Research suggests that there are some essential oils for neuropathy that can greatly help.
“These oils, which contain concentrated plant extracts, may help reduce pain resulting from inflammation and nerve damage…
However, much of the available research comes from animal models and individual case studies”, according to The Medical News Today.
Neuropathic pain is a physical ailment produced by total or partial damage to the nervous system. It can have very different symptoms: from extreme tactile sensitivity to difficulty and pain in muscles and joints when performing a certain movement or simply when at rest.
Neuropathy is a general term for conditions that develop as a result of nerve damage. One of the most common neuropathy forms is diabetic peripheral neuropathy, which occurs in up to 50% of people with diabetes.
Peripheral neuropathy usually affects a person’s hand and feet. It can cause pain, tingling, and numbness. Other types of neuropathy can also develop in people with diabetes.
Some other common causes of neuropathic pain include alcoholism, amputation, chemotherapy, facial nerve problems, HIV infection, multiple myeloma, multiple sclerosis, compression of nerves or spinal cord by herniated discs, spine arthritis, herpes, spinal surgery, syphilis, thyroid problems.
Low back pain
A 2011 study compared the effectiveness of Swedish massage with aromatic ginger oil to traditional Thai massage in 130 older adults with chronic low back pain.
Although both treatments improved symptoms, the Swedish massage with aromatic ginger oil was more effective than the Thai massage in reducing pain and disability.
However, researchers have not yet investigated the use of ginger oil for the specific treatment of neuropathic pain.
Ginger oil contains a compound called zingibain, which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Zingibain, therefore, can help reduce neuropathic pain that results from inflammatory conditions.
Borneol is a compound found in chamomile and lavender essential oils; both can reduce pain and inflammation related to neuropathy. A 2013 study found that borneol reduced pain sensitivity in mice with neuropathic pain.
Essential mint oil is known to relax the muscles, control muscle spasms, and act as an analgesic. Researchers in a 2001 study found that topical peppermint oil helped a 73-year-old woman treat neuralgia.
The patient had been resistant to other standard therapies, but observed almost immediate pain relief after applying topical peppermint oil.
Lavender essential oil is known to improve sleep and act as a pain reliever, according to French experts in aromatherapy. In a 2015 study, lavender was found to have a calming and relaxing effect on laboratory animals.
The experts confirmed that the extract of the lavender plant produces an anti-convulsive and anti-spasmodic effect.
It is advisable to buy only essential oils from reputable manufacturers and follow instructions carefully. Aromatherapy involves the use of essential oils, either in a diffuser or in a massage.
Manufacturers usually provide instructions on dilution and safe use. If you suffer from allergic reactions or skin irritations, it is best to test the oil before use.
Frequently Asked Questions
How to use essential oils for neuropathy?
One of the most effective methods when using essential oils for neuropathy is through aromatherapy. Its application is made through a diffuser, diluted with water that you can spray all over the house.
It can also be used in a massage by applying it directly to the affected area. In these cases, dilute the essential oil with coconut, almond, or olive oil.
Are essential oils risky for patients with neuropathy?
Those who have undergone natural treatments with essential oils for neuropathy have been satisfied. However, doubts may arise due to weak research or studies that revolve around these products.
What exactly is neuropathy?
It’s a communication problem between the brain and the nervous system. When obstructed or affected, the impulses between both elements are not executed properly. The damage can occur in a single nerve or a group of them.
Uses and benefits of essential oils
Essential oils have an infinite number of uses. If you have decided to turn your life to natural remedies, use essential oils to the best of your ability. You can use them for aromatic purposes or on your skin.
It is important to note that you can obtain different benefits depending on the use you decide to give them.
If you decide to use the essential oil topically, it will benefit your body and mind. It can relieve pain and give you a good night’s sleep. These would be a few uses and benefits of essential oils.
Essential oils for neuropathy in people with Diabetes
Because of their strong analgesic and calming properties, essential oils positively impact neuropathy treatment in patients with diabetes.
Essential oils have been known for their therapeutic properties for hundreds of years. They are recognized for their ability to improve physical and mental well-being, especially for certain conditions.
Therefore, their use as a complement to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes is quite common.
This condition is a serious complication characterized by progressive nerve damage from high blood sugar levels. It may be asymptomatic but usually causes numbness, pain, and other discomforts in the extremities. Also, in severe cases, it compromises digestive and heart health.
How can essential oils help? Although more scientific evidence is needed to confirm their effects, some studies suggest that their application as part of treatment may help minimize some of these symptoms. See below for details.
What is diabetic neuropathy?
Neuropathy is caused by damage to nerve cells from high glucose levels.
Before going into detail about how essential oils help treat neuropathy in people with diabetes, it is essential to clarify this problem’s basics. As we have already mentioned, it is a serious and frequent complication of type 1 and 2 diabetes.
It is caused by high glucose levels in the blood over the long term, especially when there is a lack of adequate control. As a result, the nerves are damaged, and the affected areas start to show pain, numbness, and many other symptoms that tend to worsen.
Even when the condition is severe and prolonged, patients are vulnerable to hard-to-treat injuries and infections. Because of the poor healing that results from glucose dyscontrol, these cases can end in amputation.
