Essential oils are often touted as an alternative to medication. This is because many people report being healed from numerous conditions and experiencing a soothed body and mind.
Some people with diabetes have also reported finding relief from neuropathy using essential oils. Nerve damage or neuropathy is common in people with diabetes, and it can cause numbness and pain in the feet and legs. Although more research is needed, essential oils may help alleviate some symptoms.
However, please remember that essential oils are meant to be inhaled. They may also be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to the skin. Essential oils should not be consumed.
Essential oil benefits
Apart from its potential to offer relief from neuropathy, essential oils are also believed to alleviate stress, tension, or anxiety. Many also turn to essential oils to fall asleep faster and longer and purify indoor air. And because it can reduce stress levels, using essential oils may also result in balancing your hormones.
For people with neuropathy, benefits may include improved digestion besides pain relief.
Science on essential oils
There is existing but limited research that suggests the efficacy of lavender, peppermint, and Roman chamomile essential oils to relieve nerve pain.
Lavender is widely known for its ability to improve sleep. It's also said to be effective as a pain reliever. In a 2014 study, the researchers found that lavender produces an anti-spasm and anticonvulsant effect.
Peppermint is said to relieve pain, relax muscles, and even control muscle spasms. In 2002, researchers conducted a study that looked into the role of peppermint essential oils in treating neuralgia—a painful neurological disorder. They found that topical application helped a 76-year-old woman find relief from neuralgia. She had been resistant to conventional treatments but found almost immediate relief that lasted four to six hours after topical application of peppermint oil.
Roman chamomile is also another muscle-soother. In a 2014 study, the researchers found that the essential oil may benefit those with inflammation disorders. Chamomile was also found to reduce oxidative stress.
It's also quite common to mix essential oils. For example, in 2010, researchers looked into the effects of a homeopathic topical oil mixture against foot pain caused by peripheral neuropathy. The oil mixture contained eucalyptus, geranium, tea tree, lavender, and bergamot essential oils. Within 30 minutes of receiving the treatment, 56 out of 60 study participants reported a reduction in pain.
Despite the glowing findings, please always remember that more research is needed to fully assess essential oils' potential efficacy, benefits, and risks.
Essential oils for diabetic nerve pain
Apply essential oils topically. But remember to add one ounce of carrier oil—like olive or coconut oil—to every 12 drops of essential oil. Doing so can prevent any possible skin irritation from developing. If you prefer taking baths, you can also add a small amount of essential oil.
You can also diffuse essential oils into the air. This method may help relieve symptoms associated with neuropathy, like anxiety, insomnia, and stress.
However, since essential oils aren't regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it's best to test diluted essential oils on a small patch of your skin first, like the area inside your elbow or wrists. If red patches, breakouts, or itchiness develop, discontinue use.What do you think about using essential oils to treat neuropathy? Have you tried this before?