Essential oils, aromatherapy, and diabetes may seem like an unusual combination, however natural therapies and essential oils have stood the test of time and have earned a place in the world of complementary treatments.
With thanks to cheap and easy access to processed foods and increasingly sedentary lifestyles, Australians are at risk of becoming Diabetic more than ever before. According to Diabetes Australia "Diabetes is the epidemic of the 21st century and the biggest challenge confronting Australia’s health system." (7)
This 'epidemic' has lead to millions of people searching for answers, treatments, and ongoing therapies which may help with the symptoms and complications caused by diabetes.7 Essential Oils to help with diabetesCoriander
has been used for centuries as a remedy for digestive issues and is well known for its health benefits. Coriander naturally stimulates and boosts the secretion of insulin in our bodies, and can help provide relief from nausea and fatigue. The coriander seed extract decreased serum glucose in diabetic rats and increased insulin release from the beta cells of the pancreas. (1)Melissa
(Lemon Balm) is being included in diabetes management plans all over the world after researchers discovered it helped encourage cells to consume glucose. Studies have shown that melissa oil can be an effective antidiabetic agent. For example, a 2010 study that was published in the British Journal of Nutrition sought to evaluate the effectiveness of lemon balm essential oil in reducing blood glucose levels. In an experiment involving mice, the group that was given lemon balm essential oil showed significantly lower blood glucose levels, improved glucose tolerance and higher serum insulin levels, which hence serves to decrease diabetic levels. (2)Clove
oil was used in an animal-based study where researchers found that Clove essential oil reduced the level of enzymes in the pancreas. The research report states "The inhibition of enzymes involved in the breakdown of carbohydrates is considered a therapeutic approach to the management of type-2 diabetes." (3)Black Pepper
is affectionately known as the "king of spices". In 2013 research found "black pepper oil naturally inhibits two enzymes that break down starch into glucose. This effect may help regulate blood glucose and delay glucose absorption." (4)Helicyrsum
is usually associated with anti-ageing and skincare treatments, however, this 'immortal flower' promotes a healthy metabolism and supports weight control. Weight management is a key factor in controlling the symptoms of type 2 diabetes and it would be beneficial to use Helicyrsum essential oil as a complementary therapy in your diabetes and obesity management plan. (5)Grapefruit
is a beautiful citrus oil known for its fresh and uplifting aroma. Aside from boosting your mood and energising your spirit, Grapefruit is primarily used for lessening sugar cravings and supporting a balanced appetite. As with Helichrysum, Grapefruit essential oil can support metabolism and weight control as part of your diabetes management plan. (5)
To support adipose (fat) cells, massage carrier oil or cream that contains Helichrysum or grapefruit essential oils to support weight loss and relaxation topically to your preferred body areas, tummy, butt, thighs as required.Cinnamon
has long been used to moderate blood sugar levels, support the pancreas, and encourage a healthy weight for people surfing with metabolic syndrome. In 2011 research into the intake of cinnamon as a whole or as an extract has shown cinnamon improves 'fasting blood glucose' (FBG) in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes. Its flavour offers a hint of sweetness without having sugar making it the perfect addition to desserts. (6)
Nutrition and Exercise are also important components to focus on when trying to regulate your blood sugar levels naturally. Personally, I have found eating as much non-starchy veg and salads with small amounts of meat and lots of good fats have helped my body, as I navigate peri-menopause and the constantly evolving changes in my body as I age. Excess sugar wrecks havoc with our bodies, glycosylating (sticking) to proteins and fats causing us to age prematurely. If your body is already under stress, choose light exercise so as not to raise cortisol and other stress hormones further. Light walking, outdoors in sunlight is just the ticket. So I am going to head out and take the dog for a walk to help his waistline as well.
Please note: It is important to know your diabetic diagnosis very well first before using such alternative, natural treatments to manage your diabetes. Always consult your educated health care provider first before using essential oils as a form of treatment especially if you are already taking medication that reduces blood glucose levels. This information is to educate and not intended as a diagnosis or treatment suggestion. Please apply common sense and discretion.