Nine Essential Oils for Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that affects many people in the United States and much 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
Essential oils have been used for many years and compounds of plants have been used in many western medications.

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.

Coriander seed

Coriander or cilantro seed is grown all over the world and has been used by many cultures for treating digestive issues, such as indigestion, diarrhea, and flatulence.

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

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.

Clove bud

clove bud essential oil
Studies suggest that clove bud may reduce enzymes in the pancreas that are linked to diabetes.

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

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.

Black pepper

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 the first line of treatment for people with diabetes. This means dieting and exercise, but the process may also be helped along with essential oils.

A recent study found that obese rats given extracts of helichrysum and grapefruit gained less weight, had reduced signs of inflammation, and had less excess insulin than other subjects.

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

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.

Lavender

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

lavender
Lavender oil may help to balance high blood sugar levels.

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.

Outlook

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.

Grapefruit Health Benefits

February was Grapefruit Month, and even if you missed it, it is still a great time to pay a little tribute to the virtues of this much-maligned fruit. It’s tangy, the citrusy flavor can serve as a reminder of the warm weather climates in which it grows, helping us get through the sluggish end of winter. Grapefruit health benefits offer plenty in the way of nutrition that helps with weight maintenance and will also help the body fight off the colds and assorted maladies that are so common this time of year.

Pink grapefruit provides 80 percent of your daily vitamin C needs in a typical serving of half the fruit, is proven to bolster the immune system, can detoxify the body, and even slow the growth rate of tumors. It is also chock full of lycopene, which is an antioxidant that has been found to lower the risk of both bladder and prostate cancer. And pink grapefruit provides you with 6 percent of the RDA of vitamin A, another valuable nutrient that helps maintain the health of the retina, particularly important for our vision in lower light.

Yellow grapefruit is no slouch, either, in the vitamin and nutrient department. Just under its more colorful cousin, the yellow grapefruit health benefits include 73.3 percent of your vitamin C quota for the day, as well as an impressive 23.7 percent of vitamin A.

In addition, grapefruit is a great choice for weight maintenance. And keep in mind that while 100 percent grapefruit juice will deliver nutrients to your body, it will not give you fiber. But as long as you eat the fruit rather than drinking the juice, you will get 0.8 gram of fiber, which fulfills nearly 6 percent of your recommended daily allowance. It is also high in pectin, which helps move things along in your digestive tract to both keep your bowel movements regular and lessen the amount of time potentially damaging fecal matter hangs around in the colon. In addition, that fiber will keep you feel satiated longer, while only serving up a mere 30 calories. And studies have shown that the pectin may be strongly anti-carcinogenic–particularly with regard to colon cancer.

Grapefruit has been found in numerous studies to confer disease protection as well. In a 2006 study, a team of researchers from universities in Israel, Singapore, and Poland split participants into three groups. All of them ate healthy, low-fat diets, but one group had a red grapefruit each day, another had a yellow grapefruit each day, and the third ate no grapefruit. Both groups of grapefruit eaters experienced reduced levels of total cholesterol as well as LDL, the “bad,” cholesterol. The red grapefruit eaters enjoyed the additional benefit of lowering their triglyceride levels too.

So, with all these health benefits, why has the media labeled grapefruit a danger? Simply put, grapefruit can enhance the risks already inherent in pharmaceutical drugs. Upwards of 85 medications have been found to interact with grapefruit. Those research and development departments at pharmaceutical conglomerates keep busy by constantly rolling out new drugs, so needless to say, the incidence of problems experienced by grapefruit eaters has risen in recent years. And, despite the known interactions, many doctors don’t think to ask patients if they eat grapefruit or mention that it is a contraindication.

Grapefruit itself is not harmful. Certain pharmaceuticals for pain, heart disease, schizophrenia, and cancer, on the other hand, have been found to be problematic when combined with grapefruit. The danger comes from the fact that grapefruit inhibits the CYP3A4 enzyme in the liver that helps the body metabolize the pharmaceutical. Therefore, the medication is much stronger as it enters the system, and its effects are magnified, sometimes to the point of causing an overdose.

But the key issue to remember is that the toxicity is inherent in the pharmaceutical drug, not the grapefruit. The problem, once again, is that grapefruit can enhance that toxicity–particularly that of statin drugs. If you are prescribed pharmaceuticals, it is essential to discuss with your doctor whether grapefruit is safe to consume for the duration of the medication. And if you are not taking any kind of prescription medicine, dig right into this citrus delight because, for most of us, grapefruit is nothing but healthy.