Can Eucalyptus Essential Oil Help Manage Symptoms Of Diabetes?

Diabetes is the world's ninth leading cause of death, and cases are mounting, with 1.5 million deaths in 2019, as reported by the World Health Organization. As the number of diabetes patients increases, safer and more efficient treatments may be needed in order to help stem the progression of diabetes in world populations. 

Several essential oils show some promise for effective use in diabetes management, and several studies have successfully analyzed eucalyptus essential oils for their antidiabetic effects.

A 2010 study in the Iranian Biomedical Journal notes that traditional medicine practices throughout Africa, Iran, and South America have used the prolific evergreen for medicinal purposes, including the treatment of diabetes.

The study provided some support to traditional medicine's use of eucalyptus for medicinal purposes when the results showed that it improved Candidia infections in diabetic rats. So, does this mean that eucalyptus essential oil can help manage symptoms of diabetes in humans?

Eucalyptus essential oil might help treat diabetes symptoms

Scientific American explains essential oils are created using steam or applied pressure to extract the essence of plants as oils from roots, seeds, leaves, or flowers, generally fragrant ones. The plant's natural chemicals give a distinct odor or flavor. Diluted oils are applied to the skin, smelled, or dispersed into the air. They are not to be swallowed.

Essential oils can be found everywhere, from soaps and perfumes to Vick's Vaporub, which contains eucalyptus, cedar, nutmeg, and other oils. Because of the popularity of essential oils for use in treating symptoms of anxiety, stress, insomnia, migraines, and memory, more evidence showing the ability of essential oils to treat symptoms of a variety of conditions is needed. 

Research on eucalyptus essential oils for diabetes has been ongoing for more than a decade. And according to Essential Oils, the potential benefits of essential oils, including eucalyptus, are becoming more evident. In studies, certain types of eucalyptus have exhibited effects against diabetes and other medical conditions on the WHO's list of top 10 killer diseases. Research suggests that eucalyptus oil may exert antidiabetic actions, at least in mice.

Eucalyptus essential oil might have antidiabetic properties

One 2015 study published in Advances in Pharmacological Sciences found that Eucalyptus extract increased glucose uptake in vitro. The results also showed that eucalyptus essential oils improved glucose tolerance and reduced fasting glycemia and insulin resistance in diabetic mice.

A 2014 study in the World Journal of Diabetes found that the polyphenols and flavonoids in some species of eucalyptus had the potential to inhibit enzymes that play a role in type 2 diabetes.

And a 2019 review showed that eucalyptus extract significantly reduced blood glucose levels in diabetic rats. The review also notes that conventional antidiabetic drugs come with side effects. 

When used properly, essential oils come with relatively few side effects, other than the estrogen-like effects of lavender and tea tree oils, which may influence breast enlargement in pre-pubescent boys when used over extended periods (per Scientific American).

More human research is needed to determine if eucalyptus essential oil can help manage symptoms of diabetes, and if so, to what extent. But animal and laboratory studies, and subjective human experience, indicate this research could open the door to natural remedies that may help treat diabetes without the risk of side effects for most patients.