Natural remedies are usually used in diabetes treatments as complementary therapy. Using essential oils for diabetes can be a good choice in managing the disease. Traditionally, as well as scientifically speaking, they certainly show a lot of potential. Here’s how to soothe and prevent diabetes complications naturally.
In this post, you’ll be learning about:
- Short intro on diabetes, as in what’s happening with the body.
- Ways in which essential oils can help with type 1 diabetes, but especially type 2 – the most common type of diabetes.
- Some of the best essential oils to use for diabetes management. Each in its own way, they’ve all been found useful.
- How to use these aromatic oils to enhance your diabetic treatment plan.
- Aromatherapy recipes that can be used topically or inhaled.
- High blood sugar and what else it can cause except insulin resistance. Plus a few essential oils to improve or prevent the resulting conditions.
- Diabetes types and causes. This information is helpful in knowing how to better treat yourself.
- Safety and management tips that help with a safe use of Aromatherapy essential oils.
Best Essential Oils for Diabetes (Pros & Cons), plus Blends
High blood sugar causes various forms of diabetes. Some are autoimmune diseases that start early, during childhood (type 1). But most cases of diabetes start later in life, somewhere after the age of 40.
Obesity and overweight are the main causes for the most common type of diabetes, type 2. A sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet contribute greatly to the disease. The latter usually means refined carbohydrates and very few fibers.
Blood sugar is glucose, the main fuel for the body. Food is broken down and transformed into glucose, and then used for energy.
With today’s tools and knowledge, blood glucose can be moderated and managed. It can be done by inhibiting specific enzymes that affect the metabolism of starch. α-amylase and α-glucosidase are two such enzymes.
They can slow down the process of transforming starch into glucose. This leads to blood glucose moderation.
Since type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease, essential oils for diabetes could help. But only to cope better with the side effects of the disease.
Stress, anxiety, bad digestion, etc. can be improved or soothed naturally. Essential oils should never replace medications though. Type 1 depends on insulin injections, so treatment should be carefully monitored by a doctor.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. There are lots of ways in which essential oils can be used to lower blood sugar.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Diabetes?
Essential oils are the main ingredients used in Aromatherapy. They are very concentrated volatile plant extracts. These fragranced essences are commonly extracted through steam distillation.
They have a very complex chemical profile, and each oil has its own set of benefits. A plant that grows in different geographical areas can yield different essential oils.
For example, we have rosemary. The one that grows at high altitudes is higher in 1, 8 cineole than the one growing at lower altitudes. This trait influences the effects of the oil on your health.
Aromatic oils are very active natural ingredients. They can enter the bloodstream via inhalation or topical application. The capillaries pick up the tiny molecules and carry them into the blood. They will then travel further, where they’re needed.
- Evaporate into the atmosphere (volatile).
- Don’t leave a greasy trace behind because they don’t contain fatty acids. Only carrier (vegetable) oils do.
- Have specific aromas, some more floral, others herbal, earthy and camphoraceous, etc.
- Don’t spread well on the skin. For that they need dilution into a carrier.
- Can sensitize or burn the skin if applied undiluted. We’ll see more safety tips at the end of the article.
- Have an average shelf life of about a year. Some may last less (like citruses), while others may last up to 6 years.
- Are sensitive to light and heat. If kept in direct sunlight, they can oxidize faster.
Aromatic plant oils can help with type 2 diabetes because they’re:
All these properties make them useful at boosting vital processes in the body. They can help strengthen the immune system. But they can also protect from viral and fungal infections. Essential oils for diabetes can also stimulate bile production and boost digestion.
Above it all, some essences have very high antioxidant effects. Free radicals thrive in a diabetes-affected body. That happens because the antioxidant defense system doesn’t usually work the way it should.
Aromatherapy oils can also help lower the blood pressure by dilating blood vessels. Some can even dissolve cholesterol deposits in the arteries. This ability makes the blood more fluid.
Last but not least, Aromatherapy has been proven useful against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress has different physiological effects in people with diabetes mellitus (type 2).
The immune system of diabetics is usually very weak. Because of it, they experience a slow tissue regeneration process. Using essential oils for diabetes can speed up tissue regeneration. In turn, that also prevents infections and complications.
In animal studies, radical scavengers or antioxidants proved effective at preventing diabetes. All in all, Aromatherapy can help a diabetic person cope with this chronic condition.
