such as cinnamon, rosehip, cumin, and fenugreek to help manage weight and blood pressure, two of the big ongoing health concerns for those living with diabetes. When ingested, the oils should never be taken on their own, and not in full concentration, but instead diluted in oil or another medium and consumed that way. However, many doctors do not recommend the long term oral use of essential oils, because their effects over time have not been studied.

  • External Use of Essential Oils for Diabetes

Another, and by some accounts safer, way that essential oils can be directly applied to help with diabetes symptoms is via the skin. Dry brushing, a technique of rubbing or brushing the skin gently with brushes or loofahs, is often used in conjunction with oils such as cinnamon and peppermint in order to improve circulation. Lavender and cypress are also used for this purpose.

Improving circulation is especially important for those living with diabetes, as reduced vascular health, especially in the extremities, can be one of the most debilitating long term symptoms. The massaging action of the dry brushing technique helps to boost blood circulation to the skin, and the oils used during the massage are then absorbed and carried throughout the body, where they may act directly on the circulatory system to open pathways and improve circulation.

Additionally, essential oils can be used for wound care, when diluted, applied to gauze and then to open sores or slow healing wounds. Ulcers that won’t heal are a common and dangerous symptom of long term diabetes, and the longer any wound is open, the higher the risk of infection, which can possibly become life threatening.

Essential oils can be used to help keep open wounds from becoming infected if other modern antibiotics or topical antibacterial agents are not being used, for whatever reason. Thymol, a compound found in common thyme essential oil, is an antiseptic still used today in mouthwashes such as Listerine.

When using essential oils in this way, it’s important to dilute them with a carrier oil, such as jojoba or olive oil. The accepted proportion for this method is 1 oz of carrier oil to every 12 drops of essential oil. The target concentration for this mixture is 1%-5%. Otherwise, the essential oil may trigger a reaction in the skin that can lead to hives or other skin irritation.

Benefits of Indirect Aromatherapy for Diabetes

The first and most obvious application of indirect aromatherapy (not applied to the skin or ingested) for those living with diabetes is to assist with managing stress and other emotional and mental symptoms. Scent has been backed with solid scientific evidence as an effective way to manage mood, and it may even be able to encourage the mind into more dramatic changes, such as decreasing blood pressure or improving memory.

The reasoning behind the more dramatic effects of aromatherapy can be traced back to the fact that in the human brain, the olfactory apparatus, the sensory organ responsible for interpreting scent, and the limbic system, a complex part of the brain which, among other things, regulates emotions and behavior, are located next to each other.

Proponents of aromatherapy suggest that strong, or specifically targeted, scents can trigger specific reactions in the nearby limbic system, thus changing someone’s emotional state, allowing them to process stress more efficiently, or even helping them manage their blood pressure through the use of biofeedback.

Aromatherapy is done by atomizing or otherwise aerosolizing essential oils and then breathing in the vapor or scent to gain the health benefits. This can be done in a number of ways, including using an aromatherapy atomizer, by adding essential oils to a humidifier or other steam device, or even simply by adding essential oils to a hot bath or using them in a shower.

Aromatherapy and Diabetes

For those with diabetes, managing stress can be vital to overall health, since blood pressure has been proven to have links to a person’s emotional state. A number of essential oils are used for this purpose, including neroli, rose, and lavender oils.

What are the drawbacks of aromatherapy for diabetics?

Whether using essential oils to target stress or as a method for improving circulation or moderating cholesterol, there are some health concerns to be aware of.

  • Skin Irritation

Firstly, as mentioned, when applied directly to the skin, essential oils have the potential to trigger a reaction in the skin, especially if they are high in aldehydes or phenols.

Cinnamon oil is one of the primary culprits in skin irritation through aromatherapy, which is troublesome since cinnamon is also one of the primary oils used to boost circulation for diabetic patients. Diabetics who are using the oil for this purpose should consult with their physician and ensure that they have the correct concentration before proceeding with use to avoid potential skin irritation.

  • Potential Blood Sugar Increase

Although there is not a huge body of research supporting this finding, there is some research that indicates that Rosemary (Rosmarinum officinalis) essential oil may act to increase blood sugar levels. The research in question was a single study performed on rabbits with “artificially induced diabetes”, but even though the research has not been verified in humans, it would be wise to avoid using rosemary essential oil as a diabetic. As always, you should consult with your physician or doctor if you have any questions about the health effects of any essential oils you may be using.

