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11 essential oils for stomach bugs (and how to use them)

by Alison Angold | Qualified Aromatherapist | CIDESCO ITEC

A stomach bug or stomach flu, as it sometimes known, can come with varying symptoms, but the main ones are nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

Usually having a stomach bug, means that there is something in your digestive system, that needs to come out – either a virus or bacteria – and the vomiting and diarrhoea is how your body deals with this expulsion.  This bacteria or virus needs to come out, but there are ways that we can ease the symptoms while this occurring, help get over the symptoms more quickly and prevent stomach flu from occurring.

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The best essential oils for stomach bugs

To best essential oils to have on hand for a stomach bug are any of the following;

  • Bergamot
  • Chamomile
  • Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Mandarin
  • Marjoram
  • Orange
  • Peppermint
  • Petitgrain

How to use essential oils for stomach bugs

There are different ways to use essential oils, however these will have the greatest benefits and effects for treating a range of stomach issues.

Massage oil

Blend a plain carrier oil with the essential oils and massage gently into the abdomen. The essential oils will be absorbed through the skin, into the bloodstream and to the target organ where the issue is.

Apply on pulse points to inhale

A blend of suitable essential oils can be created an applied onto pulse points when needed.  The blend can be made in a roller ball applicator to be carried around and used as and when relief is needed.

Diffuser/burner

This is an ideal way to benefit from the oils, either during or after illness, or for preventing illness from occurring.

I must stress at this point, that even though we are discussing the use of essential oils to treat stomach issues, the essential oils MUST NOT BE INGESTED!  Each oil has a unique chemical make-up, which, for most oils can be very dangerous if taken internally.

Essential oil blend to prevent stomach flu

To prevent the on-set of a stomach bug, for example, if it is already in your house or you know that a bug is doing the rounds, then burning or diffusing any of these oils can be effective.  They are all either Antibacterial or Antiviral, or both.  This means that they can remove or prevent virus or bacteria which are either one of the infections that can cause the stomach flu.

  • Rosemary
  • Rosewood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme
  • Pine
  • Orange
  • Lemon
  • Lavender

Essential Oils For Sickness

These oils will be beneficial to use when you are actually going through a stomach bug.  They will help relieve pain, reduce spasms in the stomach and prevent nausea, as well as being anti-bacterial or anti-viral to help get rid of the stomach virus. The oils can either diffused or blended into a carrier oil and applied topically. These oils are;

  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Orange
  • Mandarin
  • Petitgrain
  • Lemongrass

Essential Oils For Diarrhoea

Diarrhoea can often accompany stomach flu, or can be a stomach issue that can occur on its own.  These oils can help regulate bowel movements and help calm the intestines. These oils should be diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically – not ingested!

  • Mandarin
  • Orange
  • Myrrh

Essential Oils For Nausea/Upset Stomach

Often, we may just experience feelings of nausea, rather than full on vomiting.  This can result in our stomach being unsettled, which may or may not be accompanied by loose bowel movements. Again these oils are best blended with a carrier oil and applied topically.

  • Ginger
  • Petitgrain
  • Mandarin
  • Chamomile
  • Peppermint

Essential Oils For Flatulence And Wind

A digestive issue that can accompany stomach flu, or be a completely separate issue on its own.  Whether its due to Irritable bowel, something you’ve eaten that is irritating your intestines. Gently massage the diluted oils over the abdomen. 

  • Peppermint
  • Bergamot
  • Mandarin

Essential Oil Recipes For Stomach bugs & Sickness

Massage oil blend for sickness

Blend the essential oils, with the carrier oil and store in a tinted amber bottle.  Use a small amount to gently massage the abdomen.

  • 50ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 8 drops Ginger
  • 10 drops Orange
  • 50ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 8 drops Peppermint
  • 10 drops Lemongrass

Roller blends for nausea

  • 10ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 2 drops Petitgrain
  • 2 drops Mandarin
  • 10ml Sweet Almond oil,
  • 2 drops Ginger
  • 2 drops Petitgrain
  • 1 drops Chamomile
  • 10ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 2 drops Chamomile
  • 2 drops Peppermint
  • 1 drops Mandarin

Diffuser blends for stomach bugs & sickness

Essential oils can be warmed in a diffuser or burner, to fill the surrounding area.  A lot will depend on what aromas the patient is able to stand without feeling too sick, so use just enough to benefit from the scent without being too overpowering!

Add the following oils into your diffuser or burner and inhale the gentle scents to relieve feelings of nausea and sickness.

Orange & Lemongrass

Mandarin & Ginger

Bergamot & Petitgrain

How do Essential oils for stomach bugs work?

Essential oils are the pure oils that are extracted from flower petals, leaves, fruit or herbs, and are so fine and pure, that they have the ability to penetrate through the skin’s surface.

Because of this, they can get to work at a deeper level in the body and target specific areas or organs of the body. The fact that essential oils can penetrate into the bloodstream and travel, means they will have more of a beneficial effect on various stomach conditions we may experience.

Each essential oil has a variety of properties or therapeutic actions. It is important to be aware of these, so you get an idea of what effect, the specific essential oil is going to have, and therefore if it is going to work.

