The Best Essential Oils For Digestion

by Annie Mascia May 07, 2024

The Best Essential Oils For Digestion

Many of us are affected at least occasionally with digestive issues such as indigestion, bloating, gas and constipation and when these issues hit, things can unfortunately get uncomfortable. What we eat and how much stress we take in daily can also impact gut health. Emerging research into the internal network between our brain and gut, known as the Gut-Brain Axis (GBA), shows how the body bridges conversation between the organs, via physical sensations and hormones to influence activity such as hunger, cravings, digestion, mood, metabolism, pain sensitivity and immunity, etc (1). 

Interestingly, the brain, gut and immune system are linked through the vagus nerve and have been discovered to have a direct connection with depression (2). Experts are still learning today about how the microbiota of the gut controls and affects nutrition, metabolism, energy levels and the immune system as well as how gut health is influenced by chronic stress (3). But the main idea is important: there is a direct correlation between emotions and the gut. The GBA works in a feedback loop where emotions can make physical sensations in your gut seem more intense, potentially raising your stress levels and, in turn, your emotional response (1). 

Understanding Digestive Woes

The digestive system plays a crucial role in breaking down food so that the bloodstream can absorb nutrients. These nutrients are a source of energy and an absolute necessity for continued health, wellness and vitality. The gut’s health is determined by many factors including a diverse microbiome, diet, weight, genetics, age, personal decisions as well as stress levels (3). Many of these considerations can contribute to digestive issues and create physical discomfort - from acid reflux to bloating, gas, constipation, IBS, gallstones and diarrhea. If negative factors in the gut become chronic, nutritional deficiencies may arise impacting stress levels, mental health and quality of life. 

Although some of these factors may be out of your control, there are steps you can take to support your overall digestive health to manage digestive issues and improve overall well-being. 

One way to improve your health is by eating a diet rich in whole foods, such as vegetables, fruits and whole grains. It is also essential to avoid processed foods which lack the nutrients your body needs to optimize your quality of life. Eating whole foods assists in creating a more diverse intestinal flora with an impactful microbiome on physiology and leads to better health (3). Poor diet and chronic stress lead to lower diversity and can cause metabolic disorders, inflammation, skin problems, etc. 

We know it's not always convenient to eat healthy, but essential oils can be beneficial as supplemental and natural health boosts to your daily routine. Several essential oil singles target digestive health and can be advantageous for also calming stress levels

Essential Oils And The Gut-Brain Connection

Exploratory research is still emerging on the intricate relationship of essential oils and the GBA - for stomach issues, digestive health, stress relief and modulating mood to promote well-being holistically. There is a plethora of research on essential oils and their benefits to our health (5). Essential oils have multiple actions such as natural antioxidants, anti-inflammatories, antimicrobials, antispasmodics, central nervous system relaxants, pain relievers, congestive relief, etc (4). When inhaled, they stimulate systems of the body including the olfactory (nasal), respiratory (airways), and gastrointestinal (digestive) systems. This effect includes the release of endorphins to initiate the pain and stress relief which adds to a sense of well-being. 

For example, studies of essential oils on the nervous system and inhalation of stress and anxiety-reducing essential oils such as Sweet Orange, Green Mandarin, Grapefruit, Lavender and Petitgrain can help to calm stress hormone levels via the olfactory and limbic system (5,6). Many essential oils including those mentioned above can also reduce negative emotions and improve mood. Studies on Peppermint essential oil to treat irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and indigestion find that it can relax smooth muscle cells that line the digestive tract (7). However, while some studies of those who suffer from IBS have shown mixed results, others have found benefits, reporting less gas and bloating as well as reduced stomach pain compared with those who took a placebo.

To promote your gratification, here is a practice you can incorporate while using essential oils: when you are stressed, find a quiet location and close your eyes. Think about where in your body you are holding tension, often people hold tension in the abdominal area and around the neck and shoulders. While focusing on relaxing these muscles, incorporate deeper breathing and maybe even a mantra while breathing the oils to assist relaxation and reduce emotional stress responses. 

