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According to the Centers for Disease Control, an estimated 37.3 million

Americans have diabetes, that’s about 11.3% of the entire population. On

top of that, another 96 million adults have prediabetes, making this one of the

single most damaging and prevalent diseases in the United States (1).

Unfortunately, the health issues related to diabetes are physiologically

widespread, affecting multiple organ systems. This results in an array of

uncomfortable and hard-to-treat symptoms that researchers at HCD Anti-

Aging Laboratories are working diligently to relieve. The Essential-Dm

Mani/PediPod manicure/pedicure formula, with ingredients supported by

research, is one treatment they have provided, specifically to support skin

ailments caused by diabetes.

Epidemiologic research has shown that in a whopping 79.2% of

individuals with diabetes, skin conditions will be present. This includes an

array of microbial skin infections and inflammatory skin diseases, as well as

chronically dry skin, all of which can result in uncomfortable and hard to treat

symptoms (2). Because diabetes is so hard to treat with success, finding

alternative ways to prevent and support these presentations can be essential

to maintaining the quality of life.

The Essential-Dm Mani/PediPod contains ingredients to nourish and protect

the skin with the goal of soothing current issues while preventing future

problems. By combining medical philosophies from both eastern and western

traditions, it has been designed to include green tea extracts, grape seed

extract, rosemary, arnica, vitamin E, and benzalkonium chloride, all of

which contain anti-inflammatory and/or antimicrobial properties.

A concern with diabetic patients is that when blood sugars are uncontrolled

long-term, peripheral circulation is reduced, and therefore so is the ability of

the skin to heal - in some cases, this can be so severe, that patients can lose

the limb. Green tea, containing a high relative content of an active

polyphenol known as epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, is one medicinal

herb that can combat some of these skin concerns, specifically by

supporting wound healing. Though the specific mechanisms are quite

complex, ECGC has been found to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory,

antimicrobial, angiogenic, and antifibrotic properties, which benefit all

stages of wound healing (homeostasis, inflammation, proliferation, and

remodeling). (3)

A 2019 animal study looked a little closer. They referenced the knowledge that

in mice with diabetes, the persistent inflammation in the later stages of wound

repair is specifically what delays healing. They found that ECGC, the active

constituent in green tea, was able to inhibit the accumulation of white

blood cells, the inflammatory cascade, and a specific signaling pathway

known as Notch-1. Therefore, they concluded that EGCG was a novel

potential medicine to treat chronic wounds, especially in diabetic patients. (4)

Grape seed extract, another ingredient of the Essential-Dm Mani/PediPod

formula, is also supported in the literature as a treatment for wound healing

and other diabetic complications. Though it is usually thought of as an oral

supplement, a 2014 study by Hemmati et al, showed it’s potential benefit

when applied topically. These researchers performed surgery on small skin

lesions, with the study group receiving 2% grape seed extract cream and the

controls receiving a placebo. After monitoring the healing process for 21 days,

they found that the treatment group had complete repair of wounds by day 8,

compared to day 14 in the control group, which was statistically significant.

They attributed this success to the ability of the grape seed extract to release

endothelial growth factors, therefore closing the wound and improving

circulation, as well as its ability as an antioxidant and antibacterial,

reducing inflammation and the risk of infection. (5) In diabetics, where

wounds go unnoticed and healing times are extended, this could be a novel

way to prevent complications.

Though rosemary is also known to improve wound healing, it has a bit more

of a broader spectrum when it comes to its actions on skin health. The ability

of its active constituents to act topically as an antioxidant and anti-

inflammatory has made it a commonly used herbal medicine both in the

pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries. For example, carnosic acid, one of

the active molecules in rosemary, was found to act as an anti-inflammatory,

specifically by mediating microcirculation – pharmaceutically, this would

improve healing and skin health; cosmetically, it would reduce redness,

swelling, and signs of aging. A comprehensive review of potential topical

applications also cited studies touting rosemary as an anti-fungal, a

protectant against UV damage, adjunctive treatment for skin cancers, a

possible treatment to improve the appearance of cellulite, and a possible

promoter of hair growth in individuals with alopecia. (6) All these potential

benefits is what led it to be added to the Essential-Dm Mani/PediPod


The last herb included in the formula is colloquially known as Arnica. Though

most commonly thought of as a strictly musculoskeletal herb, the actual

mechanisms behind why it works for strains, sprains, and bruising may

indicate significant implications on skin health. Much of arnica's success in

studies is attributed to its strong antioxidant activity, with one study

finding that at concentrations up to 100 mg/L, it possessed a significant

protective effect against hydrogen peroxide-induced oxidative stress

(inflammation), especially in skin cells. (7) In the skin of diabetics, an imbalance

of free radicals and antioxidants within the skin cells causes tissue damage

and delayed wound healing. (8) Therefore, supplying the strong

antioxidants from arnica to the skin causes an overall improvement in

tissue health, hydrating, protecting, and repairing the skin.

