November is Diabetes Month so to honor all of the people with diabetes and their struggles with the disease we decided to write an article involving evening primrose essential oil and children with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. Let’s discuss type one diabetes.
Diabetes mellitus type, or type one diabetes or T1DM (formerly known as insulin-dependent diabetes or juvenile diabetes) is usually diagnosed in children and young adults. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly sees the insulin-producing cells (beta cells) in the pancreas as foreign, and destroys them.
Scientists seem to think that both genetics and environmental triggers are involved and it does not have anything to do with diet or lifestyle. Unfortunately, there is no way of preventing type 1 diabetes and there is no cure. Onset is sudden causing dependence on injected or pumped insulin for life carrying the constant threat of devastating complications such as: kidney failure, blindness, nerve damage, heart attack, stroke, and pregnancy complications.
People with type 1 diabetes have to constantly factor and adjust, check blood sugar levels frequently by sticking their finger, and have to give themselves multiple daily insulin injections just to stay alive.
Evening primrose is native to North America and was brought to Europe in the 17th century. Native Americans consumed the leaves, roots, and seedpods as food and prepared extracts for use as a painkiller and asthma treatment. Modern benefits of evening primrose oil include treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, eczema, multiple sclerosis, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), cardiovascular disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, Raynaud’s syndrome, weight loss, and diabetes. Evening primrose is not used in traditional Chinese or Ayurvedic medicine.
Herbalists mainly use the flowers and the seeds. The oil from this plant is high in gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) and essential polyunsaturated fatty acid, which is converted into prostaglandins, hormones necessary for many bodily functions. Prostaglandins are synthesized from the fatty acids, linoleic and arachidonic acids, and are associated with increased platelet aggregation as has been found in blood from patients with diabetes mellitus. The increased prostaglandin synthesis may be related to a vascular problem (blood vessels that carry blood to and from the heart and can become blocked or weakened) which is a known occurrence in patients with diabetes. Let’s see what evening primrose has accomplished in this study. Researchers conducted a double-blind, placebo-controlled study to evaluate the efficacy of dietary supplementation of GLA from evening primrose essential oil on essential fatty acids and prostaglandin levels. In this study, 11 children with type one diabetes were divided into 2 groups one group received evening primrose oil capsules containing 45 mg of GLA and 360 mg of linoleic acid while the other group received indistinguishable placebo capsules both groups being administered 2 capsules daily for 4 months and then 4 capsules daily for another 4 months for a total of eight months.
Patients receiving 4 capsules daily of evening primrose oil experienced increased levels of dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid (DGLA) an essential fatty acid which produces anti-inflammatory effects and decreased levels of prostaglandins in comparison to the placebo group. These results suggest that two primary causes for heart disease brought on by diabetes may be reversed by evening primrose supplementation. Evening primrose oil for children also proved to be safe with little or no side effects. What a positive result to a wonderful study!