Best Essential Oils for diabetes use and Why
Cinnamon Lowers cholestroal, triglycerides and glucose levels. Further improves insulin functions
Clove Balances insulin levels, lowers glucose levels
Eucalyptus Reduces swelling and puffiness. To be consumed in small amounts in food
Grapefruit Prevents water retention and bloating. It also helps dissolve fat fast
Geranium Is very useful for nerve pain.

Aromatherapy and Diabetes in the Future

Though medical science is still in the process of verifying some of the therapeutic qualities of aromatherapy, interest in alternative medicine all but guarantees that in the coming years, more research will be done, potentially leading to new information and new ways to use aromatherapy to help you manage your diabetes.

For those with diabetes, adding aromatherapy using essential oils to their self-care routine can provide an extra boost to mood and everyday quality of life. Whether you are using ginseng to improve circulation, lavender to help you sleep, or eucalyptus to help speed healing, discussing essential oils with your doctor and finding ways to add them to your daily routine can be a low-cost and low-impact way to keep you on the path to good health and a long life.

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Last Updated: Wednesday, March 28, 2018 Last Reviewed: Wednesday, March 28, 2018

7 Essential Oils For Diabetes

Chemical Composition and Hypoglycemic and Pancreas-Protective Effect of Leaf Essential Oil from Indigenous Cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum Kanehira) – http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf401039z

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) seed oil improves plasma lipid profile in rats fed a diet containing cholesterol –

Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on glucose– insulin metabolism in diabetic and hypertensive rats: a pilot study – http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1463-1326.2004.00386.x/full

Chemical analysis and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Syzigium aromaticum (clove) – http://www.academicjournals.org/journal/AJMR/article-abstract/65E9D0911274

Effects of Artemisia pallens Wall. on blood glucose levels in normal and alloxan-induced diabetic rats – http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0378874195013296?via%3Dihub

Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) essential oil on glucose- and lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice – https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/S0007114510001765

Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats – https://lipidworld.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1476-511X-12-189

Effect of Nigella sativa seeds on the glycemic control of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21675032

Long-term effects of Nigella sativa L. oil on some physiological parameters in normal and streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats – http://file.scirp.org/Html/3-4300017_7092.htm

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils (extracted from plants and concentrated) to improve the condition of the mind or body.

Whilst aromatherapy has shown evidence of reducing anxiety, stress and depression, controlled studies indicate that the benefits are likely a placebo effect.

Whilst there is little hard evidence that aromatherapy is an effective clinical therapy, it may help you relax and improve your general well-being.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy has a long history dating back to the Greeks and the Egyptians, but its renaissance occurred in France in the 1940s, when French chemist Rene-Maurice Gattefosse used lavender to help cure a burn he had suffered.

Essentials oils can be used with massage, compresses, in baths or by inhaling.

Aromatherapy has been used clinically to reduce anxiety in areas of palliative care, rehabilitation after major heart disease events and in mental health.

It’s use in clinical settings is somewhat controversial as its effectiveness is yet to be established by well-run research.

Benefits of using aromatherapy to treat diabetes

The main clinical use of aromatherapy is in reducing anxiety Research studies has shown effectiveness in reducing anxiety. However, typically when placebo controlled trials have been undertake, no significant differences have been observed.

There is therefore a case to be made that if either aromatherapy or a placebo is effectively used, then this may benefit some people in clinical settings.

Depression

Whilst there are research studies that demonstrate benefits of aromatherapy in improving symptoms of depression, there is currently a lack of well-run controlled studies in this area.

Wound healing

Another purported benefit of aromatherapy is wound healing. Whilst some oils, such as tea tree oil, have antibacterial properties, research into wound healing properties have been inconclusive.

Foot wounds in particular present a high risk of danger for people with diabetes and it is therefore important that any foot wound is treated by a healthcare professional.

It is not recommended to rely on aromatherapy as this method has not been proved to be effective in people with diabetes.

Side effects

Side effects may exist depending on which type of oil is used for which purpose.

Some people may experience allergic reactions to contact with certain essentials oils. Essential oils may also interact with some drugs

Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 30 million people in the United States have diabetes. Of those that have diabetes, 1 in 4 aren’t even aware that they have this life-threatening disease.

The statistics on the CDC’s site are alarming and indicative of a growing diabetes epidemic in the United States and throughout the world.

It’s no wonder that a number of diabetics and pre-diabetics are frightened, discouraged and outraged and are considering holistic aromatherapy as a possibility.