Since there is no cure for diabetes, its management can be made easier with essential oils.
Animal studies (rat models) also suggest an early sign for insulin sensitivity. That is the ability to alter SBP – systolic blood pressure. It measures the pressure found in blood vessels with each heartbeat.
That study drew encouraging conclusions. They referred to the potential of essential oils for high blood sugar and diabetes. Thus, aromatic oils can be used to affect insulin sensitivity.
While doing my research, I’ve found quite a few studies on essential oils and diabetes. You must keep in mind though, that no plant essence is regarded as remedy for diabetes.
They are seen as a good complementary treatment however. Meaning essential oils can improve the lifestyle and coping abilities of a diabetic person.
Let’s see what those oils are and what they can do for you. Make sure you seek medical guidance before using any of them!
Diabetes may cause unknown interactions and side effects. It may also make you develop sensitivity to certain oils. That is why you should never use only one essence on a long term.
1) Coriander Essential Oil
Botanical name: Coriandrum sativum.
- Using Coriander essential oil for diabetes is a popular choice. It is so for a good reason too. The oil is great for digestion as it stimulates all the functions of the digestive system. It also favors the elimination of cholesterol.
- Coriander oil has antibacterial effects. In vitro, it killed bacteria such as aureus, E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Bacillus cereus, etc.
- Coriander oil for diabetes can also inhibit the pain mediators. This means the pain message of the neurotransmitters is stopped and the pain relieved.
- The oil can stimulate the nervous system and help with a better coordination.
- A rat study found that Coriander extract could increase the release if insulin from the pancreas. It also showed lower serum glucose level in diabetic rats.
- People with asthma should consult a doctor before using Coriander essential oil for diabetes. The same goes for people with heart problems.
- In high dosage, Coriander oil has euphoric effects. It can also affect the nerves and harm the nervous system.
- Also in high dosage, the oil can be toxic to the liver. Avoid its long-term use.
- Coriander oil for diabetes has cortisone-like effects.
Why I like it:
Coriander has a very pleasant scent and it is a great help in digestive blends. Plus, being stimulant and tonic, it also boosts the body’s energy level.
2) Black Pepper Essential Oil (Varieties)
Botanical name(s): Piper nigrum, Piper guineense, Piper longum.
- Piper nigrum (black pepper) is the most common black pepper variety. However, the West African black pepper has many good effects on diabetes too.
- The oil is tonic and stimulant. This means it can boost all vital processes, including digestion.
- It also improves the blood circulation.
- Piper nigrum, the common black pepper seed oil has strong antioxidant effect. It was also found effective in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia is an unusually high level of glucose in the blood. Its effects may help people control eventual complications.
- West African Black Pepper essential oil has very high antioxidant properties. The oil can scavenge for free radicals and inhibit the activities of the right damaging enzymes. This essential oil inhibited the activities of α -amylase, α -glucosidase, and ACE enzymes. This makes the African Black Pepper oil a good ingredient in preventing or managing type 2 diabetes.
- Other species of pepper have been found useful in managing diabetes. Piper longum showed anti-diabetic effect.
- Remember that black pepper (Piper nigrum) and West African black pepper (Piper guineense) are different. Thus, they will each have different effects on diabetes. Nonetheless, both Pepper oils have been found useful in diabetes management.
- Only regular Black Pepper can be found easier. I have yet to find the West African variety available.
- Black Pepper oils can burn or sensitize the skin. Piper nigrum has cortisone-like effects.
Why I like them:
The oils of Black Pepper can slow down the development of diabetes complications. They all have a pleasant spicy and pepper-like fragrance. With that in mind, Pepper oils can make nice blends for diabetes.
3) Peppermint Essential Oil
Botanical name: Mentha piperita.
- To use Peppermint essential oil for diabetes is another good choice. On rat models, Peppermint has been found effective at regulating hyperglycemia. The oil was able to correct anemia and to decrease blood glucose. It also increased serum insulin. Peppermint improved the antioxidant status in diabetic rats.
- Using Peppermint oil for diabetes can help the liver and pancreas tissue regenerate. Plus, the oil can stimulate bile production and boost digestion.
- It can also relieve pain and prevent viral infections.
- Peppermint oil is not recommended to people who suffer from seizures.