Types of diabetic neuropathy
The term neuropathy is used to refer to various types of nerve damage. In the case of patients with diabetes, four main types of neuropathy can be distinguished:
- Peripheral Neuropathy: This is the most common form. It mainly affects the feet and legs, but in rare cases, it can also involve the arms and hands
- Autonomic neuropathy: affects the autonomic nervous system. Therefore, it leads to digestion problems, cardiovascular diseases, and sexual dysfunctions
- Mononeuropathy: also called focal neuropathy. It occurs when there is damage to a specific nerve or group of nerves, causing weakness in the affected area. It usually affects the hand, head, torso, and legs
- Proximal neuropathy: This is a rare form of neuropathy. It often affects the hips, buttocks, and thighs, causing sudden pain and muscle weakness
Causes of diabetic neuropathy
Strict control of blood glucose during diabetes is necessary to avoid neuropathy.
Patients with diabetes are susceptible to some form of neuropathy due to high blood sugar levels.
The risk is higher when the problem is not controlled for a long period of time. Other factors that affect its development are:
- Damage to blood vessels due to high cholesterol levels
- Mechanical injuries, such as those caused by carpal tunnel syndrome
- Bad habits, such as smoking and drinking
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
Symptoms of diabetic neuropathy
The symptoms of neuropathy vary in each patient, according to the nerves affected. In most cases, the first affected area is the feet.
Where discomfort such as pricks and pain, can be perceived. Other clinical manifestations are:
- Sensitivity to touch
- Loss of sense of touch
- Coordination problems when walking (try balance exercises)
- Numbness sensation or pain in the hands or feet
- Burning in the feet, especially at night
- Muscle weakness
- Swelling or fullness
- Nausea, indigestion, or vomiting
- Diarrhea or Constipation
- Dizziness and excessive sweating
- Bladder problems, such as incomplete emptying
- Vaginal dryness
- Erectile Dysfunction
- Vision problems, such as double vision
- Increased heart rate
How do essential oils help treat neuropathy in people with diabetes?
The anti-inflammatory effects of some essential oils may help mitigate the symptoms of diabetic neuropathy.
Essential oils are used in natural medicine as allies to relieve various symptoms and health problems. Their use, especially in aromatherapy, may speed up the recovery period for certain conditions. They can also help provide relief:
- Cuts, scratches, and infections
- Hormonal imbalances
- States of stress, tension, and anxiety
- Sleep problems
In this particular case, they can make a good complement to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes. In fact, their benefits include pain relief and improved digestion. How do they work?
Essential oils for diabetic neuropathy
Peppermint, chamomile, and lavender essential oils may be beneficial in treating neuropathy in people with diabetes. Although more research is needed to evaluate their effects, risks, and benefits, some have found relief from this treatment.
- Peppermint: has a mild analgesic effect that helps reduce pain. Also, it acts as a muscle relaxant and promotes digestive relief
- Roman Chamomile: a study conducted in 2012 concluded that this plant could help treat inflammatory disorders. It even helps to combat oxidative stress
- Lavender: Known for its relaxing and analgesic action, lavender is another essential oil for treating neuropathy in people with diabetes. Its properties improve sleep quality, relax the muscles and reduce pain
How to use these oils?
The administration of essential oils can be done in several ways. They are normally used topically for pain relief, always diluted in a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil. This prevents the pure essential oil from causing skin irritation.
Another way to use them is by diluting a small amount in bathwater. This allows their aromatic properties and, in turn, the components absorbed through the skin to be used.
Both solutions can minimize some of the symptoms associated with nerve damage.
BONUS: Why coconut oil is my favorite!
1. HOMEMADE MOISTURIZER
I use coconut oil for hydration in two different ways:
A) Plain: I have a container of pure coconut oil in the bathroom, and I use it as a whole body moisturizer – I literally pour it all over me
B) Facial moisturizer: To help keep my face clean and hydrated, I invented my own facial moisturizer with melaleuca oil. I add approximately 10 drops of melaleuca oil to a small container of coconut oil and mix it. I use this mixture every morning and every night after washing my face. Melaleuca oil is a natural cleanser, so it helps keep your face clean and pimple-free!
Forget about all the creams, foams, and shaving potions sold at the supermarket.
I keep a small bottle of pure coconut oil in the shower, and when I have to shave any part of my body, I apply some, shave and then rinse with water. You get a clean, moisturized shave.
3. IN THE COFFEE
For optimal health, you are supposed to ingest about 1 teaspoon of coconut oil a day (see below for why). And an easy way to do this is by adding half a spoonful to some coffee.
Another advantage is that coconut oil’s addition makes the coffee less bitter, and therefore much more appetizing without sugar. So try it; it can help you kick that nasty sugar habit.
4. HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE
There is honestly nothing better than homemade coconut oil chocolate. It is a delicious and healthy sweet!
5. MOSQUITO BITES
I don’t know why this works; maybe it’s psychological; but when I have mosquito bites that bother me, I put on some oil and ta-da! The itching stops.
6. COUGH SYRUP
I recently had a fatal cough. Because of my aversion to medical appointments and love for coconut oil, I decided to do some research and found a wonderful solution.
Honey, lemon, coconut oil, a teaspoon of all, and mix it in hot water to make a tasty syrup. You can also take a spoonful of coconut oil and honey without the water, which helps a lot.
Essential oils for neuropathy: Risks and warnings
The effectiveness of using essential oils to treat neuropathy in people with diabetes may vary. Since more evidence is required to prove their action, likely, they will not work the same in all patients. However, it is essential to ensure that you use 100% pure essential oils.
There are some low-quality oils on the market that do not provide the same benefits. It is also essential to ensure the quality of carrier oils. To avoid allergic reactions, the idea is to test the product on a small area of skin.
If you notice outbreaks, swelling, or red spots, discontinue use. In the case of pregnancy, a doctor should be consulted before use.
Finally, remember that they should not be ingested for any reason.