As with all content on AromaWeb, the information provided on this page is for informational use only. It is not intended to replace appropriate medical care. All use of essential oils should be done under the consent of a qualitified medical professional knowledgable about essential oil usage.

Are There Holistic Aromatherapy Practices That May Be Beneficial to Pre-Diabetic and Diabetic Individuals?

Although there are no studies available to me that reliably indicate that essential oils directly impact blood sugar levels when used externally in ratios generally regarded as safe (see below for more on that), there are a number of holistic aromatherapy practices that may possibly benefit diabetics if implemented safely and appropriately.

Calming Essential Oils May Help Reduce the Stress that Can Raise Blood Glucose Levels

A number of Web sites, books and diabetics report that blood glucose levels can increase in diabetics when their stress level rises. The following blends may possibly help diabetics to de-stress:

  • Anger Reducing Blends
  • Anxiety Relieving Blends
  • Calming/Relaxing Blend
  • Happiness and Peace Enhancing Blends
  • Panic and Panic Attack Blends
  • Stress Reducing Blends

Energizing and Uplifting Essential Oils May Help Diabetics Who Incorporate Regular Fitness to Help Control Blood Glucose Levels

It is a misconception to believe that all diabetics are overweight or obese, or that obesity causes diabetes. However, weight loss and exercise are often encouraged as a method to help manage blood glucose levels.

Although essential oils do not directly promote weight loss, they can be uplifting and help provide the emotional support needed to maintain the energy and motivation for weight loss and ongoing fitness.

  • Aromatherapy and Weight Loss
  • Aromatherapy Recipes to Help Energize and Stay Alert

Please Note: Both of the links shown above suggest Rosemary Essential Oil. There is a remote chance that Rosemary Essential Oil could be contraindicated with those that have diabetes (see below).

Are There Essential Oils That May Be Harmful to Diabetics?

Diabetics and anyone without advanced training in aromatherapy should refrain from any internal use of essential oils without being under the direct care of a qualified aromatherapy or holistic practitioner.

Jane Buckle cited a study in which Rosemary Essential Oil, specifically Rosmarinum officinalis, caused a rise in blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) in rabbits “with artificially induced diabetes.” Buckle cites this as the source: Al-Hander A, Hasan Z. 1994. Hyperglycemic and insulin release inhibitory effects of Rosmarinus officinalis. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 43(3) 217-211. Source: Jane Buckle, Clinical Aromatherapy: Essential Oils in Practice (Philadelphia, PA: Churchill Livingstone, 2003), 300-301.

Are There Particular Essential Oils that May Help Stabilize Blood Glucose Levels?

Very little research or trustworthy anecdotal evidence is available regarding specific essential oils that may help to stabilize blood glucose levels.

Books and Forums About Diabetes

Here are two diabetes forums that are considered to be very helpful for support:

  • DiabetesForums.com
  • DiabetesDaily.com

While there are no reputable books (to my knowledge) that specifically cover holistic aromatherapy for diabetics, the two books mentioned below come highly recommended for understanding diabetes and managing blood glucose levels.

Blood Sugar 101: What They Don’t Tell You About Diabetes

Author: Jenny Ruhl
ISBN: 0964711613 / 978-0964711617
Summary: Normally I’m not a fan of books that have hyped-up names, but this book is an exception. In taking a good look at this book, it is written by diabetic that has conducted extensive research into diabetes. She shares that research and her experiences as a Type II diabetic who has achieved excellent control of her blood glucose levels. It’s very enlightening and comes highly recommended.

The First Year: Type 2 Diabetes: An Essential Guide for the Newly Diagnosed

Author: Gretchen Becker
ISBN: 1569242658 / 978-1569242650
Summary: “A patient-expert walks you through everything you need to learn and do.”

Disclosure: If you click on one of the below Amazon links and make a purchase, AromaWeb will earn a small commission (thank you!).

If you are a diabetic and are looking to control your diabetes, then my essential oils to lower blood sugar review may help you accomplish that. Essential oils are extremely beneficial and I am going to present 7 essential oils that can help you in your quest to control your blood sugars and at the end I will review my choice for top diffuser.

Quick Review of Essential Oils to Lower Blood Sugar

  • Product #1: Cassia Cinnamon Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Features:

  • 100% Pure Cinnamon Cassia Essential Oil
  • Supports a Healthy Immune System
  • Easy to Use
  • High Quality at an Affordable Price
  • Pleasant Aroma
  • Small Amount Goes the Distance
  • The Smell of Cassia Cinnamon may curb blood sugar by lowering insulin resistance.