- It also has estrogen-like effects, making it unsuitable in hormonal treatments.
- Too much oil on a long term can cause liver and kidney toxicity.
- It can also make the skin yellow in people that are deficient in G6PD enzyme.
- Do not use Peppermint essential oil for diabetes if you also have heart or liver problems.
Why I like it:
As it has been shown, Peppermint oil has a big anti-diabetic potential. It also smells very uplifting and fresh, and it is often used for digestive disorders.
4) Melissa Essential Oil
Botanical name: Melissa officinalis.
- Melissa is known as Lemon Balm. It is among the recommended essential oils for blood sugar and diabetes.
- Its antioxidant effects have been noted in another animal study. Melissa essential oil was able to reduce blood glucose and improve its tolerance. It also increased serum insulin levels and regulated hypoglycemia.
- Melissa oil favors metabolism in the liver and adipose tissue.
- The oil is anti-inflammatory, calming and sedating.
- It can also decrease blood pressure, which is why the essential oil can lower blood sugar too.
- It improves digestion by stimulating bile production and relieves cramps.
- Melissa is dermocaustic, meaning it can burn sensitive tissue. Thus, you should never inhale the oil directly from the bottle.
- Melissa oil should not be used by people with thyroid problems.
- It should not be used by people with asthma either.
Why I like it:
Melissa essential oil and diabetes work well together. The oil has a fresh, lemony scent yet herbal that makes it pleasant. The oil can also be used to relieve stress and improve the quality of sleep.
5) Indigenous Cinnamon Essential Oil
Botanical name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum (bark) and osmopholeum (leaf).
- Cinnamon essential oil for diabetes is very popular. Cinnamon powder and its components showed beneficial effects on insulin sensitivity. The powder helped with glucose and blood pressure too. They also showed beneficial effects on inflammation and body weight. Cinnamon powder and essential oil have powerful antioxidant activity.
- The oil however, shows weaker anti-diabetic effects than water-based cinnamon extracts. One such extract is Cinnamon hydrosol or floral water. It is highly antioxidant and it can increase insulin sensitivity.
- Indigenous Cinnamon leaf essential oil is high in linalool. Because of that, it showed clear anti-diabetic effects. The oil lowered fasting blood glucose in diabetic rats.
- It was also shown that the oil of Cinnamon leaf ct. Linalool could protect the pancreas.
- Large quantities of Cinnamon leaf oil showed a weaker effect on plasma insulin than a smaller dosage. This means that the effect of the oil is dose-dependent. After a thorough investigation, only a doctor could help you find the right dose.
- If you also suffer from asthma, a doctor’s consultation is mandatory.
- Cinnamon oils are dermocaustic. This means you are not to inhale directly from the bottle.
- Do not use this essential oil for diabetes for a long period of time.
Why I like it:
Cinnamon is among the best essential oils for blood pressure too. It can help dilate the blood vessels and decrease the blood pressure this way.
If you want to use Cinnamon essential oil for diabetes, make sure you’ve talked about it with a doctor first. This is generally available for all essential oils for diabetes.
Pregnant and/or breastfeeding women with gestational diabetes should also consult their doctor first. Essential oils are not to be used on children without medical advice.
Other Good Essential Oils for Blood Sugar and Diabetes:
- Spanish Lavender essential oil (Lavandula stoechas) – This variety of Lavender was found effective against hyperglycemia in diabetic rats. The oil protected against high blood glucose. It also increased antioxidant activities. Spanish Lavender may work against oxidative stress too.
- Lemon essential oil (Citrus limon) – The oil of Lemon can dissolve fats found in the blood and make it more fluid. Thus, it reduces cardiovascular risks that often come with type 2 diabetes. The oil can also regulate hyperglycemia.
- Rose Geranium essential oil (Pelargonium graveolens/asperum) – This essential oil for diabetes stimulates the activity of the pancreas. This leads to an enhanced insulin production. Lemon helps controlling high blood sugar levels.
- Rosemary ct. Verbenone essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. verbenoniferum) – This essential oil can help dissolve fats (cholesterol).
How to Use Essential Oils for Diabetes
Essential oils are very concentrated essences that need to be diluted first. In case of diabetes, the use of aromatic oils is a very sensitive topic. They should never be taken internally without a doctor’s approval.
