We've all eaten that heavy meal at grandma's that fills us up so much that dessert seems excessive. Bloating occurs when your stomach swells after eating. Excess gas production or disruptions in the movement of the digestive system's muscles are the most common causes.
Bloating can result in pain, discomfort, and a sense of being “stuffed.” It can also give the appearance of a larger stomach and indicate an issue with your digestive issue.
There’s nothing worse than constantly dealing with stomach issues. While changing your diet may help, an unexpected remedy may come in the form of essential oils.
Believe it or not, essential oils are more than just air fresheners - they offer real health benefits that can improve digestion and help your stomach.
So, if you’re sick of dealing with stomach issues, consider using one of these essential oils to help you find the relief you’ve been looking for.
Table of Contents
- What are the symptoms of bloating?
- What causes bloating?
- How do essential oils help relieve bloating?
- 9 essential oils for your bloating problems
- Are essential oils safe to use for bloating problems?
- How To Use Essential Oils To Improve Digestion?
- Where to Buy the Best Essential Oils for Digestion?
What are the symptoms of bloating?
When the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is loaded with air or gas, abdominal bloating ensues. Bloating is commonly described as a sense of being full, tight, or swollen in the abdomen. Your abdomen may be bloated and stiff, causing severe pain and an uncomfortable sensation. Bloating is frequently accompanied by the following symptoms:
- Belly rumbling or gurgles;
- Frequently burping or belching.
What causes bloating?
Bloating and abdominal distension can be caused by delayed stomach emptying (slow gas transit) as well as a buildup of gas. Causes of bloating may be attributed to medical issues such as Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), ulcerative colitis, or Crohn's disease.
Functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs), indigestion, sensitivity to certain foods, gaining weight, a hormonal shift (especially in women) may also play a significant role.
Eating disorders like anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa can also contribute to the unwanted accumulation of air.
Stress, anxiety, sadness, and other mental health issues, as well as certain medications, also make it to the list of causes.
These are the most common causes of gas and bloating:
- Gas buildup due to bacterial overgrowth in the GI tract;
- Normal gas production hampering due to a change in intestinal motility;
- Hypersensitivity of the viscera (feeling of bloating as a result of small or even normal body changes);
- Constipation caused by certain foods and carbohydrate malabsorption.
How do essential oils help relieve bloating?
Essential oils are known for their ability to help people relax (and smell great). Still, many believe that they can also be used for a variety of other purposes, such as improving memory, boosting energy and inducing sleep.
But, there's one remedy that's getting a lot of attention lately that you've probably never heard of: using essential oils to help with bloating and gas.
People are applying oils to their stomachs and adding them to their food to help them relieve bloating and other issues of the digestive system (just to make things clear, I do not recommend ingesting essential oils, as they are far too concentrated and the risks outweigh the benefits!).
Some scientists say that certain essential oils may aid with bloating and digestive tract disorders when combined with other therapies, such as probiotics; however, there is still little research to support this.
Nevertheless, there are a few essential oils that you can use to reduce pain associated with bloating and help your body eliminate gas.
9 essential oils for your bloating problems
#1 Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a minty and fresh smell that is derived from the leaves of the peppermint plant, also known as Mentha Piperita, that is native to Europe and the Middle East.
Peppermint has a wide range of associations from breath mints to holiday candy canes. However, one less known association relates to digestive health.
Many studies have investigated the effects of peppermint essential oil on irritable bowel syndrome - a chronic gastrointestinal condition that often causes stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Researchers believe that peppermint was able to help treat the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
When mixed with a carrier oil, peppermint essential oil can aid with various types of pain, including pain caused by bloating.
Peppermint oil helps relax stomach muscles and relieves cramping pain. It also aids in the removal of gas from the intestines.
To assist in alleviating these symptoms, can use peppermint essential oil (properly diluted in a carrier oil) to massage your abdomen in a circular motion.
#2 Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass essential oil has a fresh and citrusy scent that is derived from the lemongrass plant, also known as Cymbopogon, which is native to Africa, Asia, and Oceania.
Lemongrass essential oil contains the chemical components of aldehydes and eugenol that are known to help promote a healthy digestive system.
As a result, the use of lemongrass essential oil can provide relief to a whole host of stomach issues ranging from a minor stomach ache to stomach ulcers. Lemongrass essential oil can also help ease the symptoms of diarrhea and nausea.
But don’t just take our word for it - a 2012 study in mice showed that the use of lemongrass essential oil was able to prevent the development of new stomach ulcers as well as ease the symptoms of existing ulcers.
Lemongrass essential oil can also help with bloating and pain by relaxing the muscles. It has a fresh, citrus aroma that is both energizing and relaxing. As with the peppermint oil, dilute it in a carrier oil and use it to massage your belly and help it expel that trapped gas.
#3 Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil has a minty and camphorous smell, derived from the eucalyptus tree, also known as Eucalyptus globulus, native to Australia.
Eucalyptus essential oil may be able to reduce stomach pain and other digestive symptoms thanks to its anti-bacterial properties.
It can help get rid of germs in the colon and intestines that wreak havoc on the gastrointestinal system and cause issues like diarrhea, nausea, and bloating.
