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Common Digestive Complaints: which essential oils to use

Common Digestive Complaints

The digestive system remains top of mind for me at the moment!  If you regularly read my Blog or see my videos you’ll know that I do talk about it a lot!  That is really because (paraphrasing Hippocrates – father of medicine, here) all Wellbeing begins in the Gut.

In the Wellbeing Assessment that I do with clients when we begin working together one of the key things that we discuss is their diet and whether or not they have thought about the health of their gut microbiome lately!  Because of the amazing connection between the gut and the brain many of the things that people often seek out my services for – anxiety, stress, fatigue – often have an underlying cause that is controlled and influenced by both their heads and their tummies!

Gut Microbiome Guinea Pig

At the time of writing I am using myself as a bit of guinea pig and investigating my own gut microbiome.  I’ve sent my poo off to America to be analyzed (still waiting for the results!) and I’m currently doing Michael Mosley’s Clever Guts Diet.  Having been doing this for a week now I can honestly say that I feel a lot more energetic, both physically and mentally, plus I’ve lost more than half a kilo (not that this was my purpose at all!)  I was starting from a position of having an extremely healthy diet already – compared to most people – but I have learnt so far that I probably need to increase the amount of raw vegetables that I eat and also the variety of vegetables that I eat in general!  Stay tuned for more in weeks to come!

For today though, I wanted to discuss some of the best essential oils to use for the relief of common digestive complaints, because we all want a magic pill, and sometimes you just need something to help you get through an afternoon of tricky meetings, and starting the Clever Guts diet is not a quick fix!

DoTerra Essential Oils

A couple of caveats firstly.  I work with DoTerra essential oil products exclusively because I believe in their purity and I like the ethical way in which they source their plants.  The DoTerra line is that you can, and should, take essential oils internally, and that their oils are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade for this purpose.  A very important caution with this though, especially as we are discussing the digestive system, is that essential oils are very powerful natural therapeutic products and unfortunately their anti-bacterial properties do not necessarily distinguish between good and bad bacteria within the body’s natural microbiomes, including that of the gut.

So, I do use essential oils internally but I treat them the same as any other medication and do not do this for more than a week.  If you choose to use them internally then also please make sure that you taking good quality probiotics from food or supplements at the same time. Great probiotic foods are yoghurt, sauerkraut, kefir, kimchi, some cheeses and apple cider vingar.

Onto the oils.

There are 3 main oils that I will talk about, as well as a pre-blended one that DoTerra make, which I love, called DigestZen.  The 3 single oils are very common and you will be able to access them anywhere, but please make sure that you get pure oils.  You can purchase them on my website!

I have also included a brief blurb about the way in which each of the single oils works on energetic balance in the emotional and spiritual body.  These become especially pertinent when looking at the metaphysical causes of common digestive complaints listed further down.

Peppermint

Peppermint tea is commonly drunk after meals for the very reason that it aids digestion! Peppermint essential oil, which is made by steam-distillation of the leaves of the peppermint bush (the same part that goes into your peppermint tea) has properties including analgesic (pain relief), anti-inflammatory (very useful as much bodily discomfort, including in the digestive system, is caused by inflammation) and anti-spasmodic (which can be great when dealing with colic or gas).  There are other properties but these are the ones important to the gut.  Peppermint is also anti-bacterial so my point above comes into play about internal use.  Peppermint is also mentally stimulating so I wouldn’t recommend that you use it within the last few hours before you go to bed.

Peppermint helps us to move from feeling unfocused to feeling purposeful, it is stimulating, energizing and positively future-focussed.

Useful for:

  • colon polyps
  • constipation
  • cramps
  • crohns disease
  • diarrhea
  • heartburn
  • indigestion
  • IBS
  • Motion sickness
  • Nausea
  • Gastric ulcer
  • Vomiting

Ginger

Ginger is a classic ingredient in the traditional cuisines of many ancient cultures, especially those of Asia, because it is also well known for its benefits to the digestive system.  Ginger essential oil is laxative and tonic (which is another way of saying it provides ‘tone’ to muscles and tissues, relaxing them and reducing spasms or contractions). Ginger is not anti-bacterial. Ginger is also quite stimulating, so not a good one to take at night!