Herbs aren’t the only remedies that are in the Essential-Dm Mani/PediPod,

however. Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin known for its significant health

effects, has also been included. Like many of the herbs, much of vitamin E’s

popularity in dermatology and cosmetics is attributed to its antioxidant

properties. However, it also has the ability to moderate the biosynthesis of

collagen and glycosaminoglycans in the skin. Therefore, on top of supporting

wound healing, reducing inflammation, and hydrating the skin, it also

supports the integrity and strength of the skin itself. (9) This could prevent

known diabetic complications such as infection or ulcer formation. In addition

to these topical effects, vitamin E has shown to have neuroprotective and

cardioprotective effects when taken orally. Both circulatory and nerve

conduction issues occur in diabetics, especially when blood sugars are poorly

controlled. Theoretically, topical application of vitamin E could benefit

superficial nerves and microvasculature, improving outcomes with diabetics

experiencing complications. (10)

These natural compounds are combined with benzalkonium chloride, a

potent FDA-approved antimicrobial that is known to be minimally irritating

to the skin. Researchers have worked diligently to combine traditional

medicinal philosophies with modern medicine, providing a new, novel way to

support patients suffering from various skin conditions. The Essential-Dm

Mani/PediPod formula, containing green tea extracts, grape seed extract,

rosemary, arnica, and vitamin E, truly combines beauty with health,

specifically formulated with diabetic patients in mind, preventing and

aiming to heal painful, often debilitating symptoms.

Dr. Mary Hall, ND, LAc

Medical Writer and Medical Advisory Board


“Diabetes: National Diabetes Statistics Report.” Centers for Disease

Control and Prevention.


Duff, M., Demidova, O. Blackburn, S., Shubrook, J. 2015. Cutaneous

manifestations of diabetes mellitus. Clin Diabetes: 33(1): 40-48.

Xu, F., Lv, Y.L, Zhong, Y.F., Xue, Y.N., Wang, Y., Zhang, L.Y., Hu, X., Tan, W.Q.

2021. Beneficial effects of green tea ECGC on skin wound healing: a

comprehensive review. Molecules: 26(20): 6123.

Huang, Y.W., Zhu, Q.Q., Yang, X.Y., Xu, H.H., Sun, B., Wang, X.J., Sheng, J.

2019. Wound healing can be improved by (-)-epigallocatechin gallate

through targeting Notch in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice. FASEB J:

33(1): 953-964.

Hemmati, A.A., Foroozan, M., Houshmand, G., Moosavi, Z.B., Bahadoram,

M., Maram, N.S. 2014. The topical effect of grape seed extract 2% cream on

surgery wound healing. Glob J Health Sci: 7(3): 52-58.

De Macedo, L.M., dos Santos, E.M., Militao, L., Tundisi, LL, Ataide. J.A.,

Souto, E.B., Mazzola, P.G. 2020. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis L., syn

Salvia rosmarinus Spenn.) and its topical applications: a review. Plants

(Basel): 9(50: 651).

Craciunescu, O., Constantin, D., Gaspar, A., Torna, L, Utoiu, E., Moldovan,

L. 2012. Evaluation of antioxidant and cytoprotective activities of Arnica

montana L. and Artemisia absinthium L. ethanolic extracts.

Deng, L., Du, C., Song, P., Chen, T., Rui, S., Armstrong, D. Deng, W. 2021.

The role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in diabetic wound healing.

Oxid Med Cell Longev: ecollection. Mohammad Abid Keen and Iffat

Hassan. 2016. Vitamin E in dermatology. Indian Dermatol Online J: 7(4):


Zaffarin, A.S.M., Ng, S.F., Ng, M.H., Hassan, H., Ekram, A. 2020

.Pharmacology and pharmacokinetics of vitamin E: nanoformulations to

enhance bioavailability. Int J Nanomedicine: 15: 9961-9974.


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