If you’re a big fan of aromatherapy and like to light up a few candles to help you relax, we have some good news for you — essential oils can also help relieve heartburn. While essential oils have gained some popularity in recent years in alternative medicine, these have been used for centuries in traditional folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, including indigestion, nausea, heartburn and reflux.
Extracted from plants using a unique distillation process, some essential oils promote faster healing for your gut and come without unwanted side effects. Use them in a diffuser, inhale the scent directly from the bottle, put a few drops on your pillowcase to keep night-time reflux at bay or ingest them in a tea, there are a myriad of ways to use essential oils to find relief from acid reflux.
Essential oils have been used for centuries in traditional medicine to treat digestive disorders like indigestion, nausea, stomach cramps and heartburn. Although more scientific research is necessary to show how some oils can alleviate signs of acid reflux, there is some conclusive evidence that proves essential oils can be useful for treating a variety of digestive ailments, including GERD.
A Brazilian study done in 2010 noted the gastro-protective mechanisms of Citrus lemon essential oil. Studies done on rats have also found evidence for gastro-protective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger.
Studies have found that peppermint oil can be useful for treating irritable bowel syndrome. Scientists in Germany also tried a combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil to treat patients suffering from functional dyspepsia to find that this holistic method showed amazing improvements when used for 28 days in a clinical trial.
Research has also found that essential oil obtained from Croton cajucara Benth, widely used in Amazonian folk medicine, offers gastric ulcer healing and protective factors of the gastric mucosa.
There are several essential oils that can help reduce digestive distress, irritation of the stomach, relieve inflammation and help to prevent infection. These are our favorites!
Peppermint essential oil is great for soothing digestive distress, but must be used carefully. When used in excess, peppermint can cause heartburn. But when used in small quantities, this oil can bring quick relief from nausea, bloating, stomach cramps and reflux.
How to Use it? Make sure you buy high quality peppermint oil safe for ingestion. You can mix a drop of this oil in your cup of herbal tea and sip slowly. You can also create a refreshing drink with a drop of peppermint oil mixed with ½ teaspoon of organic apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of Manuka honey mixed in a glass of warm water. Sip this slowly at the start of the day to give your digestive system a boost. Rubbing a drop of peppermint oil on your belly can also bring instant relief from bloating and reflux.
Alkaline in nature, lemon essential oil helps in neutralizing the acid in your stomach. It’s also mildly antibacterial and can kill bad bacteria to give your digestive system a good cleanse. Lemon is great for a detox, which is why adding a drop to a glass of water can help flush out all toxins and leftover acids in your stomach, giving your stomach the confidence to produce fresh, highly concentrated acid to optimally digest your next meal.
How to Use it? Add a drop of high quality lemon essential oil safe for ingestion to a glass of warm water and sip slowly half an hour before every meal to prepare your digestive system. Alternatively, you can also place 1-2 drops of lemon oil on your tongue and swish it around with saliva, and then swallow.
Ginger has been a time-proven cure for a variety of gastrointestinal ailments. It may come as no surprise then that ginger essential oil, which is made from ginger root, does wonders to calm your stomach and bring relief from heartburn, cramps, bloating and stomach ulcers.
How to Use it? Add 2-4 drops of pure ginger essential oil safe for ingestion into a cup of herbal tea and sip slowly. This drink is best had 20 minutes before meals to boost digestion. If you have a bad acid reflux attack, rub a few drops of oil on your stomach to find instant relief from bloating and pain. The smell of ginger oil also quells anxiety and nausea, which often accompany a bad acid reflux attack.
The scent of lavender has been used for time immemorial for its relaxing and calming effects, making it a staple in aromatherapy. Lavender oil works wonders for indigestion and heartburn because it promotes relaxation, which can be rather useful for someone struggling with bloating, reflux and the burning sensation of GERD. Its sedative properties also ensure a good night’s sleep, which is particularly helpful for those who suffer from night-time reflux and insomnia caused by GERD.
How to Use it? Rub 1 or 2 drops of lavender essential oil on your belly and chest to find relief from bloating and reflux. Feel free to dilute it with a carrier oil such as coconut or almond oil. You may also use a drop of therapeutic-grade lavender oil which is safe for ingestion on the back of the tongue to soothe the stomach and improve digestion. Alternatively, add a drop of this oil to your herbal tea and sip slowly post dinner to find relief from indigestion and reduce acid-reflux. Another great way to use lavender essential oil is to dab a few drops on your pillowcase to help you sleep soundly all night and keep night-time reflux at bay.
We all know that essential oils have a relaxing effect, and that’s the reason they work for GERD as well. Some oils, like peppermint, lavender, turmeric and ginger essential oils can aid in digestion and at the same time calm the spasms associated with reflux. Lemon and Ginger essential oils block acid production and suppress H.Pylori bacteria activity, soothing digestive issues, bloating and stomach aches.
However, it’s important to be aware that peppermint essential oil is a rather potent treatment, and when used incorrectly, it can result in increased GERD symptoms because it may relax the LES (lower esophageal sphincter) – a muscular lid between the esophagus and stomach, letting stomach acid travel back up the esophagus and into the mouth. If peppermint essential oil doesn’t work for you, try turmeric and ginger essential oils instead. These are safe for ingestion and also heal gastric ulcers.
It’s also important to note that not all essential oils are created equal. To find heartburn relief, it’s imperative that you choose the highest quality essential oils that are made from pesticide-free plants. Also, make sure you use 100% pure, high-quality essential oils that do not contain any synthetic additives. It’s best to do a bit of research or ask for professional advice to help find a good, reputable brand.
While essential oils are easy to buy from local drug stores and health food stores, we highly recommend that you work with an expert to find the correct dosage and usage method for your specific ailments. Essential oils can be more potent than many of us believe them to be! When it comes to essential oils, more is not better. We highly recommend you work with a naturopath if you plan ingestion of any essential oil for acid reflux.
Gastroprotective mechanisms of Citrus lemon (Rutaceae) essential oil and its majority compounds limonene and β-pinene: Involvement of heat-shock protein-70, vasoactive intestinal peptide, glutathione, sulfhydryl compounds, nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2 –
Peppermint oil for irritable bowel syndrome: a critical review and metaanalysis – https://www.nature.com/ajg/journal/v93/n7/abs/ajg1998239a.html
Efficacy and tolerability of a fixed combination of peppermint oil and caraway oil in patients suffering from functional dyspepsia –
Effect of essential oil obtained from Croton cajucara Benth. on gastric ulcer healing and protective factors of the gastric mucosa –
Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24756059