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Diabetes, essential oils and medications

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay

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?

Image by Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay

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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Sleep and the lack of it and Essential Oils

Image by congerdesign from Pixabay

One time I heard a joke about someone who had a bookmark on page 2. I laughed, but some nights I feel like I can barely read one sentence before falling asleep! I am more of a wake in the middle of the night kind of girl. Whatever your sleep needs are, like herbs, there are essential oils to help with sleep.  We have touched on Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia) in the previous Mood blog, so let’s visit other oils here.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)  The essential oil has a deep musky aroma, along the lines of patchouli. It is not for a diffuser though, the consistency is too thick but is calming in a lotion, cream, oil-based perfume or inhaler. Use one or two drops in a blend. There are no safety concerns using this oil.

German chamomile (Matricaria recutita) as an herb, excellent tea for calming.  The essential oil is also calming. This is one of the “blue” oils; used mostly for modulating inflammation. The chamazulene, farnesene and bisabolols in the oil may cause some drug interactions, especially antidepressants. No safety concerns unless you are allergic to members of the daisy family (Asteraceae).

Opopanax, like Myrrh pictured, is grounding and relaxing.

Image by Leo_65 from Pixabay

If we talk about the CNS sedative components of essential oils, there are a lot of choices….

  • Thyme ct linalool (Thymus vulgarus ct. linalool)
  • Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
  • Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
  • Sweet marjoram (Origanim margorana)
  • Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
  • German chamomile (Marticaria chamomillia)
  • Patchouli (Pogostremom cablin)
  • Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
  • Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina)
  • Lavender (Lavendula angustifolia)
  • Rose absolute (Rose damascene)
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Ylang ylang like neroli and rose are strong floral scents that have CNS sedative properties. A little goes a long way.

Image by Chuckwalla from Pixabay

As you can see the list of oils is long, you don’t have to stick with Lavender as a sleep aid when using essential oils.

If lavender works, try a blend of lavender, ylang ylang and vetiver in a carrier oil.

If patchouli is too strong, try blending with cedarwood and opoponax in a carrier oil.

Any of these blends makes a good inhaler.

Happy blending,