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Diabetes, essential oils and medications

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Have you thought about essential oil use and your diabetic medication? Should you worry? Let’s see..

Ignorance or disregard of basic essential oil safety information can be one of the most dangerous mistakes to make with essential oils. Essential oils can react with your medications and supplements. They can cause adverse reactions when used in excess. They can react differently in children, the elderly, and those with weakened immunity. It is imperative to educate yourself on the cautions and contraindications surrounding essential oils.

What do the studies say?

In the “Second Edition of Essential Oil Safety”, Tisserand Young, 2014; most safety concerns for drug interactions are through oral administration. Inhalation and diffusion guidelines for safety should always be followed, and the same for the proper dilution for dermal application.
The research studies below are for oral administration.

Abies balsamea, has been shown to potentially inhibit certain metabolic pathways in the liver, which could potentially limit the effectiveness of some diabetes medication.

(Tam, T.W., Liu, R., Arnason, J.T., Krantis, A., Staines, W.A., Haddad, P.S., et al. (2011). Cree antidiabetic plant extracts display mechanism-based inactivation of CYP3A4. Can J Physiol Pharmacol., 89(1):13-23. https://doi: 10.1139/y10-104

Is there good news?

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Lemon peel essential oil exhibited higher antidiabetic and antihypertensive activities compared to orange peels. Findings suggest that these essential oils are potential antidiabetic and antihypertensive agents. (Oboh, G., Olasehinde, T. A., & Ademosun, A. O. (2017). Inhibition of enzymes linked to type-2 diabetes and hypertension by essential oils from peels of orange and lemon. International Journal of Food Properties, 20(Sup1), 594.

What practical information do I follow if I use essential oils and take medications?

The Diabetes Council states that “Dry brushing, a technique of rubbing or brushing the skin gently with brushes or loofahs, is often used in conjunction with oils such as cinnamon and peppermint to improve circulation. Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and cypress are also used for this purpose.” We know from previous posts that lavender is used for improvement of mood and the ability to relax. Massage improves circulation.
Essential oils can also be used for wound care; Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), German chamomile (Marticaria chamomillia), Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) and Sandalwood (Santalum album) are among those oils used for this. Use a 1% dilution in a carrier for massage.

It is practical by knowing which essential oils to avoid using when taking medications, or having a particular disease state. The benefits of safely using essential oils by diffusing, inhalation and topically far outweigh the risks.

Always remember to do your research.

Happy blending,


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Pre and Post Surgery and essential oils

There is some clinical scientific evidence in favor of EO use in various phases of pre- and postoperative treatment.

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Can I use essential oils before my surgery?

The most appropriate oils to treat pre-surgical anxiety are Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) and Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and there is a variety of literature that backs that up. One of the major components of lavender EO is linalool. Clinical evidence of the relaxing efficacy of lavender EO was obtained by Braden et al. ( R. Braden, S. Reichow, andM.A.Halm, “The use of the essential oil lavandin to reduce preoperative anxiety in surgical patients,”Journal of Perianesthesia Nursing, vol. 24, no. 6, pp. 348–355, 2009.) who enrolled 150 adult patients undergoing different types of surgery and then randomly assigned to either control (standard care), experimental (standard care plus EO lavandin, Lavandula hybrida), or sham (standard care plus jojoba oil) groups. Oils were sniffed and applied on the skin before surgery. Visual analog scales were used to assess anxiety on admission to preoperative suite and operating room transfer. It resulted in that the lavandin group showed significantly lower anxiety during operating room transfer.

Is there research about essential oils used during surgery?

It has been demonstrated that a blend of essential oils, lavender (Lavandula officinalis), roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis), and neroli at a ratio of 6 : 2 : 0.5 can reduce anxiety, increase sleep, and stabilize the blood pressure of patients undergoing cardiac stent insertion.
(M. Y. Cho, E. S. Min, M. H. Hur, and M. S. Lee, “Effects of aromatherapy on the anxiety, vital signs, and sleep quality of percutaneous coronary intervention patients in intensive care units,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013,Article ID 381381, 6 pages, 2013.)

NOW I have a scar!!

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Indiana University scientists reported that skin tissue treated with the chemical compound, beta-carophyllene — which is found in lavender, rosemary and ylang ylang, as well as various herbs and spices such as black pepper — showed increased cell growth and cell migration critical to wound healing.

“The way gene expression changed also suggests not only improved wound healing but also the possibility of less scar formation and a more full recovery. It’s an example that essential oils work; however, it’s not through our sense of smell.”

Indiana University. (2019, December 18). Chemical compound found in essential oils improves wound healing. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 4, 2020 from

So even though there is research and evidence based information, there is no essential oil salve that is a magic bullet for scar prevention. More studies need to be research concerning analgesic properties during surgery…gee, I wouldn’t want to be the guinea pig for that!

That sounds promising, right? But what about postsurgery?

The paper, cited below, suggests that nonpharmacological methods, known as complementary therapies, are safer and have fewer side effects than medications. Aromatherapy is one of the types of complementary medicine that has recently attracted the attention of many researchers. In this method, a variety of herbal oils and essential oils are used. Peppermint blocks the serotonin and dopamine receptors that are involved in nausea. The results of this study indicate the equal effectiveness of inhalation aromatherapy with 10% and 30% peppermint essential oils in reducing the severity of nausea in abdominal surgery patients. Due to the ease of use of inhalation aromatherapy,
this method is recommended in patients undergoing abdominal surgery.
(Ahmadi, Y., Rezaei, J., Rezaei, M., & Khatony, A. (2020). Comparison of the Effect of Inhalation Aromatherapy with 10% and 30% Peppermint Essential Oils on the Severity of Nausea in Abdominal Surgery Patients. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM), 1–7. https://doi-

Safety concerns involving eugenol, thymol, and carvacrol documented ingestion of these oils. I do not participate in that type of aromatherapy.

I think we can all benefit from the use of essential oils like lavender and orange for anxiety before surgery. When the doctor says that it is ok to use a salve, balm or lotion on an incision, it probably wouldn’t hurt to use one with Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) in it.

I hope you enjoyed the heavy hand on the research this week, as always,

Happy blending,