How to use essential oils for stomach bugs

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

To benefit from the therapeutic properties of essential oils we can use them in the following ways to treat stomach bugs, stomach flu, or any other associated stomach issues;

  • Blend with a carrier oil and use to massage onto the abdomen
  • Inhale the oils, either directly or via burner or diffuser
  • Create a pulse point oil to apply and inhale

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.

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

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3 amber bottles, labelled nausea, sickness, bloating.  How to use essential oils for stomach bugs

How to use essential oils for stomach bugs

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.

Essential oils for stomach bugs

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

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

Now, 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.

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.

The best essential oils for stomach bugs

There are many essential oils that are effective at treating stomach bugs, and the range of other stomach issues that might accompany these.  Many essential oils, treat several issues associated with stomach flu, however, later we will look closer at specific issues, so you can choose the condition you would most like to treat.

In general, the main essential oils are;

Benzoin

Aids digestion, relieves flatulence and excess wind

Bergamot

Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antiviral.  Relieves flatulence and painful digestion

Chamomile

Relieves the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.  Aids and regulates peristalsis, through the intestines.  Helps ease indigestion and nausea.

Clove

Relieves flatulence and nausea

Fennel

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

Ginger

Settles the stomach, eases nausea, stimulates appetite

Lemon

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

Lemongrass

Relieves indigestions/stomach bugs

Mandarin

Expels wind and calms the stomach

Marjoram

Eases stomach cramps, alleviates indigestion and eases constipation

Myrrh

Helps reduce diarrhoea and flatulence

Orange

Calms the stomach, aids peristalsis, relieves diarrhoea and constipation

Peppermint

Helps  with flatulence, indigestion and nausea

Petitgrain

Calms stomach muscles, relieves indigestion, settles an upset stomach and alleviates painful digestion

Valerian

Relaxes stomach muscles, aids nervous indigestion

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

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.

  • Rose (do not use during pregnancy)
  • Rosemary (avoid during pregnancy, with epilepsy & high blood pressure)
  • Rosewood
  • Tea Tree
  • Thyme (avoid during pregnancy & with high blood pressure)
  • Pine
  • Orange (avoid direct sunlight when applied topically)
  • Lemon (avoid direct sunlight when applied topically)
  • Lavender

Essential oils for sickness

These oils will be beneficial to use during a stomach bug.  These oils are;

  • Analgesic – pain relieving
  • Antiviral – prevents or removes virus
  • Anti-bacterial – prevents or removes bacteria
  • Antispasmodic – calms muscle spasms

Ginger

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.

Peppermint

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)

Orange

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)

Lemongrass

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

Petitgrain

A good all-round oil for stomach issues, petitgrain helps calms the stomach muscles

Mandarin

Mandarin calms the stomach, so will be useful to ease the pain that accompanies the stomach flu.

Essential oil recipes for stomach flu & 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.  Alternatively they can be stored in a roller bottle to apply to the pulse points, as and when needed. For full blending instructions and information, read here.

  • 50ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 8 drops Peppermint
  • 10 drops Lemongrass
  • 50ml Sweet Almond oil
  • 10 drops Petitgrain
  • 10 drops Mandarin
  • (ideal if scent is an issue, as these oils are very light fragrances)

Check out these essential oils – one of my favourite brands – where you can purchase all the oils in this article from these links.

Inhalation for sickness

Oils can either be inhaled straight from the bottle, or 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!

Ginger or peppermint oil can be inhaled straight from the bottle.

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

2 drops Orange & 3 drops Lemongrass

3 drops Mandarin & 2 drops Ginger

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

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.  Use any of these oils in any combination mixed with a carrier oil (20 drops of essential oil to 50ml of carrier oil) to gently massage the abdomen as and when needed.

Mandarin

Orange

Myrrh (avoid during pregnancy)

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.

Ginger – alleviates feelings of nausea

Petitgrain – helps relieve the symptoms of an upset stomach

Chamomile – relieves nausea (avoid during pregnancy)

Peppermint – settles an upset stomach and associated nausea. (incompatible with homeopathic treatments)

Mandarin – calms the stomach

Massage oil blend for nausea/upset stomach

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.  Blend any of these oils (20 drops to 50ml of carrier oil), in any combination into a carrier oil and gently massage the abdomen as and when needed.

Peppermint

Bergamot

Mandarin

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.