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Essential oils have been rapidly gaining popularity in the last few years, but they have been around for a long time and have been used for many ailments, including digestive ones.
Using oils to treat constipation, diarrhea, gas, and other digestive issues is a long-standing tradition in many countries, even if they don’t necessarily use them the same way. Many different oils can be used for digestive treatments, but some are better than others. A few that have been scientifically proven to help include peppermint, fennel, oregano, and ginger oils. Although it has been proven lately that essential oils work well, the causes of most digestive issues are not known, which makes it difficult to pinpoint an exact treatment.
For this reason, it’s important not to get discouraged and to keep trying different essential oils until you find one that works best for you.
Also, everyone’s body functions differently, which means that a certain essential oil might not work for you even if you know the cause of one of your issues – or you might be allergic to a certain oil.
Digestive issues often are interlinked with each other, so an essential oil meant for constipation might help you with IBS, even if it’s not specifically for that.
Essential Oils for Constipation
Constipation is actually quite a common problem, and it is loosely defined as difficulty with bowel movements and usually the hardening of stool. It can have many causes, some that are easy to address and some that can be more complicated.
Some of the reasons for constipation include dehydration, certain prescription medicines, hormonal disorders, misusing laxatives, and even excessive alcohol intake.
There are a few home remedies for treating constipation, and even those that include essential oils often differ. One essential oil is usually present, though: peppermint oil. It has been the most scientifically researched and has shown the most promise to date at treating constipation. Though peppermint oil is the most widely used, other essential oils for constipation can be just as effective and are better options if you’re allergic to peppermint, for instance.
The essential oils listed below are all great options and can even work better if combined together.
The 5 Best Essential Oils to Treat Constipation
- Peppermint Essential Oil – Peppermint oil has proven to be effective in a myriad of digestive issues since it relaxes smooth muscle cells.
- Ginger Essential Oil – Ginger oil is very effective in helping the body release excess gas and tension in the bowels and has been used for many years as an overall digestive aid.
- Rosemary Essential Oil – Rosemary essential oil is known for stimulating circulation in the abdominal area, which helps to increase the flow of blood there and ensures normal contraction of the muscles or better contraction if constipation is already present.
- Lemon Essential Oil – Lemon essential oil is packed with antioxidants that can help optimize digestion and soothe any inflammation that might be causing or due to constipation.
- Fennel Essential Oil – Fennel oil acts as a laxative and promotes the movement of bowels to treat constipation and prevent it later. Fennel is the only one of the oils mentioned above that should not be ingested but instead mixed with a carrier oil and rubbed on the abdomen as a treatment for constipation.
Essential Oils for Bloating and Gas Pain
Bloating and gas pain are essentially the same thing and have similar causes. Gas in the intestinal tract is what causes the feeling of bloating. Gas in the intestinal tract has a few sources, the most common of which is the normal breakdown of food in the digestive tract; it can also be caused by ingesting extra air when eating or drinking, drinking too many carbonated drinks, or as a side effect of menstruation. The body handles gas either by absorbing it or by expelling it.
When there’s excess gas, and the body can’t absorb it all, it lets it out either through a belch or through flatulence. Also, gas pain can occur when the gas isn’t removed from the body quickly enough – as in the case of constipation, certain medical issues, or eating too many high-fat foods. Using essential oils for bloating or gas, such as the ones below, is a way to deal with gas and bloating without any side effects or further issues.
The 5 Best Essential Oils to Treat Gas and Bloating
- Myrrh Essential Oil – Myrrh oil is a powerful antiviral, antifungal, expectorant, and anti-inflammatory oil, and it can be used by rubbing onto the abdomen or putting a few drops into the bathwater.
- Fennel Essential Oil – Using this essential oil for gas pain aids in digestion, which will help your body keep things moving along. This helps with constipation and digestion and prevents gas pain, and treats it if it does happen.
