Essential Oils That Can Make Your Gut Regular

Regular trips to the bathroom can be a sign that your digestive system is running smoothly. But what happens if you're backed up? Believe it or not, understanding your gut health is key to keeping you regular. While the occasional laxative may help, common side effects like bloating and abdominal pain may have you reaching for natural solutions (per Everyday Health). That's where essential oils come in.

The gut, also known as the gut-microbiome, contains trillions of bacteria. Some are beneficial in supporting overall health, whereas others can create health concerns like inflammatory bowel disease (via ScienceDaily). Emergency physician Dr. Ken Perry states, "Problems with evacuating stool, although usually a problem of material making it through the GI tract, can be from a problem in the muscles of the pelvic floor or the rectum" (per MindBodyGreen). Another culprit could be a low-fiber diet, dehydration, or gut flora imbalances.

To support gut health, some of the best essential oils to try are ginger, peppermint, and fennel, MindBodyGreen reports. Peppermint, in particular, has been known to effectively ease the pain and symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome based on a 2019 study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Other gut-regulating oils include lemon, chamomile, and rosemary, per MindBodyGreen. It's important to speak with a healthcare specialist and read product labels carefully before ingesting essential oils. Not every essential oil product is meant to be ingested, and if they are, they may not be well suited for everyone. 

How to use essential oils topically for gut health

When it comes to topically using essential oils, less is more if you're new to them. It's important to dilute these drops in another oil, cream, or lotion (also known as a carrier), since applying pure essential oils directly to the skin can cause irritation, per Healthline. After diluting the oil, apply a small amount of the concoction onto your skin. If no reaction occurs, "massage along the entire length of the colon with clockwise and counterclockwise circular motions for about five to 10 minutes," Liz Simons, a pelvic health rehabilitation expert, explains to MindBodyGreen. While you're massaging, deeply breathe in to get the benefits of the scent as well. One 2011 study published in the Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing found rosemary oil was most effective through aroma massage therapy — a combination of aromatherapy and massaging the abdomen.

There's no scientifically proven time that works best for using essential oils to support gut health. But if you're feeling sluggish and heavy, that's a subtle sign you may want to use them (per MindBodyGreen). Gastroenterology Research and Practice recommends taking probiotics while using essential oils for added gut health.