#4 Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen essential oil has a sweet and minty smell that is derived from the leaves of the wintergreen plant, either known as Gaultheria proumbens, native to North America, or Gaultheria fragrantissima, native to Asia.
Wintergreen is commonly used to improve digestion issues, including stomach aches and flatulence. It may also be used to increase stomach juices and improve digestion.
#5 Basil Essential Oil
Basil essential oil has a herby and slightly spicy smell that is derived from the leaves, stems, and flowers of the basil plant, also known as Ocimum basilicum, that is native to India and tropical regions throughout Africa and Southeast Asia.
Although this herb is common in cooking, its oil can be beneficial to your stomach health. Basil has carminative properties that can help improve a wide range of digestive maladies ranging from indigestion, constipation, stomach cramps, and flatulence.
It also has colic properties that can help improve bowel pain caused by viruses or even irritable bowel syndrome.
#6 Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil has a spicy and sweet smell that is derived from the bark or leaves of the Cinnamomum Verum tree that is native to parts of South Asia. While this essential oil may remind you of the holidays, it does so much more than that!
Human studies have shown that cinnamon may help improve or eliminate symptoms caused by stomach ulcers as it can effectively fight off H. pylori which commonly causes ulcers.
Additionally, a 2014 study has shown that cinnamon may help fight off the parasite that causes giardiasis and leads to gastrointestinal symptoms like stomach cramps, bloating, nausea, and diarrhea.
#7 Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil has a fresh and camphor-like smell that is derived from the tea tree plant, also known as Melaleuca alternifolia, that is native to Australia.
Tea tree can help ease poor digestion symptoms including nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea. These properties allow it to fight off bacterial and viral infections that affect the stomach, like bacterial gastroenteritis and viral gastroenteritis - also known as the stomach flu.
#8 Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh essential oil has a woody and medicinal smell that is derived from the Commiphora myrrha tree that is native to northeastern Africa and southwest Asia.
For example, bacteria and parasites can affect digestive function and wreak havoc on the entire gastrointestinal system. Redness and swelling can also contribute to stomach upset and diarrhea.
Specifically, one animal study showed that the use of myrrh essential oil was able to help treat intestinal spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome.
Furthermore, another study showed that myrrh may be able to help treat stomach ulcers.
#9 Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger essential oil can also be used to calm the stomach and reduce nausea. Rubbing it on your stomach for to reduce bloating and cramps (after it was previously properly diluted in a carrier oil) can also be beneficial.
Are essential oils safe to use for bloating problems?
Yes, if you use them carefully – never ingest them and always dilute them properly for topical applications.
Also, before applying any essential oil topically, do a skin patch test first to make sure you’re not allergic to it.
How To Use Essential Oils To Improve Digestion?
There are several different ways that you can use essential oils to improve uncomfortable and inconvenient digestive symptoms.
Here are some different methods that you can try out for yourself:
Perhaps the best way to use essential oils for digestion is to diffuse them in an essential oil diffuser.
This method spreads the oil throughout your space -- providing a nice aroma and real relief for your symptoms.
All you have to do is add a few drops of oil to water in your favorite diffuser, turn it on, and wait for it to work its magic.
If you don’t have a diffuser or want to reap the benefits of essential oils in every room of your house, you can make your own room spray.
Fill up a spray bottle with water and add a few drops of your favorite essential oil for a solution that can be used anywhere.
If you’re looking for a way to relax your mind and body while relieving digestive issues, then you may want to consider taking an essential oil bath.
Simply run a warm bath and add a few drops of essential oil to the water. Soak for as long as you’d like and allow the water and oil to heal your body and mind.
Another incredibly relaxing way to use essential oils to improve digestion is through massage. For this method, you’re going to need to dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba oil or coconut oil.
In this case, the specific ratio is three drops of essential oil with about 10 mL of carrier oil. Once the oil has been diluted, you can safely rub it onto your body.
We have found that massaging the soles of your feet with oil is particularly effective at improving digestion.
If you’re looking for a quick and direct way to start reaping the benefits of your digestive essential oils, you can inhale them directly.
You can rub one drop of oil between your palms, cup your hands to your nose, and breathe in deeply.
If you don’t want to get your hands dirty, you can also apply a few drops to a cotton ball and breathe that in instead.
Where to Buy the Best Essential Oils for Digestion?
While you may think that all essential oils are created equal, that’s definitely not the case.
In fact, essential oils are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so you need to evaluate their safety and effectiveness on your own.
The best way to do this is to purchase them from a reputable company that you trust.
WOW Skin Science, for example, only produces natural, vegan, gluten-free, and cruelty-free products. They have earned over 15,000 5-star reviews from satisfied customers.
So, before you pick up the first bottle of essential oil you see in the store, consider purchasing from a reputable online source instead that allows you to check reviews and get more information before purchasing.Final Thoughts on Essential Oils and Digestion
Bloating, and stomach pain can be quite uncomfortable. But, essential oils are here to help! Before you pop another pill for digestive issues, consider using one of the essential oils mentioned in this article instead.
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