Topical use and diffusion must also be done carefully. The active oil molecules may interact with various medicines. If that were the case, they could cause different physiological responses.
The dosage, treatment length and way of using the oils, all play a role in the treatment’s outcome. If you suffer from diabetes, research your oils well and talk to specialists.
Essential oils for type 1 diabetes should be the same as those for type 2. But it is harder to manage the disease, because it is autoimmune. More than any other, type 1 diabetes needs constant medical supervision. Especially when using natural remedies as complementary therapy.
If you’ve been cleared to use essential oils for diabetes, you can:
- Make blends and use topically. Massage the back, chest and shoulders with a moderate amount of blend.
- Diffuse a few drops of essential oils for 20 minutes, every 2 hours. Make sure the room is very well ventilated while diffusing.
- Add 5 – 10 drops of aromatic oils to a cup of bath salts and throw the mixture into hot bathwater.
The best carrier oils for diabetes that serve great as dilution environment for essential oils are:
- Black seed
- Rice bran
The usual dose is 6 drops of essential oil per fluid ounce (30ml) carrier oil. With diabetes, the amount may differ, depending on what the doctor says.
Essential Oil Recipes for Diabetes Management
This is the practical part. I’ve got a few blend recipes for you to use to improve your diabetes and lifestyle.
Daily Essential Oil Recipe for People with Diabetes
- Coriander essential oil: 10 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 10 drops
- Rosemary ct. Verbenone essential oil: 10 drops
- Black seed (Nigella) oil: 2 Oz (60ml)
Shake the blend really well before each use to activate the oil molecules. Apply a moderate amount on the stomach area, shoulders, chest, etc. before each meal. Keep at it for 3 weeks, after which you should take a week off.
Complementary Anti-diabetic Diffuser Essential Oil Recipe
- Cinnamon essential oil: 6 drops
- Melissa essential oil: 6 drops
- Black Pepper essential oil: 6 drops
Mix the oils together and use up to 5 drops per diffusion session (every 2 hours for 20 minutes). You can also mix the blend with some carrier oil and apply topically a few times a day.
Essential Oils for High Blood Sugar and Other Non-Diabetes Related Problems
A high level of blood sugar can affect the body in many different ways. It is not only diabetes you’ll have to worry about.
High blood sugar (glucose) can cause:
- Dry and itchy skin.
- Severe acne.
- Infections (bacterial and fungal).
- Diabetic blisters.
- Foot ulcers.
- Risk of heart disease.
- Sweet-smelling breath.
- High blood pressure.
- Lack of energy.
- Extreme thirst.
- Frequent urination.
- Visual impairment.
Using essential oils for blood sugar may soothe many of the above mentioned problems. They can help the skin regenerate and heal faster. They could also strengthen the immune system and give your metabolism a boost.
Stress Management is Important!
The stress response of the body affects glucose intolerance. It also makes it difficult to control the blood glucose levels. This can cause serious complications for diabetic people.
The management of stress is crucial in diabetes treatments. It is so because the body can relax and stay more focused. A healthy mindset helps the body fight the disease better. A good mood can also relieve anxiety and depression for those who have to deal with diabetes every day.
This is where Aromatherapy can help. Through inhalation, essential oil molecules enter the body. They can reach the bloodstream but they can also reach the brain and affect the limbic and nervous systems.
Many essential oils have proven effective at inducing relaxation. They can help decrease the heart rhythm and blood pressure, and favor a good, resting sleep.
Relaxing Diffuser Blend Recipe
- Melissa essential oil: 3 drops
- Spanish Lavender essential oil: 2 drops
- Rose Geranium essential oil: 2 drops
Add these essential oils for diabetes to your diffuser and relax for a few minutes. Inhale deeply! You can do so whenever needed or half an hour before going to bed.
Diabetes Types and Causes, plus Safety and Management Tips
Diabetes is a life-threatening disease caused by high blood sugar. There are many diabetes types, but only two are very common. They are type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Here are all the types of diabetes:
- Prediabetes – This type refers to very high levels of blood sugar. Although higher than normal, the blood sugar level is not high enough to be called type 2 either.
- Type 1 diabetes – Is an autoimmune disease and it starts in childhood or adolescence. What happens is that the immune system starts attacking the pancreas. This one is then unable to produce insulin and regulate blood sugar. Thus, type 1 diabetics depend on insulin injections to survive. It affects about 5% – 10% of cases.
