Sunday, November 6, 2022 - 19:51

November 6, 2022

Diabetes mellitus is affecting the health of millions. Diabetes can result in long-term microvascular and macrovascular complications. Diabetic peripheral neuropathy (DPN) is one of the most common and painful microvascular complications. Poorly controlled diabetes often leads to disability.  Since diabetic neuropathy   has severe consequences, including impaired balance and gait, loss of sensation in the feet, severe injuries, diabetic foot ulcers, and lower-limb amputations, it is a significant challenge to the healthcare system. Neuropathic pain is considered one of the most debilitating neuropathy symptoms. Numerous studies have demonstrated that chronic painful diabetic neuropathy causes an impaired quality of life with declined physical activity, sleep disturbances, anxiety, depression, social isolation, and decreased adherence to management.

In order to manage neuropathic pain, a combination of common pharmacological and non-pharmacological methods has been used. These therapies are partially successful in relieving neuropathic pain relief; however, they can lead to many side effects, such as dizziness, drowsiness, mood disturbance, and constipation. Today, complementary therapy is widely used worldwide. It has become popular because of the patients' dissatisfaction with conventional medical treatments, low adverse effects, feasibility, and safety compared to modern medicine.

Aromatherapy is one of the common methods in complementary medicine where essential oils therapeutically used are prepared from the roots, flowers, leaves, and stems of aromatic plants. Aromatherapy is used as a patient-centered and holistic approach in many countries. Various aromatic oils are used in aromatherapy, including lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary, and geranium. Lavender essential oil is widely used in aromatherapy for its anti-inflammatory, analgesic, sedative, and anti-anxiety features and to increase well-being effects. Linalool and linalyl acetate of lavender oil have high absorption properties in the bloodstream during the massage. Linalool demonstrates sedative effects, and linalyl acetate shows marked narcotic actions. It is believed that inhaled aroma molecules are absorbed through the nasal mucosa and converted to nervous signals in the olfactory bulb, and the limbic system, amygdala, produces therapeutic effects by releasing neurotransmitters, including endorphins, enkephalin, and serotonin. Aromatic lavender oil was reported to be helpful in pain relief.

A single-blind, randomized and controlled clinical trial evaluated the benefits of lavender essential oil for diabetic neuropathy. Participants were randomly assigned to three groups: lavender essential oil massage, sunflower oil massage, and control (no intervention). Participants in the lavender group received a gentle foot massage with 2.5 mL of 3% lavender (mixed in sunflower oil) from the knee down ten minutes every night before bed. The placebo group applied 2.5 mL of sunflower oil in the same manner each night. The lavender group experienced significant pain reductions in the short- and long-term compared to placebo and control. Additionally, the lavender group had an improved quality of life after four weeks of intervention without side effects.