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Bloating, cramps, and feeling like you need to go to the bathroom are the more common symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The discomfort of these symptoms is compounded by a profound sense of embarrassment and rising anxiety levels.
If you suffer from IBS, chances are you’ve tried different treatments and are now exploring the use of essential oils for irritable bowel syndrome. Several studies that have been done on this particular issue, have found that there are certain essential oils that help calm the symptoms of IBS.
Before you start using essential oils for irritable bowel syndrome, you should know that different people may experience different symptoms and what works to reduce the symptoms for one person may not work for another. A lot depends on what is causing your IBS symptoms. Is it stress, anxiety, your diet, or your lifestyle habits? You’d be surprised at how stress and anxiety can trigger these symptoms. I’ve seen this first hand.
A close friend is a talented jazz singer. When she’s up on stage, she exudes grace and confidence. It’s like she was born to sing. But the minutes leading up to her performance used to be a whole other story. She was so stressed and anxious, she would experience severe stomach cramps and visit the bathroom every few minutes. It was strange. Because we figured her IBS-like symptoms were caused by stress and anxiety, not dietary or lifestyle habits, we could identify the best essential oil for her. This is important to understand. In order to find an effective essential oil for your IBS symptoms, you must first determine what is causing it.
Before talking about the best essential oils for irritable bowel syndrome, I would like to address one pressing question…
Can You Ingest Essential Oils for Irritable Bowel Syndrome?
Essential oils are the concentrated extracts obtained from various plant parts. These oils have the healing properties as the plants that they are extracted from, however, because they are in a concentrated form, you have to be very careful about ingesting them.
Not all oils are safe for ingestion. Here, you can find a list of essential oils that the FDA has passed as safe for ingestion.
All 4 essential oils for IBS are featured on the FDA’s list and are safe to take internally. Still, you must talk to your doctor before you do this.
If you are planning on ingesting any of the essential oils mentioned below to manage your IBS symptoms read the label first to ensure that it is 100% pure, organic oil and safe for consumption. I only use Plant Therapy Organic Essential Oils in my food and drinks.
Best Essential Oils for IBS
Several studies have been done to examine peppermint essential oil’s effectiveness for irritable bowel syndrome. The research has been promising.
In one particular study that consisted of 12 randomized trials, participants were given peppermint oil in enteric-coated capsules to take orally. The study showed that peppermint essential oil helps to reduce the cramping, pain, and other symptoms associated with IBS.
The high L-menthol content in peppermint essential oils is what makes it so effective at reducing the IBS related symptoms. When you have irritable bowel syndrome, the nerves in the colon become extremely sensitive and overreact to the slightest stimuli. This is what causes the painful spasms.
L-menthol has powerful antispasmodic properties. This helps to relax the muscles in the colon, reducing the painful spasms and cramping in the gastrointestinal tract. That’s exactly what you need.
Peppermint essential oil also helps the digestive system function more efficiently by stimulating the production of bile and some of the essential gastric juices. This reduces the incidence of IBS.
Even WebMD endorses the use of peppermint essential oil for relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
How to use peppermint essential oil for IBS
There are a couple of different ways you can use peppermint oil to soothe irritable bowel syndrome.
Enteric-coated capsules – According to WebMD, enteric-coated peppermint oil capsules are most effective. The enteric coating does not dissolve until it gets to the intestines. This prevents the stomach juices from breaking down the capsules and releasing the peppermint oil prematurely. The enteric coating also helps prevent heartburn that can result if the capsule broke down in the upper digestive tract. Another benefit of taking capsules is that you know exactly how much peppermint you are ingesting with each dose. There is no chance that you may ingest too much, which could cause other problems.
Note: You must consult with your physician before you ingest any essential oils to take any capsules for IBS. Scroll down to read detailed precautions before taking essential oils internally.
A warm cup of Peppermint tea also works to soothe IBS symptoms. The warm liquid is soothing as it goes down the digestive tract and the peppermint in the tea helps to soothe those painful contractions.
Adding 1- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil to a cup of herbal tea ad sipping on it slowly can also calm those cramps.
Massaging a few drops of peppermint oil directly over your abdomen can also help ease stomach cramps. Remember, essential oils should never be applied to your skin in its concentrated form as it could cause skin irritation. Mix 2-3 drops of peppermint oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba before rubbing over your belly.
Star Anise has been used as a digestive aid in India for hundreds of years. Studies that have been done over the years have shown that anise has powerful anti-spasmodic properties. It also helps reduce gas and bloating. All of these properties make anise essential oil great for soothing IBS-related spasms and cramping
This study, which included 120 participants, showed that anise reduced several digestive issues including bloating, constipation, and diarrhea.
Anise essential oil also has a light sedative effect. Studies have shown that there is some relationship between lack of sleep and the occurrences of IBS. Getting a good night’s sleep helps when you are trying to reduce the frequency and severity of the symptoms of this condition.
How to use anise essential oil for IBS
Taking enteric-coated capsules with anise essential oils is most effective for soothing IBS symptoms as suggested by the study above.
If you are using star anise essential oil to help you sleep, add a few drops in your diffuser and place it near your bed or put a few drops of the oil on your pillow before you go to sleep.
Ginger in its naturally occurring plant form has been long associated with the ability to calm and soothe the digestive tract. In its essential oil form, it is even more effective.
Ginger essential oil is an amazing anti-inflammatory as well, which makes it a huge weapon against irritable bowel syndrome. It does a great job of reducing gas that can cause painful bloating, and it helps with your circulation.
How to use ginger essential oil for IBS symptoms
There are two ways to use ginger essential oil for IBS symptoms.
Add 1 drop of the oil into a cup of warm herbal tea and sip on it slowly.
Another way to use ginger oil is to mix 2 -3 drops with a carrier oil such as sweet almond oil and add this oil mix to a warm bath. Soak in it for at least 20-30 minutes. The ginger oil in the water helps to boost digestion and eliminate toxins from the body, easing the symptoms associated with IBS.
Fennel belongs to the same botanical family as anise. Like anise, fennel also has a rich licorice aroma.
Fennel’s anti-inflammatory properties make it a great choice of essential oil for irritable bowel syndrome.
In this study, participants with mild to moderate IBS symptoms were given capsules contain fennel and curcumin, a polyphenolic compound found in turmeric. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties. The fennel-curcumin combination worked very efficiently to reduce abdominal pain in the participants.
Best Travel Essential Oils for IBS
If you suffer from IBS and you travel a lot, you know how frustrating that can be.
Using essential oils for IBS may help to alleviate the symptoms so you can go ahead with your schedule as planned.
My recommendation for the best travel essential oil for IBS is peppermint oil. It is safe to use, very effective and has a pleasant aroma.
It can also be used for several other purposes that make it overall an excellent essential oil. Don’t forget to pack up your travel aromatherapy diffuser for best results. You can read my review of this travel essential oil diffuser here or pick it up directly from here.
Don’t let IBS symptoms cramp your style or interfere with your travel plans. Pick up your essential oils and aromatherapy diffuser today so you can go anywhere you want, anytime you want.
You may also be interested in:
The Best Essential Oils for Digestive Relief
Heal Your Gut Naturally with Probiotics
Best Essential Oils for Menstrual Cramps
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.