There I was at dinner (one that I didn’t cook). I knew that there was only so much I could control when I was going to eat. As someone who has Hashimoto’s, an autoimmune condition I know that gluten-free needs to be non-negotiable, but I’d be lying to you if I didn’t indulge in a bit of a sugary dessert. Plus when the food is good, I have a tendency to eat minus breathing…sort of like a duck. *two chews and swallow*
But then I begin to bloat and I bloat so bad, that I swear my gut is competing with the size of my breasts. I carefully undo a button and whisper to myself a reminder to button up should I need to use the bathroom.
Now whether you struggle with occasional bloating or bloating every dang day, I wanted to give you some relief with my favourite:
…essential oils for bloating.
Now I get it, everyone and their mother has probably contacted you about essential oils and you may have been hesitant to join what has felt like a cult. I get it, I used to scoff at those stinky little bottles of oils until I became…
One of them.
Let me clarify that the only reason I did was that I had discovered a colleague who knew her shit in functional medicine and explained to me that essential oils are up to 70x stronger than dried herb with multiple applications. And because I’m a bit of a gut nerd, I decided to test them out. And guess what…they worked!
Now while I do take my essential oils internally (but only the ones from doTERRA), I also use them topically and diffuse them. Below you’ll see that many of the studies were performed when oils were taken orally. And remember that herbs, which are consumed, naturally have essentials in them. However, I would be very careful when consuming essential oils since most on the market are adulterated.
So I thought I’d share my top three essential oils for bloating and why these are a must to have in your arsenal:
This popular formula contains ginger, fennel, peppermint, tarragon, anise, coriander and caraway. It’s not my favourite tasting blend, so often times when I’m taking it orally after each main meal, I’ll add a couple of drops to a veggie cap. It’s no surprise that ginger is in this blend. In Chinese Medicine, it’s a warming herb that is used often for gastrointestinal issues and there are studies to show its role as an antibacterial in the gut especially against E.coli.(1) Then there’s peppermint. While peppermint does help gas, what most people don’t realize is that it helps to aid in bile support.(2) Other herbs used here do help to facilitate the gut, but the one I want to point out that we use often in practice is tarragon. The reason why tarragon is a favourite is because while it helps to relieve gas (toot! toot!) it also helps to reduce blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.(3) This is good news if you have insulin-resistant PCOS where the body is pumping insulin and continually telling the body, “store fat!”
Usage: Add two drops into a veggie cap, or into your hands with a carrier oil like jojoba, coconut oil or almond. Then simply rub on your belly.
I’m a wee bit obsessed with this oil because it does quite a bit. Research has shown that as an anti-spasmodic it’s incredible for relaxing the smooth muscles of the intestines so that food can have an easier time moving through it making it a sure-fire bet for getting rid of gas and cramping.(4)
Usage: Add 2 drops with honey into hot water for a soothing tea. You can also add a couple of drops of it with a carrier oil and rub directly on the abdomen.
This may seem like an incredible uncommon essential oil but I can tell you it’s probably one of my favourites and most used oils in practice. Research has shown that the main constituent, limonene (which is found in citrus oils) was shown to help protect the stomach mucosa in a preclinical study. This protective effect was shown without affecting normal stomach acid secretion, gastrin enzyme secretion, or antioxidant glutathione production.
Now if all that research garble sounds like a lot, one big takeaway to understand here is that while it is powerful to help with bloating, I’ve also used lemongrass in practice for patients with H.pylori – the bacteria associated with peptic ulcers.(5) Believe it or not H.pylori affects 2/3rds of the world’s population and is a massive co-infection especially in women who have Hashimoto’s, endometriosis and PCOS.
Usage: Diffuse (because frankly, it’ll make your home smell like it just got cleaned and remember you’re still ingesting it). You can also take a drop internally in a veggie cap 2x daily with meals.
But if there is one thing that can lead to bloating…it’s stress.
Let’s face it, if you’re stressed while eating or eating on the run, the last thing your body wants to do is digest. The only thing it’s thinking of doing is being in a fight-or-flight state. This severely lowers your stomach acid. So we need to address the stress.
It’s why I decided to share my Stress-Busting Duo:
I swear to you, I could wear this as a perfume because this roller bottle smells so darn good. But it’s a mixture of oils includes wild orange, lavender, copaiba, spearmint, magnolia, rosemary, neroli, and sweetgum in a fractionated coconut oil base. To go through just some of the research:
- Rosemary has been shown to improve cognitive performance.(6)
- Copaiba acts on the same endocannabinoid receptors as CBD.(7)
- Magnolia which smells like candied flowers in heaven reduces cortisol levels helping individuals manage stress better.
- Lavender was shown to have nervous-system calming effects (8)
Usage: Roll on neck, chest and wrists as needed.
Got family drama or generational trauma? If so this oil is for you. I find the firs are highly underrated but due to their woodsy aroma, they have an incredible grounding effect. From an energetic perspective, this oil helps individuals break-free from destructive traditions passed down through their families. Like White Fir, Douglas Fir assists individuals to live according to their own conscience and values by letting go of harmful patterns.
According to Ayurvedic Medicine when an individual is struggling with anxiety their “vata” constitution is overstimulated, so it needs to be grounded which is exactly why this oil is amazing. Granted, I don’t have studies to show proof of that but I do believe in the power of blending in some hardcore science with a bit of the woo.
Usage: Apply two drops in a carrier oil and apply to the base of the feet.
Alright you, looking to grab these oils?
You can grab either the Bloating Bundle alone or with my Stress-Busting Duo right over here. When you do, I’ll get the fab opportunity to jump on a one-hour wellness consult to outline a 90-day plan (and if you have past test results from the last 6-months I’m also happy to review them as well).
Are you ready? If so, let’s do this!
- Food Chem Toxicol. 2019 Nov 2:110936. doi: 10.1016/j.fct.2019.110936.
- J Dig Dis. 2011 Aug;12(4):295-301. doi: 10.1111/j.1751-2980.2011.00513.x.
- Phytomedicine. 2006 Sep;13(8):550-7. Epub 2005 Nov 2.
- Mol Med Report. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2011 Feb 1.
- J Young Pharm. 2012 Jan-Mar; 4(1): 28–32.
- Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2012 Jun;2(3):103-13. doi: 10.1177/2045125312436573.
- Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 918174.
- Sargolzaee M., et al. The comparison of the efficacy of citrus fragrance and fluoxetine in the treatment of major depressive disorder. Horizon of Medical Sciences. 2004:10(3):43-48.