Essential oils for digestion have been touted in recent months for their ability to reduce a myriad of digestive ills from bloating to nausea, but which one is a good essential oil to go with if you have trouble matching an oil with your symptoms?
Today, we’re going to dive into my top tried and true essential oils for digestive issues (and essential oil blends) and how to use them.
But, before we begin, we need to cover an important reason why MOST people experience digestive problems.
A Bit About How The Sympathetic State Affects Digestion and Why You Want to Avoid it
Did you know that it’s not only what we eat that affects our digestion but also our ability to digest, absorb, assimilate, and eliminate food?
For optimal digestion, the body must be in a state of “rest and digest” also known as the parasympathetic state.
Once in this state, we are able to enjoy food and eat in reverence. This means that we’re relaxed and focus on chewing properly, eating at a comfortable pace, and truly enjoying our food.
Unfortunately, with the average lunch break being only 30 minutes, most of us feel rushed and tend to wolf down our food before getting back to the grind.
This rushed and stressed out state of mind is known as the sympathetic state, which is a bit ironic because who doesn’t sympathize with people who have to eat in a hurry?
If you’re one of them or have been there before then you know how uncomfortable it is after the fact.
You only have X amount of time so you’re rushing to decide what to eat for lunch. You’re probably pretty hungry because you didn’t have time for breakfast that morning so you’re not capable of making the healthiest choices (I’m totally guilty of this).
Once you get your food, you eat quickly and forget to chew your food properly.
After your meal, you feel heavy and bloated and maybe even a bit sleepy. You don’t even want to think about how you’re going to feel later.
The sympathetic state literally shuts down your digestive system by pulling blood away from the midsection.
This makes the digestive tract more sluggish and can cause digestion to slow down leading to bloating, flatulence, indigestion, and abdominal pain, and other digestive problems.
Some symptoms of eating in a stressed state include:
- Acid reflux
- Stomach cramps
- Intestinal pain
- Upset stomach
- Abdominal discomfort
While many of us have trouble avoiding this scenario, we can make things better – you guessed it, with essential oils!
Essential Oils for Digestion
Of course, there are several ways to improve your digestion and get into that parasympathetic state.
Try the following tips for improved digestion:
• Sit upright and relax
• Practice mindful breathing
• Stop thinking about work or other stressful situations
• Eat slowly
• Chew well
• TASTE your food – revere it!
It can definitely be a challenge to relax fully for meals, so be sure to try your best to prepare for them.
Try the following relaxation techniques before meals:
• Preparing your lunch ahead of time
• Choose healthy options for meals and snacks
• Make sure your meal is conveniently packed with all necessary utensils, napkins, a drink, and condiments you need so you can grab it and go relax
• Find somewhere peaceful to eat if you can
Top 21 Essential Oils for Digestion and Bloating
1. Basil Essential Oil
Commonly used for – upset stomach, intestinal cramping, abdominal spasms, gas, bloating, flatulence. (get basil essential oil HERE)
2. Bergamot Essential Oil
Commonly used for – gas and bloating, cramping, sour stomach. (get bergamot essential oil HERE)
3. Caraway Essential Oil
Commonly used for – dyspepsia (general symptoms of indigestion),gas, bloating, digestive spasms, poor appetite, cramping, colic. (get caraway essential oil HERE)
4. Cardamom Essential Oil
Commonly used for – nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness, heartburn, abdominal cramping, diarrhea. (get cardamom essential oil HERE)
5. Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil
Commonly used for – stagnant digestion, constipation, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, intestinal spasms. (get cinnamon leaf essential oil HERE)
6. Coriander Essential Oil
gas, bloating, flatulence, indigestion, diarrhea. (get corriander essential oil HERE)
7. Cumin Essential Oil
Commonly used for – constipation, bloating, flatulence, cramping, nausea. (get cumin essential oil HERE)
8. Fennel Essential Oil
Commonly used for – gas, bloating, flatulence, loss of appetite, intestinal cramping, constipation, diarrhea, nervous digestion. (get fennel essential oil HERE)
9. Galangal Essential Oil
Commonly used for – motion and travel sickness, sour stomach, nausea. (get galangal essential oil HERE)
10. Ginger Essential Oil
Commonly used for – loss of appetite, upset stomach, gas, bloating, nausea, motion sickness, overindulgence, diarrhea. (get ginger essential oil HERE)
11. Lemon Essential Oil
Commonly used for – indigestion,loss of appetite, motion sickness. (get lemon essential oil HERE)
12. Lime Essential Oil
Commonly used for – resetting the parasympathetic state, stimulates the vagus nerve, promotes balanced digestion. (get distilled lime essential oil HERE)
13. May Chang Essential Oil (aka Litsea cubeba)
Commonly used for – poor appetite, indigestion, sour stomach, stomach ache, nausea. (get may chang essential oil HERE)
14. Melissa Essential Oil
Commonly used for – dyspepsia, colic, gas, flatulence, nausea. (get melissa essential oil HERE)
15. Parsley Essential Oil
Commonly used for – halitosis (bad breath), dyspepsia, gas, colic. (get parsley essential oil HERE)
16. Patchouli Essential Oil
Commonly used for – vomiting. (get patchouli essential oil HERE)
17. Peppermint Essential Oil
Commonly used for – gas, bloating, intestinal spasms, travel sickness, food poisoning, colic, upset stomach, nausea, cramping, heartburn, IBS symptoms. (get peppermint essential oil HERE)
18. Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Commonly used for – stress-related digestive problems, gas, bloating. (get roman chamomile essential oil HERE)
19. Spearmint Essential Oil
Commonly used for – nausea, vomiting, food poisoning, dyspepsia, gas. (get spearmint essential oil HERE)
20. Star Anise Essential Oil
Commonly used for – gas, bloating, flatulence, nausea, dyspepsia, abdominal cramping. CANNOT be used during pregnancy! (get star anise essential oil HERE)
21. Sweet Marjoram Essential Oil
Commonly used for – GI disorders, abdominal cramping, constipation, gas. (get sweet marjoram essential oil HERE)
3 Essential Oil Blends for Digestive Support
Parasympathetic Essential Oil Blend
In my experience, I have found the best combination to be clove and lime.