- Type 1.5 diabetes – This is a subtype of type 1 diabetes. It is also called LADA – Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults. It progresses very slowly.
- Type 2 diabetes (mellitus) – This form of diabetes affects about 90 – 95% of cases. It is caused by resistance to insulin but injections are not needed for survival. Insulin is produced but it is not enough to break down the food into glucose. Or the insulin doesn’t work as it should. Both lead to the same consequence: insulin resistance. Type 2 is often related to obesity and it can also pass undiagnosed for many years.
- Type 3 diabetes – This form of diabetes is caused by insulin resistance in the brain. The disease is also known as Alzheimer’s.
- Gestational diabetes – This is a form of diabetes that occurs during pregnancy. Luckily, it is manageable by controlling the level of blood sugar.
There are other forms of diabetes too, but they are very rare. The cause is usually a single gene mutation. They are:
- Diabetes MODY,
- Double diabetes,
- Steroid-induced diabetes,
- Brittle diabetes,
- Secondary diabetes,
- Diabetes inspidus,
- And Juvenile diabetes.
A few diabetes statistics:
- In 1985, there were 30 million diabetics worldwide.
- In 1995, they were 135 million diabetics.
- It is estimated that at the current rate, by 2025 there will be 300 million diabetics.
- In America, over 18 million people have diabetes.
- About 5 million of them don’t even know they have it.
- Type 1 diabetes affects 1 in 400 children and/or teenagers. (Source)
There are many different types of diabetes, but their causes differ only slightly. Except those that are autoimmune, the others are either caused by gene mutations or by lifestyle and diet.
The most common form of diabetes, type 2 is caused by lifestyle and BMI (body mass index). Of course, you don’t have to have weight problems to suffer from type 2 diabetes.
Too much sugar consumed may ultimately lead to diabetes. However, most people with this condition are overweight or obese.
Safety Tips (Correct Use of Essential Oils)
By now, you’re probably aware of the potential harmful effects of essential oils. They are natural indeed, but they are also strong. With diabetes, their use can be even more problematic.
With a good research in advance and a good talk to a doctor however, their use should not be a problem anymore.
Regardless, here are a few things to know when using essential oils for high blood sugar or diabetes:
- People suffering from epilepsy or asthma need to be extra careful. Some oils can induce seizures or asthma attacks.
- Those oils with cortisone-like effects must not be used. Especially if you’ve had (or still have) a history of cancer or mastocystosis.
- Never use essential oils for diabetes pure and undiluted.
- Test each oil for allergic reactions before any widespread use.
- Do not use internally without medical approval.
- Avoid using certain oils if you are allergic to any of its constituents.
- Use small doses, unless advised otherwise, and for short periods of time.
- Use the oils in parallel with your anti-diabetic medications. Any change in diet and/or treatment must be first cleared with a doctor.
Diabetes Management Tips
Living with any form of diabetes is not easy. Unfortunately, there is no cure for it either. Depending on the form however, it may be manageable and the affected person may lead a good life.
Here are just a few good tips to help you manage the disease easier. Your doctor may be of a lot more help though.
- Maintain active and practice sports a few times a week. Avoid elevators and other such helpful devices. You need the action and movement daily.
- Avoid foods that have a high glycemic index. They are sweets, white bread and rice, sodas, alcohol, etc.
- Go for foods with low glycemic index like vegetables (boiled or raw), some fruits (less sweet), wholegrain bread and rice, etc.
- Eat lots of fibers, because they can decrease the glycemic index of some foods.
- Drink plenty of water daily.
- Avoid smoking.
- Avoid consuming saturated fats like butter, fried foods, eggs, chocolate, cheese, etc.
- Apply an essential oil blend on your wounds to speed up healing and avoid infections. Diabetic people are very vulnerable.
- Watch out for the state and health of your feet.
There are too many things to be said about diabetes, and one single article does not cover it. However, I focused mainly on the use of essential oils for diabetes and high blood sugar. I’ve given you all the details that’ll help you decide better on their use. They’ve got links to the studies that support their specific anti-diabetic effects too.
There is still need for more research and knowledge. Until then, doctors may help you figure out a good essential oil and dosage. Have you ever given Aromatherapy a chance while dealing with diabetes?