Essential Oils are simply concentrated oils of plants which are generally extracted by distillation, steam, cold pressing, wax embedding, and so on. In this article, we are going to look at the effects of eucalyptus essential oil on diabetes and high blood pressure. Can Eucalyptus Oil Help In Managing Diabetes? Can Eucalyptus Oil Help High Blood Pressure? Will find out here…
However, to understand eucalyptus oil better find let’s cover some background of essential oils in general and how they work.
Example of essential oils include:
- Tea Tree oil
- Lavender oil
- Peppermint oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Lemon oil
- Grape seed oil
- Patchouli oil
- Rose hip oil
- Clove oil
- Turmeric oil
For many centuries, essential oils have been used in many cultures for different purposes such as to pamper oneself, elevate mood, improve sleep quality, improve oral health, heal wounds, balance hormones, aromatherapy, and so on.
Proven scientifically to be therapeutic, healthy, and safe for human use, the multi-purpose essential oil is a definite contender for the treatment and management of disease conditions such as cancer, HIV, high blood pressure and even diabetes mellitus.
What Is Diabetes Mellitus?
Diabetes Mellitus is a group of debilitating disease conditions that occur as a result of high blood glucose (too much sugar in the blood). Rated third after Cancer, cerebrovascular, and cardiovascular diseases, diabetes mellitus is a huge threat to the health of mankind.
There are 2 main types of Diabetes:
- Type-1 Diabetes
Also called juvenile diabetes, this is a chronic condition in which there is autoimmune destruction of the pancreatic beta cells, which is responsible for insulin production, produces little or none of the hormone, leading to failure in uptake and utilization of blood glucose from the liver, muscles and fat cells.
This type of diabetes (i.e. Type 1) usually occurs in adolescents and typically require daily insulin shots to counter spiking blood sugar levels.
- Type-2 Diabetes
Also called adult-onset diabetes, this is a chronic condition which affects the pancreatic beta cells. In this case, the cells still produce insulin, but there is interference in the way the body processes, uptake and utilizes blood glucose.
This type of Diabetes is responsible for 95% of all diabetes cases and is caused by the inability of the body to produce enough insulin (a hormone responsible for the uptake and utilization of glucose by the body cells), or the body resisting the effects of insulin.
Some of the major complications associated with diabetes mellitus are:
- Retinopathy leading to blindness
- Foot ulcers resulting in limb amputation.
- Neuropathy resulting in nerve pain.
- Nephropathy which can result in end-stage kidney disease.
Recent studies have shown that although Diabetes cannot be cured, the condition can only be permanently managed, which can be a source of the financial burden for the sufferer and their family members. However, if recognized early, type 2 diabetes can be reversed with a lifestyle adjustment.
In the management of diabetes, several methods have been employed to reach the ultimate goal, which is to reach a state of normoglycemia, that is, regulate the blood glucose level to normal levels as opposed to the hyperglycemia (high) or hypoglycemia (low) seen in diabetes.
What Is Eucalyptus?
Eucalyptus which is also called Blue Gum or stringy bark tree, is a genus of above 700 species of flowering trees, shrubs, and mallees in the myrtle family native and adapted to Australia and its forest wildfires. Along with a few other genera in the tribe Eucalypteae, these trees are commonly known as eucalyptus.
Eucalyptus trees, shrubs or mallees consists of :
- Barks that can either be fibrous, smooth, hard or otherwise stringy.
- Leaves that usually hang downwards, and also contains copious oil glands which are characteristic of the genus.
- Petals and sepals that are usually fused to form a “cap” or shaped to look like a speculum over the fluffy “stamen” which may be white, yellow, pink or red.
- The fruit has a woody capsule, usually referred to as gumnut.
Because it is a fast-growing plant, Eucalyptus has been grown in many other countries for their valuable timber, pulp, production of honey, or essential oils. However, Eucalyptus is also highly flammable and has therefore been removed from some countries.
