Can essential oils really help with supporting healthy blood sugar levels? Previously, I discussed how flavonoids could be used to modulate sugar in the blood. For example, rodents imbibing grapefruit extract and helichrysum demonstrated positive changes in measurements of insulin resistance, oxidative stress, inflammation, and weight. (Note: remember to be careful of medication interactions with grapefruit oil.)
Recently, I wrote an article on sugar addiction to be published in the Natural Path. It inspired me to publish this blog that was originally sent as a E-blast to my essential oils subscribers. In it, I will focus on the use of essential oils for blood sugar support.
Of Mice (Well mice and rats)
The following is a list of several studies that support how certain oils modulate blood sugar in rodents:
1. In one study with rats, cinnamon oil of the linalool chemotype (specific secondary metabolite at the highest levels in the oil) was shown to have a benefit on blood sugar and relieve oxidative stress at a certain dose.
2. In another study, a specific type of lavender had blood sugar lowering effects and also decreased oxidative stress in our four-pawed rodent friends.
3. In a well-done study, which even analyzed the oil constituents (a lot of them don’t), little diabetic rodents exhibited very impressive results regarding the use of lemon balm oil (Melissa off.) The study demonstrated that lemon balm alleviated many of the damaging effects that high amounts of sugar in the blood can cause. Specifically, the lemon balm positively impacted lipids, insulin response, liver enzymes, and various cellular signaling pathways.
4. In another study, the synergistic effects of essential oils for blood sugar were tested. For the trial, researchers combined several blends of essential oils and tested them in hypertensive and diabetic rats. The researchers found beneficial effects on blood sugar with the oil blends.
5. A mouse study reported blood sugar lowering effects, oxidative stress protection, insulin enhancement, and a decrease in alpha-amylase using Korean Pine Oil.
6. One study that compared the use of Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér.) to an antidiabetic medication reported that the oil could be more effective in decreasing glucose and effecting liver and kidney antioxidant functions than the drug:
After the administration of two doses of essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. together with glibenclamide which is known by its antidiabetic activities and used as reference (600 μg/kg b.w.), for four weeks, the serum glucose significantly decreased and antioxidant perturbations were restored. The hypoglycemic effect of P. graveolens at the dose of 150 mg/kg b.w. was significantly (p< 0.05) more effective than that of glibenclamide. It is through the histological findings in hepatic and renal tissues of diabetic rats that these beneficial effects of geranium oils were confirmed.
Remember the effect of stress on blood sugar and how essential oils can modulate this response and hormones (cortisol-insulin connection)? This can impact blood sugar levels. One study also listed potential uses for oils to use as support in those who were struggling with blood sugar issues. These included using the oils to cleanse wounds, support for the stress response, and supporting mood.
Essential oils have been shown in rodent models to modulate pathways related to blood sugar and the damaging effects of too high amounts in the blood. In human trials, essential oils have prolific evidence for modulating stress and hormonal response. Taken together, there is good evidence that essential oils support healthy glucose levels.
If you want more on essential oils and their clinical use, click here.
Shih-Chieh Lee, et al., Chemical Composition and Hypoglycemic and Pancreas-Protective Effect of Leaf Essential Oil from Indigenous Cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum Kanehira). J. Agric. Food Chem. 2013: 61 (20), pp 4905-4913
J Buckle. Diabetes and Aromatherapy. Diabetes Spectrum. August 2001; 14(3). 124-126
Sebai H, Selmi S, Rtibi K, Souli A, Gharbi N, Sakly M. Lavender (Lavandula stoechas L.) essential oils attenuate hyperglycemia and protect against oxidative stress in alloxan-induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2013;12:189. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-12-189.
Chung MJ, et al. Anti-diabetic effects of lemon balm ( Melissa officinalis) essential oil on glucose- and
lipid-regulating enzymes in type 2 diabetic mice. Br J Nutr. 2010 Jul;104(2):180-8.
Talpur N, et al. Effects of a novel formulation of essential oils on glucose-insulin metabolism in diabetic and hypertensive rats: a pilot study. Diabetes Obes Metab. 2005 Mar; 7(2):193-9.
Anti-Diabetic Potential of the Essential Oil of Pinus koraiensis Leaves toward Streptozotocin-Treated Mice and HIT-T15 Pancreatic β Cells. Bioscience, Biotechnology, and Biochemistry. 2013; 77(10).
Boukhris M, Bouaziz M, Feki I, Jemai H, El Feki A, Sayadi S. Hypoglycemic and antioxidant effects of leaf essential oil of Pelargonium graveolens L’Hér. in alloxan induced diabetic rats. Lipids in Health and Disease. 2012;11:81. doi:10.1186/1476-511X-11-81.
Lavender species: http://dr-lobisco.com/using-lavender-universal-oil-calming-mood-support-brain-health-immune-support/
Essential Oils and Medication Interactions: http://dr-lobisco.com/essentialoil-druginteractions/
Dr. Z: http://drericz.com/diabetes-oils/
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.