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. [Source: "Diabetes - At a Glance" CDC.gov. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Web: Accessed March 29, 2019.]
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.
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:
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.
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.
Author: Gretchen Becker
ISBN: 1569242658 / 978-1569242650
Summary: "A patient-expert walks you through everything you need to learn and do."
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