What are carminative essential oils used for?

by Alison Angold CIDESCO ITEC

What are carminative essential oils used for?

Carminative essential oils have the ability to help prevent flatulence and expel and relieve excess wind from the body.  They are ideal to use on a regular basis to ease and regulate digestion, so that excess gas and flatulence is less likely to occur, and to be used when trapped wind, excess gas or flatulence is actually occurring.

Carminative essential oils are used for;

  • Relieve trapped wind
  • Expel excess gas
  • Regulate movement in the intestines
  • Improve digestion and relieve bloating

Due to this ability, carminative essential oils are also very useful for preventing and alleviating bloating and any other symptoms that may be due to overindulgence, irritable bowel syndrome, or digestive health.

A rosemary essential oil in front of a selection of other essential oils.  What are carminative essential oils used for?

The best carminative essential oils are;

  • Benzoin
  • Fennel
  • Mandarin
  • Myrrh
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary

What are carminative essential oils?

Carminative essential oils are the oils extracted from the leaves and flowers of plants and herbs, the peel of fruits and even sometimes the root and bark from trees. 

Each essential oil has a variety of properties or therapeutic actions which means they have an affect on the skin, body or mind.

Because the molecules in the essential oils are so pure and fine, they have the ability to penetrate into the skin, reach the bloodstream and get taken to their target organ, or area of the body.

Essential oils that are carminative will have a positive effect – mainly – on the organs of digestion, namely the stomach and the intestines. These oils, can aid and calm digestive disorders, such as indigestion, excess gastric acid, constipation, diarrhoea, and in the case of specific carminative essential oils, relieve flatulence and expel excess wind and gas.

How do carminative essential oils work?

Regulate intestinal flow

Carminative oils are usually also antispasmodic, which means that they can alleviate spasms within the intestines, thus allowing digestion to happen more naturally.  Some of the oils, help regulate peristalsis within the intestine.  Peristalsis is the muscle contractions that help move food and waste along the digestive tract.  So if this muscle contraction is regulated then digestion is healthier and bloating and excess gas is less likely to happen.

Antibacterial properties

Many of the essential oils also have antibacterial properties, which means that they can have the ability to remove or prevent bacteria in the intestines.  This will help to keep your gut and digestive system healthy.

Why might we need carminative essential oils?

Excess wind, gas or bloating usually occurs if we have over-eaten, eaten something that has irritated the digestive tract, or when suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, but it may be worth looking at your diet to determine what causes you to experience these symptoms, so you can try and eliminate certain foods and prevent gas or bloating from occurring.

There are also carminative herbs that really help to improve digestion, therefore reducing bloating and excess gas.  These herbs are often found in tea – chamomile tea, peppermint tea or fennel tea are all excellent for the digestion.

Essential oils, on the other hand MUST NOT be ingested!!

It is important to stress at this stage, that essential oils can be used to give relief to occasional to gas, flatulence, and bloating.  If you are constantly suffering with these issues or see a noticeable difference in your bowel habits or bloating, then please consult your doctor.

The best carminative essential oils

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Benzoin, is a lesser known oil, that aids digestion and relieves flatulence.  This means that not only will it help relieve the excess gas that may be currently present, but can promote good and easier digestion, so should prevent flatulence and wind too.


Fennel is the ultimate detoxifying essential oil as it helps to cleanse out the liver and colon, which is useful for alleviating any digestive issues, that in turn, may be causing excess gas and flatulence. Fennel is also good at relieving constipation.

(Do not use Fennel during pregnancy or if epileptic.  Use in small and safe amounts only)


Mandarin is a lovely light citrus essential that is a good all-rounder for digestive or stomach issues. It aids digestion, so should help prevent excess wind or flatulence.  It calms the stomach so excellent for any associated nausea and helps expels wind.


This oil helps relieve diarrhoea and flatulence, so makes a good addition to a carminative essential oil blend or a blend for a stomach upset.

(Do not use during pregnancy and use in low doses only)


Peppermint is a well known essential oil for stomach and digestive issues.  It is effective at easing flatulence, indigestion and nausea, so makes an ideal carminative essential oil.

(Peppermint counteracts the effects of homeopathic medicines, so should not be used with them)


Another well known essential oil for digestion and stomach issues.  Ginger settles the stomach, alleviates nausea and helps to expel wind.


A lovely herby essential oil that relieves flatulence and regulates bowel movements. 

(Do not use during pregnancy, if epileptic or with high blood pressure)

All essentials can be purchased through these links;

How to use carminative essential oils

The best ways to use carminative essential oils is by blending them into a carrier oil and using them to massage the abdomen.

The essential oils are so pure that they have the ability to penetrate the skin and reach the bloodstream, thus travelling to the target area of the body.  In the case of carminative essential oils, this will be the stomach but mainly the intestines, where excess gas can accumulate and cause pain and discomfort.

Carminative essential oil recipes

Any essential oils must always be blended with a carrier oil before application.  These should be stored in an amber or blue tinted bottle, and clearly labelled.  

Sweet Almond oil is a good all-round oil to use on the body which is packed with essential vitamins and fatty acids.  

Massage oil for relieving wind & gas

Either of these 2 oils will work well for relieving excess gas. Massage gently into the abdomen as and when needed.

50ml Sweet Almond oil, 8 drops Fennel & 12 drops Mandarin

50ml Sweet Almond oil, 6 drops Peppermint & 6 drops Rosemary & 6 drops Mandarin

Nausea essential oil blend

This is a good blend for when your stomach needs settling.

20ml Sweet Almond, 4 drops Peppermint and 4 drops Ginger

Upset stomach blend

A good gentle blend that can relieve, sickness, nausea or diarrhoea associated with a stomach upset.

20ml Sweet Almond oil, 4 drops Mandarin & 4 drops Ginger


Use this oil – massaged onto the chest or stomach – if you suffer with indigestion

20ml Sweet Almond, 4 drops Peppermint & 4 drops Benzoin

Diffuser blends

Diffusing or burning essential oils can be another way to benefit and alleviate symptoms (massaging the oil into the abdomen will give quicker relief) but inhaling the oils can also be effective. 

The oils reach the olfactory system via the nose and can enter the bloodstream from here.  However the aromas have the most effective here, so are generally useful to use for symptoms of nausea.

Any of the carminative essential oils that we have discussed can be used in a diffuser, and sometimes its fun to play around with different oils to find a scent you like! However here are some tried and tested blends that smell great and have effective therapeutic properties.

Peppermint & Mandarin

Benzoin, Ginger & Rosemary

Mandarin & Rosemary

Precautions of carminative essential oils

Carminative essential oils are relatively safe to use in small quantities, however, should be for occasional or short term use. If you suffer with digestive issues for a longer period or you notice any sudden change in your digestion or bowel movements, please visit your doctor.

Myrrh, Fennel and Rosemary essential oils should not be used during pregnancy.

Fennel and Myrrh should only be used in small quantities. (The quantities recommended in this article are safe to use on a semi regular basis)

Peppermint essential oil should not be used with homeopathic medicines.

Rosemary should be avoided by epileptics and those with high blood pressure.

If ever in any doubt about the use of essential oils, or if you have any other medical conditions, then please seek advice from your local aromatherapy practitioner or your GP.

About the Author
Alison Angold is a fully qualified (certified) beauty therapist, massage therapist, and aromatherapist from the UK. She has over 25 years of 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, which 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.