Indigestion is "lack or failure of digestion; commonly used to denote vague abdominal discomfort after meals." (Dorland's) Heartburn, belching, a burning feeling after eating, vomiting, gas and abdominal pain are some of the symptoms of indigestion.
There may be several different causes to indigestion such as food allergies, leaky gut, yeast overgrowth, too much fatty food, and talking while eating or chewing with the mouth open. Hernia, cancer, coronary heart disease, acute pancreatitis and gall bladder disease can also cause indigestion, and they need to be ruled out before administering essential oils. Many have successfully improved their digestive issues just by changing the diet so I highly recommend to make dietary changes and not just rely on essential oils. Many have, myself included, improved their digestive issues by eating Paleo. Grains, legumes, sugar, and dairy are avoided on the Paleo diet.
I would choose essential oils with carminative and antispasmodic properties for alleviating the symptoms associated with indigestion. Carminative oils are beneficial in indigestion because they promote intestinal peristalsis, reduce the amount of gas, and relieve pain. They will assist the digestion and alleviate bloating, belching, and gas since accumulated undigested food materials will be removed easier.
Antispasmodic oils prevent spasms and contractions. They relieve the nervous tension causing spasms or colic. However, I believe it is equally important to add essential oils with relaxant nervine action to my blends. Even though the direct cause of indigestion is not stress related, the condition itself can put a lot of pressure and tension on the clients. Relaxant nervines relax the whole body by reducing tension or over activity of a certain body system. They are therefore especially useful in nervous indigestion.
I would choose Roman chamomile, Anthemis nobilis, peppermint, Mentha piperita, ginger, Zingiber officinalis, and anise, Pimpinella anisum. They posess carminative and antispasmodic actions that are enhanced together. Anthemis nobilis and Pimpinella anisum are known remedies for digestive disorders, but they also possess nervine actions and therefore, I would choose them for their calming effect on the nervous system as well.
A stomach massage with the above oils is very useful in alleviating abdominal pain and bloating. Traditionally, Roman chamomile and anise essential oils have been diffused prior to meal times when stress and nervousness are the underlying cause. A hot compress placed over the stomach when the abdominal pain and gas are severe has traditionally been done in addition to abdominal massage. Historically, peppermint and chamomile have been mixed with honey and made into tea. I don't suggest ingesting oils unless it has been confirmed from the company selling the oils that they are suitable for ingestion.
Neroli, cinnamon, mandarin, and rosemary have traditionally been used for indigestion as well.
Don't forget that the most important thing is to find out what is causing the indigestion in the first place. Dietary changes can make wonders.
- eat slower and chew the food well
- don't drink while eating
- consider adding enzymes or drink apple cider vinegar
- pay attention to your body and eliminate food that you suspect is the problem
- increase food with good bacteria
- some experts recommend to drink the juice of a lemon first thing in the morning
- consider adding garlic to the diet. It may stimulate gastric juices, relieve flatulence, and it may also help detoxify the intestines.
Before you leave:
I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.
Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. Also, Read this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.
Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
- Topical Application
- Inhaling Essential Oils
- Are You Diffusing the Oils Correctly?
- How to Dilute Essential Oils
- Vita Flex Technique
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide.
This post is linked to:
Simple Lives Thursday