Verified Amazon Customer Reviews

There were 874 customer reviews at the writing of this review. 71% of the reviewers were 4 & 5 star reviews.

You can see all the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #2: Organic Coriander Seed Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches ; 1.76 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

  • Supports Digestion & Sleep
  • Peppery Fruity Scent
  • Safe for Acne-Prone Skin
  • Coriander seeds have been shown to reduce the blood sugar levels in diabetics
  • Coriander seeds also help improve digestion, which additionally aids in keeping your blood glucose levels stable

At the time of writing this review, there were 58 customer reviews. 91% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #3: Organic Lavender Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches ; 0.16 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • High Quality Affordable Essential Oils
  • Certified Aromatherapists on Staff to Answer Questions
  • All- Around Fantastic Essential Oil
  • Research has found that lavender essential oil helps to control high blood glucose levels & also protect against oxidative stress which affects diabetics

While this review is being written, there were currently 2,477 customer reviews. 91% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 stars.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #4: Organic Black Pepper Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars
  • Relieve Digestive Upset
  • 100% Pure Black Pepper Essential Oil
  • Easy to Use
  • A Must-Have Essential Oil
  • Recent Studies about the Black Pepper Essential Oil may help to Control & Manage or Even Prevent Type 2 Diabetes Because of the Antioxidants that Block Specific Enzymes Responsible for Diabetes

At the time of this writing there were 127 reviews. 93% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #5: Peppermint Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches ; 0.16 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.7 out of 5 stars
  • High-Quality Affordable Essential Oils
  • Nurture your Spirit
  • Certified Aromatherapists on Staff to Answer Questions
  • 100% Pure & Organic
  • Studies Show that Peppermint may help to lower blood sugar, but at the Same Time Increasing the Risk of Low Blood Sugar (use with caution)

At the time of this review there were 861 reviews. 91% of reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #6: Organic Ginger Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.4 out of 5 stars
  • 100% Certified Pure Zingiber Officinale
  • Certified Aromatherapists on Staff to Answer Questions
  • High-Quality Affordable Essential Oils
  • Warming Oil Provides Digestive Support
  • Tests were Done over Years that Showed that Ginger Helps Regulate Insulin Response & Lower Blood Glucose Levels

At the time of writing this review there were 343 customer reviews. 83% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product #7: Ylang-ylang Essential Oil
  • Product Dimensions:0.9 x 0.9 x 2.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.3 out of 5 stars
  • 100% Pure Ylang Ylang Complete Essential Oil
  • Certified Aromatherapists on Staff to Answer Questions
  • High-Quality Affordable Essential Oils
  • Transports you to a Tropical Paradise
  • Good for Diabetics with Mood Swings & has a Positive Effect on Blood Pressure & Blood Circulation which are Problematic for Diabetics

At the time of writing this review there were 692 customer reviews. 81% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

  • Product: Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser by UrPower
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 6.6 x 4.8 inches ; 0.16 ounces
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.6 out of 5 stars
  • LED mood lighting with separate on/off control
  • Auto shut-off when water runs out for safety
  • Runs continuously or on an automatic shutoff timer(60/180/360 mins)
  • Natural design and materials
  • Operates approximately 10 hours on one filling
  • Modes:continuous mist,1H/3H/6H pattern,lights only and mist only
  • Operates up to 10 hours on a full tank of water
  • Ideal for large and small rooms, including bedrooms, offices, dorms and hotel rooms

At the time of writing this review there were 3,886 customer reviews. 89% of the reviewers were 4 or 5 star reviews.

You can see all of the customer reviews by clicking here.

I hope in my essential oils to lower blood sugar review that I’ve helped you with the best essential oils that can help you with your health and your blood sugars. Please do not take these internally! Check with your doctor first because he or she will advise you not to either. Your oils should be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil.

According to healthline.com: When diluting essential oils with a carrier oil, it’s important to follow these dilution guidelines. For adults: 2.5 percent dilution: 15 drops essential oil per 6 teaspoons carrier oil. 3 percent dilution: 20 drops essential oil per 6 teaspoons carrier oil.

Organic Black Pepper Essential Oil

$11.95 9.5

100% Pure Black Pepper Essential Oil

9.5/10

Relieve Digestive Upset

9.6/10

Multiple Rounds of Testing

9.3/10

Pros

  • Easy to Use
  • May help to Control & Manage or Even Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
  • High Quality Product at an Affordable Price

Cons

  • May not work for everyone

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