Ginger helps us to move from feeling depleted to feeling sustained, it is restorative, supportive and warm.

Ginger can help with:

  • diarrhea
  • flatulence
  • indigestion
  • morning sickness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • motion sickness

Lemon

Again, another natural flavouring used in most traditional cuisines around the world. Lemon essential oil comes from the rind of the fruit, so when you’re making a delicious recipe that calls for lemon zest you are getting some beautiful lemon essential oil! (Tip:  you can use the essential oil in a recipe if you don’t have the fruit on hand.  The same applies to Peppermint and Ginger.  Obviously this is great when you’re just after the flavor but not the texture of what you’re missing.  Go easy – a little oil gives a lot of flavor!  It is best to just dip a toothpick into your oil, stir it through the dish and taste, then add more as required). Lemon oil is antifungal, antioxidant, antiviral and also tonic (see ginger).  So it is useful for:

  • constipation or sluggish digestion
  • gout
  • hangovers
  • heartburn
  • intestinal parasites
  • kidney stones
  • overeating

Lemon helps us to move from feeling confused to feeling rational, it is stimulating, clearing and enhances innovation.

Doterra Digest Zen

This is one of Doterra’s proprietary blends and is handy if you don’t want to think about which oil best suits your exact digestive complaint – it is amazingly balancing for everything! It does contain peppermint and ginger, as well as tarragon, fennel, caraway, coraiander and anise.  DigestZen can be used for any of the complaints listed above or below!

Relaxation

As alluded to at the start of this Blog your mind can have a massive effect on what is going on in your digestive system, and actually, vice versa. Therefore, it is often beneficial to use essential oils to support your emotional and spiritual wellbeing as well, when you have digestive complaints.  Some suggestions are lavender, cedarwood, sandalwood or Melissa.

How to Use Essential Oils for Common Digestive Complaints

Suggested application: diffuse the oil (you can also of course put it on a tissue or hanky and breathe it in directly) or massage it into the abdomen, diluted with carrier oil – always in a clockwise direction.

Some useful reflexology points for oil massage (where perhaps the abdomen is particularly painful and untouchable) are the back half of the sole of the feet (do both or you’re only treating half the system!)

Just like any other medication you need to re-apply about every 4-6 hours, and more often for kids.

Detailed in italics below are the most likely metaphysical causes of the complaints.

Nausea/ Vomiting– ginger or peppermint

What are you unable to or unwilling to ‘digest’ in your life.  Fear of the new, the unknown or the future. Rejecting an idea or experience – this may be a good thing, you may be rejecting something toxic in your life.

Diarrhoea– peppermint or ginger

What are you scared of in your life? Fear and rejection (as for nausea).

Constipation– lemon

What emotions are you unwilling to let go of and express? Fear of letting go of emotion.

Flatulence– ginger or peppermint

What ideas have you not digested or are you unwilling to explore.  Experiencing many different emotions at once, fear of unresolved circumstances.

Heartburn– lemon or peppermint

Indigestion– peppermint, lemon or ginger

What are you unable to or unwilling to ‘digest’ in your life.  Fear of the new, the unknown or the future. Rejecting an idea or experience – this may be a good thing, you may be rejecting something toxic in your life.

IBS– peppermint

What are you holding back or suppressing? Needing support and validation to express yourself.  Holding onto negative experiences.  Desperate for control.

Feel free to Contact Me with any queries or to book a personalised Wellbeing Assessment & Energetic Balance session.

About the Author:

Arwen Bardsley is a wellbeing practitioner who delves into the broader and deeper levels of health and wellbeing and is the founder of Evenstar Wellbeing. She explores how science and nature are always at work in alternative health and wellbeing. Arwen specialises in looking at underlying causes (including metaphysical anatomy and epigenetics), preventative health and energetic balance on all levels. With a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Melbourne and Reiki Master qualifications, Arwen focuses on helping people to improve their health with restorative energy balance.

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