Top Essential Oils For Soothing Stomach Woes

Below are some of our favorite essential oils for stomach issues and digestive support. Let's delve into how they influence gut health.

  • Peppermint: one of the most widely studied essential oils for digestive health, energizing Peppermint essential oil is comprised mainly of menthol that has muscle relaxant properties and has immense potential to alleviate spastic colon, indigestion and nausea, abdominal pain, bloating, gas as well as problems that arise from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (7). 
  • Ginger: traditionally used to ease nausea, motion sickness, and digestive discomfort, Ginger essential oil is made from the root of the plant, is warming and may help protect the liver and reduce the inflammatory response as well as have antioxidant properties. It contains compounds such as a-Zingiberene, which is considered anti-inflammatory and anti-nausea and can help improve instances of indigestion (8).
  • Green Mandarin: while there isn't extensive scientific research specifically on Green Mandarin essential oil for gut health, it shares properties such as limonene with other citrus essential oils commonly used to support stress relief, boost the immune system in addition to calming the nervous system - all potential triggers for digestive discomfort. 
  • Cardamom: a sweet spiced warming oil used for millennia as a digestive aid Cardamom essential oil is steam distilled from its seeds and is a known antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Its traditional uses include relieving nausea, cramping, gas and bloating. According to research studies, Cardamom is used to treat multiple gut-related disorders as an antispasmodic, antibacterial, and antidiarrheal by relaxing smooth muscle of the intestinal tract (9).
  • Fennel: cultivated from its seeds, Fennel essential oil is fresh and sweet with a hint of spiciness. It has a long history of promoting digestive health in traditional Ayurveda and Chinese medicines. It has been shown to support digestion by relaxing smooth muscle and alleviating symptoms of indigestion, bloating, and gas. As a carminative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory Fennel may promote the absorption of nutrients through the digestive tract (10).

Edens Garden's Digest Ease Blend, Nausea & Motion Sickness and Tummy Aid blends

Some essential oils, such as Lavender, Petitgrain and Roman Chamomile have been found to exert calming effects on the nervous system. Other oils have the potential to influence digestive function by reducing inflammation and muscle spasms. Since stress can have a significant impact on gastrointestinal function, many essential oils have the capacity to combat the exacerbating symptoms of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and colitis and improve quality of life. Additionally, many essential oils have been studied for anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and analgesic properties, which could benefit gut health by reducing inflammation, combating harmful bacteria, and alleviating discomfort associated with digestive issues.

Integrating essential oils into daily wellness routines for digestive health is simple with the following applications: 

  1. Inhale them directly from a cotton ball or a reusable essential oil inhaler 
  2. Diffuse them in one of Edens Gardens many devices for at-home, office or on-the-go use. 
  3. Or dilute them with a carrier oil such as Apricot Kernel Seed oil, Castor oil or Jojoba oil into a massage oil blend at a 1-3% ratio

If using topically, apply them in a clockwise direction around the abdomen which aids the direction of digestion. With gentle pressure, start with small circles around the belly button and spiral outward to cover the entire belly in larger circles. Try adding a heating pad for 10-15 minutes to assist absorption of the oils. And, always remember, a little goes a long way, and it's always best to perform a patch test before applying topically to ensure there's no adverse reaction.

  • Digest Ease
    Whether you suffer from digestive issues often or occasionally, integrating Digest Ease into your daily regimen is as easy as beneficial. Simply inhaling this blend does what the name suggests. Suggested by users to always have on hand to inhale when needed, this blend is made with a combination of Cardamom, Lemon, Ginger, Lavender, Fennel, Carrot Seed, Spearmint and Vanilla CO2. Its makeup is similar to Tummy Aid with the added benefit of EOs such as Cardamom, Fennel and Lavender that assist in reducing gas, bloating and nausea and offer anti-inflammatory rewards as a wholesome digestive tract remedy. 
  • Nausea & Motion Sickness
    Designed to soothe the senses and calm the stomach, Nausea & Motion Sickness is Edens Garden go-to essential oil blend for stomach upset whether from roller-coaster rides, long car journeys, or simply waves of uneasiness. Skillfully crafted with the brightness of Lemon, crisp energetics of Peppermint and the warm radiance of Ginger, its aroma mollifies the senses and eases upset stomach. Use it simply by diffusing for short bursts of time or inhaling straight from the bottle as needed to rejuvenate the spirit and stave off stomach troubles. Edens Garden Nausea & Motion Sickness roll-on is pre-blended to a safe dilution and makes a great remedy when rolled onto the palms of the hands - cup hands over the nose and breathe the aroma in deeply 4-5 times and as often as needed.
  • Tummy Aid
    Tummy Aid is a delightful amalgam of essential oils that are earthy, citrusy and sweet with robust Ginger, Lemon, Lavender, Petitgrain, Sweet Orange, Spearmint, Roman Chamomile, German Chamomile, and Vanilla CO2. These oils merge to bring you an ingeniously crafted wellness blend. Whether your discomfort is due to general stomach troubles, food-borne pathogens or even motion sickness Tummy Aid has you covered. 