The therapeutic actions we want to look for to treat stomach issues are;

  • Analgesic – has a pain relieving effect
  • Anti-acid – reduces the effects of excess gastric acid
  • Anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammations in a particular area
  • Antispasmodic – calms and slows muscle spasms
  • Antiviral – prevents viruses or kills virus
  • Bactericidal – removes bacteria
  • Carminative – helps prevent flatulence and relieve excess wind
  • Stomachic – aids digestion and eases indigestion

The best essential oils for stomach bugs

Lets look at the best oils in a little more detail. In general, the main essential oils are;

Bergamot

Bergamot is analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral, and also relieves flatulence and painful digestion.

Chamomile

Chamomile relieves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome, while also aiding and regulating peristalsis, through the intestines.  It also helps ease indigestion and nausea.

Fennel

Cleans out intestine, liver and colon.  Alleviates flatulence and constipation

Ginger

Settles the stomach, eases nausea, stimulates appetite. Ginger is a lovely warming oil, that settles the stomach when experiencing nausea or feelings of sickness.  You can apply this in a carrier oil to the stomach, however often inhaling the scent of ginger is just as effective.

Lemon

Reduces high levels of gastric acid, therefore, relieving the symptoms of  heartburn. Reduces bloating

Lemongrass

Lemongrass relieves indigestions/stomach bugs

Lemongrass can be used to relieve gastro-enteritis, so a very good oil to use during and for the prevention of stomach flu. 

Mandarin

Expels wind and calms the stomachMandarin calms the stomach, so will be useful to ease the pain that accompanies the stomach flu

Marjoram

Eases stomach cramps, alleviates indigestion and eases constipation

Orange

Calms the stomach, aids peristalsis, relieves diarrhoea and constipation. This oil is calming to the stomach and is good to use during any stomach issues; pain, sickness, nausea.  (Avoid direct sunlight when applied topically)

Peppermint

Helps  with flatulence, indigestion and nausea. Peppermint is also good at relieving feelings of sickness and nausea, as it settles the stomach.   Massaging in topically can be effective but inhalation of peppermint oil can also give instant relief to sick feelings  (Incompatible with homeopathic treatments)

Petitgrain

Petitgrain calms stomach muscles, relieves indigestion, settles an upset stomach and alleviates painful digestionA good all-round oil for stomach issues, petitgrain helps calms the stomach muscles

(Avoid Chamomile, fennel, marjoram& myrrh, during pregnancy.  Peppermint is incompatible with homeopathic medicines)

A row of essential oil on a shelf in front of a wooden star.  How to use essential oils for stomach bugs

more essential oils that may relieve stomach bugs

Essential oils for indigestion

Maybe not directly related to stomach flu, but indigestion is another issues associated with the stomach that can be eased by the use of essential oils.

  • Chamomile (avoid during pregnancy)
  • Lemongrass
  • Bergamot
  • Lemon

Massage oil blend for indigestion

Blend these oils together and store in a tinted amber bottle. Gently massage to the chest and stomach as and when needed.

50ml Sweet Almond oil, 5 drops Chamomile, 5 drops Bergamot, 5 drops Lemon – good for excess acid

50ml Sweet Almond oil, 5 drops Lemongrass, 5 drops Chamomile, 5 drops Bergamot

Essential oils for bloating and IBS

Essential oils can be particularly useful for bloating which may be linked to over-indulgence, irritable bowel syndrome or excess gas in the stomach and intestines.  Use any of these oil, blended with a carrier oil, (20 drops of essential oil per 50ml of carrier oil), to gently massage the abdomen as and when needed.

  • Mandarin – eases bloating
  • Petitgrain – relieves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome. 
  • Chamomile – antispasmodic so regulates movements in the intestines so good for relieving relieves irritable bowel syndrome and bloating

Precautions of using essential oils for stomach flu and other stomach issues

Please note the essential oils that should be avoided during pregnancy;

Chamomile, fennel, marjoram, rosemary and myrrh. 

The citrus oils of orange, lemon, lemongrass, bergamot and mandarin are all phototoxic which means that direct sunlight should be avoided if applying topically.

Peppermint is incompatible with homeopathic treatments.

If ever in any doubt of the use of any of the essential oils, please consult your local practitioner or contact me for a proper consultation, or contact your doctor for advise.

As mentioned before, using essential oils to relieve stomach issues, should be a temporary measure.  If you are suffering long-term or sudden changes in stomach/bowel condition. Please consult your doctor.

Purchase here;

A great basic essential oil diffuser.

Pretty essential oil burners – these are the ones I use!

Sweet almond oil – a great base for massage blends

A great starter set of essential oils.

Always store your blends in amber bottles!

Roller applicators – ideal for using essential oils on the go.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years experience in this industry and has worked in a variety of beauty salons, spa’s as well as running her own successful beauty and massage business. Her career has allowed her to treat many, many clients, with skincare concerns, medical conditions, and a whole variety of other ailments and issues, that has enabled her to work closely with essential oils, prescribing specific blends for these clients to help with these conditions. Her qualifications in the use of essential oils and aromatherapy, allow her to share this knowledge with others, in a safe, reliable way.

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