Many of our holiday celebrations include family, friends, and tables full of rich, delicious food. Our tables overflow with a bounty of good food and tasty treats. That is something we love! But it can cause some problems too - especially if you're inclined to an upset stomach or other digestive problems from occasional overindulgence.
In this post, you'll learn how to use essential oils to support healthy digestion naturally, including why they work, the best essential oils to use, and recipes you can make today to improve digestion and occasional stomach irritation.
How can essential oils help digestive system?
When we use essential oils for digestion, we are primarily looking to:
- Calm muscle spasms
- Relieve sensations of bloating
- Reduce nausea and ease a queasy belly
Other ways essential oils can help include boosting your appetite (or curbing cravings!), and encouraging an overall healthy flow of energy throughout your body. This can help everything keep moving smoothly through your belly, and create a refreshing detox effect if you overindulge in rich food.
Inhalers, aromatherapy diffuser blends, and products for topical use massaged into your belly work remarkably well. An essential oil blend using one of the following essential oils for digestion will no doubt become a part of your daily routine!
7 Essential oils for digestion
There are plenty of essential oils that can aid digestion!
Let's take a look at 7 of our top essential oils for digestion, and the science behind why these particular essential oils are so supportive.
Anise essential oil contains over 80% E-anethole, which is a powerful spasm-calming component. Anise essential oil has a sweet, slightly licorice-like scent similar to fennel essential oil. This essential oil is potent—while you can use it for support during issues like queasiness and gas, it’s contraindicated if you have a bleeding disorder or take anticoagulant medication. Dilute anise oil at no more than 2.4% (10 to 13 drops of oil in 1 oz/30 ml of carrier oil).
Warm, spicy, and dry, black pepper essential oil helps get energy circulating. It’s a widely loved essential oil for digestive benefits due to the way it releases stuck energy in the belly. This is largely thanks to its combination of sesquiterpenes and monoterpenes, which help calm muscles and ease sensations of bloating and other abdominal discomfort.
New to blending by chemical component? Check out this learning guide.
Cardamom essential oil is chock-full of natural esters, especially terpinyl acetate! This is one reason cardamom essential oil is one of the most popular traditional oils for soothing belly spasms. Cardamom essential oil can aid digestion by promoting the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes, easing digestive upset and bloating, and improving overall digestive system health.
Like cardamom, ginger essential oil is a spice oil that’s traditionally used for overall digestive health. Amazing and mighty ginger essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes that can soothe sore, achy issues, as well as queasy sensations. Smelling just like the kitchen spice, ginger oil is hot and spicy—keep your drop count low to protect sensitive skin and mucous membranes.
Orange essential oil is an excellent essential oil for gut health! Like other citrus oils, like lemon essential oil, orange essential oil has high quantities of d-limonene. Orange essential oil can calm spasms and help the body through its natural detox process, such as queasy and unsteady feelings in the belly.
Fresh, minty, and perfect after a satisfying meal! Keep peppermint oil on hand if your belly sometimes feels bloated or queasy. Peppermint essential oil has a high menthol content meaning peppermint oil can relax muscles in the digestive system, and offer an overall refreshed, comforted experience.
Terpinen-4-ol is a naturally occurring monoterpenol that’s been shown to relax smooth muscles. It shows up in abundance in sweet marjoram essential oil! Use sweet marjoram essential oil in your aromatherapy massage blends for calming spasms and supporting regular digestion. It’s also a must-have when you’re “detoxing” after a fun night.
Carrier oils & hydrosols for digestion
You also have the option of working with carrier oils and hydrosols to promote digestion.
Castor oil is widely used for the belly! It can help break up “stuck energy,” allowing movement to flow more easily through your belly, and releasing tight, cramped, bloated sensations (and constipation). A popular way to use this carrier oil for digestion is to make a compress. Soak a soft flannel cloth (or a paper towel) in the carrier oil, and rest it on your belly. If you like, you can rest a hot water bottle or heating pad over the carrier oil to encourage deeper absorption. Be sure to protect your heat source with another layer of cloth so it doesn’t get too messy with the castor oil!
Sweet and spicy with a hint of lemon, ginger hydrosol will become a new favorite for your belly blends! Hydrosols are aromatic waters that offer profound comforting effects, yet they’re much gentler than essential oils. So you can actually sip on ginger hydrosol! Add a teaspoon to some sparkling water to help calm your belly after a big meal to fend off digestive issues, or when you feel queasy.
Essential Oil Recipes for Digestion
Our recipe library includes over 15 recipes for digestion support.
These six are some of our top recipes, and include inhalers, oils, and lotions.