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Could essential oils help people with diabetes?

Meet Elize Cloete, living with Type 1 diabetes and using essential oils to help her diabetes control. She’s answering the question: Could essential oils help people with diabetes?

A diabetes diagnosis in the 1990s

I was diagnosed in August of 1994, when I was only 5 years old. At the time, my mom had a friend whose daughter had diabetes, and our house doctor also had diabetes – so they
immediately could advise and send us in the right direction. My mom took a deep dive into learning about diabetes and attended a nursing course to find out more about how it
all works.

Treatment changes

Treatment back then was very different. We had to draw up insulin into an ‘old school’ needle from a vial, and a few years later we were introduced to the pens as we know them today.

I have been on pump therapy and CGM for the past 8 years. However, it has not been an easy journey.

I had diabetes burnout; going through phases of eating minimal amounts and deliberately not injecting (which I now recognise as a form of diabulimia), and completely rebelling against diabetes and the world as a teen.

This all led to me suffering from severe depression. But in recent years I have taken the decision to prioritize myself and my health. This has honestly been one of the best decisions I have made!

Where it all changed

I decided to choose things that could only benefit my health and to manage my diabetes journey as well as my future. So in May of 2020 when a friend of mine shared on her social media page about essential oils, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more. After doing some research, I finally took the dive in July 2020 and I have fallen in love with these small bottles from nature. That’s how I got introduced to a low tox lifestyle.

As a person with diabetes, I knew I wanted to make choices to boost my immunity and support my health by incorporating natural products.

Could essential oils help people with diabetes?

There are many essential oils on the market and not all of them are equal. I have chosen the therapeutic grade oils, which have been inspected for the quality and purity of the oil. There is basically an oil for almost every need on the market. And so when I started I got a bundle of 10 oils and a diffuser. Below is an example of three popular ways essential oils can be used:

  • Aromatically: includes diffusing or inhaling the essential oils.
  • Topically: includes making rollers for specific needs. My favourite rollers include a Wellness Roller and a Headache Roller. These rollers are specific essential oils blended
    with a carrier oil.
  • Internally includes supplements that have been formulated to include essential oils in them. By adding essential oils to supplements it increases the efficacy and bio availability in your body. I have integrated these supplements in my day-to-day life and have seen a tremendous improvement in my health and improvements in my blood sugar too.

Connect with Elize on Instagram @joilful_dreamer

The efficacy of essential oils for diabetes care

Meet Marie Pretorius, one of our community members. She shared some more information on how essential oils can help people with diabetes.

I really recommend essential oils available from doTERRA South Africa, as they are the gold standard, and the only oils to carry the Certified Pure Tested Grade certification.

Marie Pretorius

Managing diabetes and the side effects of the condition, as well as the side effects of the
associated medication are challenges that millions of people face on a daily basis. However,
with an open mind, some creative thinking and patience, you will find that there are natural
and safe options you can incorporate into your daily routine that could change the quality of
your life significantly.

Research on the use of essential oils is becoming more commonplace and the results are becoming available more readily. In short, whether your aim is weight loss or managing the symptoms of diabetes, science backs the use of natural, whole components to help your body heal. Let’s dive in and look at the most researched and potent oils you may want to start with.

How to use essential oils for people with diabetes:


  • Cinnamon: either whole, powder or oil have been found to have benefits for people with diabetes (and also for those with cardiovascular, metabolic and related conditions). All forms of cinnamon appear to lower blood sugar levels. This is a great example of what I call side-benefits! Because of their complex chemical structures, essential oils have more than one beneficial effect on the body.

    While there aren’t clear guidelines on how to use it most effectively, most sources agree that internal use is the best. Cinnamon bark oil is a really strong oil and you don’t need much to benefit from it. Mix it with another oil before ingesting or use it in recipes to get maximum benefit. Make sure you consult your doctor to help you monitor the effects of essential oils on your body. Everyone is different, so start small and discover what works best for you.



  • Cumin and Lime: this is another powerful plant combination. A double blind study in 2016 showed significant benefit by using these two compounds together in a weight loss routine. So add a couple of cumin seeds to your meals; not only will it taste fabulous, but you enjoy the physical benefits of it too. Using it as an essential oil will pack additional punch to your healthy living protocol. Lime essential oil is a wonderful addition to your daily water intake, or add it to a guacamole or curry.


  • Turmeric: has anti-inflammatory properties that support all the above body systems. When one starts to combine it with other powerful oils, you can help stabilise the gut, fight inflammation and regulate your body’s immunity. Naturally your skin will start to recover, sores will heal more quickly and your body won’t have to work as hard to heal itself.


  • Lavender: is one of the most important, well researched and beneficial oils that can help with feeling anxious or depressed. Not only does it help calm the mind, soothe the soul and facilitate good sleep, but it also helps your skin heal. Again we see multiple benefits in one beautiful oil. Combine it with myrrh in a topical blend for the best effect.

As an Emotional Aromatherapy Advisor, I have seen the power of emotional healing in my clients. It is also very rewarding to see the entire family benefiting from the wellbeing of a family member.

Connect with Marie on:
Facebook: marie.pretorius.9
Instagram: @aardaksent

Disclaimer: Please consult a medical professional for advice on medication.

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Gillian Fraser: my journey with Type 1 diabetes: Gillian tells us about her diagnosis, her attitude towards diabetes, and the tech that changed her life.

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Sweet Life is a registered NPO/PBO (220-984) with a single goal: to improve diabetes in South Africa. We are funded by sponsorships and donations from aligned companies and organisations who believe in our work. We only share information that we believe benefits our community. While some of this information is linked to specific brands, it is not an official endorsement of that brand. We believe in empowering people with diabetes to make the best decisions they can, to live a healthy, happy life with diabetes.