I know I sound like a broken record about this combo but it’s amazing! All you have to do is make a roll on with equal parts clove and lime essential oil.
I usually do 5 drops of each in a roll-on bottle because it lasts a long time.
You can also dilute it by filling the rest of the roll on bottle with a carrier oil like sweet almond, fractionated coconut, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, etc.
You can also get this blend already made here.
This blend works so well because it triggers your digestive system into gear.
Here’s what this blend of essential oils does:
1. Triggers the release of saliva
2. Increases stomach acid
3. The pancreas releases enzymes
4. The gallbladder releases bile
5. The small intestine increases its enzymatic activity and nutrients are better absorbed
6. Elimination becomes easier
Pretty amazing right? And all you have to do is put a small drop right behind the ear above the jawbone before meals.
This is called the vagal nerve. Always test it out on your wrist first to make sure your body is ok with the straight blend. If not, wash it off and dilute it as described above.
As a bonus, this blend also helps with anxiety, depression, and headaches!
Healthy Gut Essential Oil Blend
Another awesome blend for digestive support is a mix of tarragon, ginger, peppermint, juniper, fennel, lemongrass, anise, and patchouli.
All of these essential oils have an affinity for stimulating healthy digestion.
Mix 7 drops of each essential oil in a roll-on bottle. Top it off with carrier oil and test it out on your inner wrist to make sure the strength is agreeable. If not, halve the amount of drops for each oil.
This blend is amazing when applied in a clockwise ring around the navel. Apply it before meals or when your digestive health feels less than optimal.
Stress-Relieving Essential Oil Blend
The last blend I think is worth mentioning is lavender and roman chamomile.
Mix 5 drops of each oil in a roll-on and dilute with carrier oil.
This blend is sooo relaxing and stress relieving.
The lavender really helps bring you back to a parasympathetic state.
The Roman chamomile is not only relaxing it also decreases intestinal inflammation and helps eliminate gas. It’s a win-win in my opinion!
Frequently Asked Questions About Essential Oils for Digestion
How to use peppermint essential oil for digestion?
Peppermint essential oil can be used for alleviating digestive upset by:
- Putting one drop in your palm and rubbing you hands together. Breathe in the soothing scent to help quell nausea.
- Apply it diluted over the abdomen to help alleviate gas and cramping.
- Take it internally for upset stomach, bloat, indigestion, and IBS. I like this peppermint oil supplement.
What essential oil is best for digestion?
Some of the best essential oils for digestion include:
- Ginger oil – for nausea, gas, and cramping (especially motion sickness)
- Dill – for indigestion
- Lemon essential oil – for symptoms of nausea and upset stomach
- Patchouli – for vomiting
- Fennel – for gas and bloating
- Lime – for inducing the parasympathetic state
What essential oils help with digestion and bloating?
The best essential oil for digestion and bloating include:
These oils aid the digestion process and ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by soothing the digestive tract and breaking down gasses.
- Practice Update. Prevalence of Gastrointestinal Symptoms in the General Population of the United States. https://www.practiceupdate.com/content/prevalence-of-gastrointestinal-symptoms-in-the-general-population-of-the-united-states/74968
- Harvard Health. The Gut-Brain Connection. https://www.health.harvard.edu/diseases-and-conditions/the-gut-brain-connection
- Ginger. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92775/
- NIH. Peppermint Oil. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/peppermint-oil
- NCBI. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: A Review of Its Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Contemporary Application, and Toxicology. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4137549/
- Pubmed. Effect of aromatherapy massage for the relief of constipation in the elderly. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15778557/
What have been your favorites?
Don’t know where to start with essential oils? Check out the articles below:
Beginners Guide to Essential Oils- Part 1
The Beginners Guide to Essential Oils- Part 2
How to Use Essential Oils
Where to Start with Essential Oils
Gas? Bloating? Cramps? Other Digestive Issues? You May Want to Consider Peppermint Oil
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Lindsy Riches says
Here’s my problem with this. Some people have an over production of stomach acid and that’s the reason they have all of these issues. Increasing it would make symptoms worse especially if you have GERD