Tip: Here are the best essential oils for diabetes.
Eucalyptus oil is the colorless or pale yellow liquid essential oil extract prepared from the leaves of the Eucalyptus globulus tree also called “Blue Gum”.
The essential oil has an aromatic odour and a pungent taste. The active ingredient in eucalyptus oil is “eucalyptus or 1-8 cineol and alpha-pinene, acting as a strong antioxidant”.
Eucalyptus Oil Health Benefits
Eucalyptus oil has a broad-spectrum antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties, and used as a remedy to treat common diseases and conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, nasal congestion, arthritis, skin ulcers, and, as a tick repellent.
Some of the health benefits of using eucalyptus oil also include:
- For Ease of Cough And Cold Symptoms
For many years, eucalyptus oil has been used traditionally to relieve cough symptoms. Eucalyptus oil vapour when inhaled serves as an expectorant, helping to reduce and loosen mucus, providing the much-needed relief.
- Treatment of Bad Breaths And Dental Plaques
Because of its very active antibacterial properties, eucalyptus oil when properly diluted can be used as a weapon against germs responsible for bad breath and those that cause tooth decay and plaque build-up. Some toothpaste and mouthwashes contain eucalyptol
which promotes oral health and freshens breath.
- For Ease of Joint Pain
Eucalyptus oil has been used to soothe the joint pain associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. It has also been used to reduce pain from a back injury or for those recovering from joint or muscle injury.
- An Insect Repellent
For spending summer nights out, eucalyptus essential oil when properly diluted can be used to effectively keep the bugs away.
- Treatment of Diabetes
Some studies have shown that eucalyptus leaf contains some chemicals that might just help in controlling blood sugar. In contrast, the eucalyptus oil contains a chemical that helps with pain and inflammation, with some antibacterial and anti-fungal activities, making it an important plant in the fight against diabetes.
Other Uses of Eucalyptus Oil
Other uses of eucalyptus oil include:
- Treatment of gingivitis
- For respiratory health benefits
- Used in diffusers for aromatherapy.
- Treatment of head lice and toenail fungus.
- Treatment of Liver and gall bladder conditions.
- As a myorelaxant and promote emotional stability
Precautions When Using Eucalyptus Oil
The use of eucalyptus oil for any health benefit should be recommended and closely monitored by your physician. It should never be used directly on the skin or ingested at its full strength undiluted.
It should be properly diluted with carrier oils such as coconut oil, almond, avocado oil, olive oil, to reduce the risk of skin irritation, and avoid severe drug interaction and allergic reactions such as
- Shortness of breath
- Abdominal pain
- Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea
- Multiple organs’ failure
- Blue discoloration of the skin
- Low blood pressure
- Nervous symptoms
Eucalyptus oil should not be used or ingested by pregnant women or children because of its risk of serious side effects.
How Eucalyptus Oil Effects Diabetes?
For many years, essential oil from plants has served as an invaluable element of natural healing.
Although incurable, several methods have been used in the management of diabetes including change in lifestyle and diet, exercise, daily insulin injection and so on. One such method is the use of essential oils to help in reducing the aggravation of the condition.
Several studies have also shown that eucalyptus oil effectively regulates blood glucose level while also helping to maintain pain and inflammation, making it important for the management of diabetes.
What Does Research Say About Eucalyptus Oil?
The increase in the number of people living with diabetes worldwide is alarming and has been a major cause of concern.
Added to this, conventional modern therapy available for the management of diabetes have severe adverse effects for its users.
This led to a series of studies seeking an alternative medicine that has less adverse effects and easy to use for the management of the condition. One of such alternatives is the use of herbs in the management of diabetes.
The versatility of herbs, ease of access, affordability, effectivity, and profound pharmacological activity and their ready use as a dietary adjuvant, have made WHO recommend its use in the management of diabetes. One of such herbs of interest is the Eucalyptus plant.
In traditional medicine, many different cultures have used eucalyptus leaves and its oil to regulate blood glucose level in diabetic patients.
