We usually think of using essential oils for their marvelous fragrance or as a spa treatment. But essential oils have been used as medicine as well for thousands of years.

It is important to distinguish between essential and fragrance oils. Fragrance oils are synthetically made from petrochemicals and do not share the therapeutic qualities of natural high-grade essential oils derived from plants. They are essentially cheap copies of the real thing.

Natural, high grade essential oils can be used to improve digestion. Peppermint is one of the commonly used oils for improving digestion. It relaxes the smooth muscle of your intestines and helps relieve gas pressure. Peppermint oil can also help to calm down reflux. When you have heartburn, place a couple drops of peppermint oil in warm water and drink it down. It may improve your symptoms without using an antacid pill.

Topical peppermint oil can also ease a child’s stomach discomfort. To try this simple remedy, add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to a teaspoon of olive or coconut oil and rub it on their abdomen in a slow and gentle clockwise motion.

Since it relaxes digestive muscles, many people find that peppermint tones down IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), a frustrating combination of constipation and diarrhea. (Also helpful for IBS are cumin, coriander, and lemon balm oils.)

Overall, peppermint may have a balancing effect on your bowel flora, the bacteria and other microbes that coexist inside your intestinal tract. Balancing these bacteria is necessary for your good health.

Like peppermint oil, clove oil also relaxes the intestinal smooth muscle. In addition, it calms inflammation in the gut lining and reduces intestinal spasms. It has often been used to relieve nausea, bloating, and diarrhea. Clove has antiviral and antifungal properties as well, and can be used to eliminate Candida yeast overgrowth and parasite eggs.

Cardamom, ginger, and tarragon essential oils all stimulate the production of gastric juices. Appropriate amounts of stomach acid and bile can discourage reflux while balancing GI motility. This may be helpful if you have a constipation issue. The scent of lemon essential oil can help with nausea.

Essential oils can also help maintain good gut health indirectly. It is well known that the use of antibiotics kill our beneficial bacteria along with the pathogens they were meant for.  When used properly, essential oils can be used to kill pathogenic bacteria with little to no effect on the good bacteria.

Essential oils have many benefits when it comes to optimal GI health. But always remember to consult with a medical professional before using essential oils for treatment of a gut issue.

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