Safe Practices: Using Essential Oils for Digestive Health

To safely and effectively incorporate essential oils into your health regimen, please recognize that essential oils are potent and concentrated plant material. With this in mind, we have some pointers to keep in mind. 

  • Most importantly, never ingest essential oils before consulting a doctor or a trained aromatherapist. Edens Garden does not recommend the internal use of essential oils due to their volatile nature. Essential oils that are specified for indigestion have specific uses and applications. They are not meant to be ingested as is due to their high concentration and volatility - particularly if your goal is to alleviate gastrointestinal issues. Swallowing a highly concentrated and pure essential oil could cause serious bouts of nausea, burn the esophagus and injure the stomach’s lining. 
  • For topical use, always dilute essential oils with a carrier oil. A dilution of 3%  (15 drops per ounce) is our general dilution guideline. For maximum dilution rates, read this blog.
  • Some essential oils are considered very hot and irritating when applied topically (ie. Oregano, Cinnamon and Clove). These oils should be diluted to a maximum of 1% (5-6 drops per ounce) in carrier oils. 
  • When using oils for the first time, conduct a skin patch test on the inner arm and wait 24 hours to avoid sensitivities or allergic reactions. Discontinue use if irritation occurs.
  • When using essential oils topically for digestive support, apply them to the abdomen in the clockwise direction of digestion. 
  • Avoid applying essential oils directly to sensitive areas or open wounds.
  • With any underlying health conditions or pregnancy, nursing or prescription medications, consult your doctor before using essential oils for digestive health. Some essential oils may interact with medications or exacerbate certain health conditions.
  • Please keep in mind that the use of essential oils is a complementary medicine and should not replace a doctor's advice.

Always store essential oils in a cool, dark place and away from direct sunlight and heat which helps to preserve their life.


  1. What is the Gut-Brain Connection?
  2. Recognizing the Role of the Vagus Nerve in Depression from Microbiota-Gut Brain Axis
  3. Modulation of Gut Microbiota by Essential Oils and Inorganic Nanoparticles: Impact in Nutrition and Health
  4. The Influence of Essential Oils on Gut Microbial Profiles in Pigs
  5. Citrus Essential Oils in Aromatherapy: Therapeutic Effects and Mechanisms
  6. The Effects of Essential Oils on the Nervous System
  7. By the Way Doctor, What Can You Tell Me About Peppermint Oil?
  8. Nausea and Vomiting
  9. Effects of Essential Oils of Elettaria cardamomum Grown in India and Guatemala on Gram-Negative Bacteria and Gastrointestinal Disorders
  10. The effect of a fennel seed extract on the STAT signaling and intestinal barrier function

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Patricia Mabry

May 14, 2024 at 1:12 pm

This was a great read I have used Digestive ease , peppermint and others they are great. Love to try the other’s.

Edens Garden

May 10, 2024 at 8:07 am

Hi Patricia! For direction on essential oils for fibromyalgia, please reach out to our aromatherapists at

Patricia Mabry

May 10, 2024 at 8:06 am

Thank you affirmative I learned a lot I have most of the symptoms, fibromyalgia and so on. Now to decide which one to get. I have tried some of them. Are you better off getting the one with the most ingredients?