- Ginger Essential Oil – Since ginger oil helps with motility in the digestive system, it is only natural that this essential oil for gas pain would be beneficial.
- Rosemary Essential Oil – Rosemary oil helps break down fats in food and prevent gas build-up.
- Chamomile Essential Oil – Chamomile is an overall relaxant and will help to induce your body to move things along, pushing any excess gas through the digestive system and assisting the body to expel it.
Essential Oils for Stomach Cramps
Stomach cramps may have many causes, but one common reason can be menstrual cramps. Most other types of stomach cramps are due to gas pain or bloating. Menstrual cramps can be excruciating and differ from person to person, but a few essential oils are most likely to work for everyone. They are caused by the uterine wall contracting to expel the lining and happen during menstruation. The hormone-like substances that trigger the expulsion of the lining are also involved in pain and inflammation. Thus, the essential oils used to help alleviate menstrual cramps are geared toward these substances.
The 5 Best Essential Oils to Treat Stomach Cramps
- Peppermint Essential Oil – Here, peppermint oil helps alleviate the pain associated with menstrual/stomach cramps and can be used by rubbing it on the abdomen.
- Lavender Essential Oil – Lavender oil helps cramps by relaxing the body and thus the contracting muscles.
- Clary Sage Essential Oil – This essential oil helps to regulate hormones, which in the case of severe cramps can be helpful to relieve some of the pain.
- Cypress Essential Oil – This oil works in the same way that clary sage does and is used many times in conjunction with clary sage to improve the oils’ efficacy.
- Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil – This oil is widely regarded as a great antidepressant, which helps to improve both the mood swings associated with the menstrual period and also the cramps since it helps to relax the body.
Essential Oils for IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome seems to be becoming more common every day, and doctors aren’t sure what the exact source or cause of it is. There are potentially many causes for IBS, ranging from environmental factors to simply eating too much ‘junk’ food or processed food. The high amount of fats, chemicals, and even pesticides in processed food seems to be a factor in contributing to IBS. Numerous studies have been conducted on the effects of essential oils in relieving IBS, particularly peppermint oil, and most have proven that these oils are very well suited to its treatment.
The 5 Best Essential Oils to Treat IBS
- Peppermint Essential Oil – Peppermint oil is the clear winner in treating IBS. The many studies that have been done with peppermint oil have shown that it was very effective when given to participants in capsules to ingest.
- Ginger Essential Oil – When using essential oils for IBS, one has to keep in mind that IBS can cause a combination of constipation, diarrhea, and/or gas. Using ginger is a great option since it supports the entire digestive system and helps to stimulate the muscles in the abdomen.
- Lavender Essential Oil – The calming effects of lavender are beneficial for IBS as well since it has become more and more known and studied that IBS can be brought about by stress or anxiety.
- Oregano Essential Oil – The oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are the most helpful here, as IBS is known to happen because of inflammation in the bowels, among other causes.
- Caraway Essential Oil – The combination of caraway essential oil and peppermint essential oil was also helpful. Caraway oil has overarching benefits in the digestive tract, just like peppermint essential oil does.
The digestive system plays a big part in our health, and any of its issues or ailments can cause significant problems for the rest of our bodies. As a result, natural remedies such as essential oils are being used more and more successfully lately. Their popularity increases because they are an alternative to traditional medicine that does not cause any side effects when used properly. A handful of essential oils are best at dealing with digestive ailments, and all of them are readily available through retailers or online shops.
Peppermint oil, ginger oil, and oregano oil seem to be the most effective at treating almost any kind of digestive ailment, whether it be constipation, diarrhea, gas pain and bloating, or any combination of those with IBS. However, depending on the cause of the digestive ailment, other essential oils can be used – such as lavender or myrrh for calming purposes when treating diarrhea that is caused by anxiety.
So next time your stomach doesn’t feel as great as it should, give essential oils a try. You will be surprised at just how effective essential oils can be at alleviating the problem.
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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