Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects many people in the United States, and many more around the globe. The disease is usually treated medically but as yet, there is no cure for it.
Some research suggests that there may be some essential oils that can be safely added to a diabetes care plan with great results.
Essential oils and diabetes
Essential oils are concentrated versions of certain compounds that are found in plant matter.
A simple example of essential oils can be found in the peel of citrus fruits. Peeling an orange releases the essential oil from the peel, causing the fresh orange scent to spread into the air.
Some of the oldest known civilizations used essential oils in one form or another. Compounds isolated from essential oils have been used to make many western medications. Many of the compounds in essential oils can be readily used by the body.
By pairing these effects with the symptoms people are looking to help treat, essential oils can be used to help with many diabetes symptoms.
A recent study on rats shows that coriander seed essential oil may help in the fight against diabetes as well. An extract from coriander seed was found to reduce the blood sugar levels in test subjects.
Researchers noted that the beta cells in the pancreas were more active. This helps to increase insulin levels while reducing blood sugar.
In many cases, coriander essential oil may help the body increase insulin levels naturally.
Lemon balm essential oil is a lesser known oil, but new research may soon change its profile. A study found that the essential oil from lemon balm helped to consume sugar it came into contact with.
This test was carried out in a lab, not with humans, but it does highlight a possibility that the oil may be beneficial for blood sugar levels when used in a diffuser or applied to the skin.
Another study on animals found that clove bud essential oil might play a role in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes. The research found that using clove oil reduced levels of certain enzymes in the pancreas that are believed to be linked to diabetes.
The study also noted that the oil might be helpful in managing or preventing diabetes caused by oxidative stress. This occurs when the body does not produce enough antioxidants to battle the free radicals (unstable molecules) that cause damage to cells throughout the body.
Black seed, or Nigella sativa, has been used in traditional medicine to treat many conditions, including diabetes. Recent research in a laboratory aimed to see if these claims were true, using both the Nigella sativa seed and its essential oil.
The authors found that both the seed and essential oil were useful treatments for high blood sugar and the related issues that come with it. They also found that Nigella sativa is high in antioxidants that help to reduce the risk of diabetes complications that are caused by oxidative stress.
Using black seed essential oil alongside a varied and wholesome diet may help to reduce blood sugar to safe levels.
People with type 2 diabetes often have other symptoms, such as high blood pressure and circulation issues.
A study found that an essential oil derived from the common kitchen spice, black pepper, might provide a way to manage or prevent type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
The researchers noted that the oil contains a lot of antioxidants, and helps to block certain enzymes in the body that may contribute to diabetes and high blood pressure.
Helichrysum and grapefruit
Weight loss is a key factor in controlling type 2 diabetes symptoms. While being overweight does not cause every case of diabetes, it can make symptoms worse.
Losing weight is typically seen as a first line of treatment for people with diabetes. This means dieting and exercise, but the process may also be helped along with essential oils.
While the study was not done with humans, it may be a good sign that helichrysum and grapefruit can help people lose weight if used properly.
A relaxing massage of oil containing helichrysum and grapefruit essential oils after a nice workout may help promote relaxation and weight loss.
Cinnamon has long been a favored spice in desserts. It has a sweet flavor that seems to boost sweetness without adding more sugar. New research also suggests that it may also be great for people with diabetes.
One study looked at the effects of cinnamon and the compounds in it on various factors in diabetes. The researchers noted that cinnamon has shown to be beneficial to insulin sensitivity, sugar and fat levels, inflammation, blood pressure, and even body weight.
Regular intake of cinnamon and regular use of cinnamon essential oil may help to control factors of diabetes in some people.
The scent of lavender oil is very familiar and lavender has numerous uses in both traditional and western medicine. According to research, one promising use may be in relieving diabetes symptoms.
Researchers found that in animal experiments, lavender essential oil helped to balance high blood sugar levels and protect the body from the oxidative stress that causes complications in people with diabetes.
Aromatherapy and diabetes
Diabetes is a complex disease that has many contributing factors and can create different symptoms in different people.
Risk factors, such as poor diet, high blood pressure, obesity, and physical inactivity can all play a role in type 2 diabetes. Stress may make symptoms worse for some, and rapid changes to the diet and physical activity levels may affect others more.
People who are in these situations may find essential oils very beneficial. Adding a few drops of essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and taking long, deep breaths of the vapor produced is an easy way to get any beneficial compounds into the body.
The receptors in the nose and capillaries of the lungs can pick up the tiny particles of many essential oils and carry them into the bloodstream to be used by the body where it needs the most help.
Some particles may also be small enough to pass through the skin. This is beneficial for people looking for on-the-go relief from symptoms or more localized treatment.
If an essential oil is to be used on the skin, it should be properly diluted first. Many people enjoy adding a few drops of essential oil to an ounce of olive oil, coconut oil, or almond oil. Before applying it anywhere else, apply a dime-sized amount to the forearm to check for allergies. If no signs of allergies appear after 24-48 hours, it should be safe to use the diluted oil.
It is important to note that essential oils should not be swallowed. Even with the purest essential oils, the high antioxidant content of many oils can damage the food pipe, stomach, and intestines.
The most important thing to consider with essential oils is that they are a complementary treatment. No essential oil should be expected to relieve a person’s diabetes symptoms on its own.
Essential oils can be used as part of a balanced program of diet, exercise, lifestyle choices, and medical treatment options. It is always best to discuss treatment options that include essential oils with both the doctor and licensed aromatherapist.
When used with proper guidance, essential oils may be useful in the fight against diabetes and its symptoms and side effects.