Although there are over 500 species of the Eucalyptus tree, Eucalyptus globulus is the main source of the global production of the eucalyptus oil.
This essential oil rose to popularity due to its active pharmacological uses including but not excluded to antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties.
Despite its proven traditional use, it is imperative to confirm its pharmacological activity to ensure that the oil can really be used in the management of diabetes.
Tip: You should avoid these essential oils if you have diabetes.
Pharmacological Profiling of Eucalyptus
The eucalyptus oil has both volatile and non-volatile fractions, most of which consists of terpenoids which imparts the odour characteristic of the Eucalyptus plant.
However, the chief constituent of eucalyptus oil is the 1-8 cineol which comprises at least 70% of the oil component.
The most important therapeutic intervention of eucalyptus oil in the treatment of diabetes is the reduction or management of postprandial hyperglycemia – a physiological increase in blood glucose level after a meal.
This essential oil had the ability of the to inhibit enzymes responsible for hydrolyzing carbohydrates (alpha-amylase, alpha-glucosidase).
One of the complications of diabetes, Diabetic cataract, is caused by the increased intracellular accumulation of sorbitol.
Because of the failure of insulin to utilize glucose, it is reduced to sorbitol through the polyol pathway, this accumulation creates a hyperosmotic effect resulting in the opacity of the lens and subsequently, cataracts.
One of the components extracted from eucalyptus is the Aldo- reductase (AR) inhibitor, AR, which is the first and rate-limiting enzyme responsible for the reduction of glucose to sorbitol. AR-inhibitors present in the eucalyptus oil, prevents this conversion thereby are able to control the diabetic cataract complication associated with diabetes.
It is postulated that eucalyptus oil also contains antioxidants which are responsible for scavenging free radicals with their hypoglycemic activity and reduce oxidative stress causing an overall anti-diabetic action.
Can Eucalyptus Be Taken Orally?
Research supports the use of eucalyptus as a dietary supplement because of its effective anti-hyperglycemia properties in a dose-dependent manner.
It should, however, be noted that there are limited studies on the possible toxicology profile of eucalyptus and taking the essential oil orally in its undiluted form is not recommended.
Allergic reactions such as shock, tremor, dizziness, ataxia, diarrhoea, pustules rash, have been observed with the use of eucalyptus as well as serious adverse interactions with other drugs.
Use of eucalyptus is contraindicated in pregnancy, lactation, and for children because of the scarce studies available on its effects.
Tip: Here are the best essential oils for lightheadedness and dizziness.
How Eucalyptus Oil Effects High Blood Pressure?
Eucalyptus oil is not only used in the management of diabetes, but it also has various other functions, including its effectiveness at management and treatment of pain, swelling and inflammation, associated with other health conditions, one of which is osteoarthritis.
Osteoarthritis is a chronic musculoskeletal disorder, causing pain, inflammation, swelling, and reduce the quality of life and restricts activity.
The major component of eucalyptus oil 1-8 cineol, has a morphine-like activity, which, when inhaled in the oil, helps to effectively reduce pain, and inflammation and also lower blood pressure, and promote relaxation.
Inhalation of eucalyptus oil can be used effectively in the management of hypertension (high blood pressure) which if left untreated, can lead to stroke, heart attack and even death.
The use of eucalyptus oil should be recommended and closely monitored and it is contraindicated in pregnancy, lactation, small children, and for people with low blood pressure.
Estimated to affect 366 million people worldwide by 2030, diabetes is a frightening scourge, and it is important to have an increase in diabetes under permanent control. Since the use of synthetic drugs has some undesirable effects, the use of the more affordable natural herbs has been explored, especially the use of plant extracts such as its oil.
The use of essential oils has been around for centuries and used in the treatment of various medication conditions and also used to improve emotional stability in aromatherapy. Essential oils are also used in lowering of high blood pressure associated with conditions such as osteoarthritis.