Essential Oils for Acid Reflux
Acid reflux is a condition that causes a painful burning sensation in the chest area, normally after eating. This occurs when the stomach acids – normally used to break down and digest foods – end up re-entering the esophagus and thereby burning inside the food pipe. This can also lead to a number of other symptoms – it might feel as though you have pains in your back or even your should and you can experience difficulty swallowing as well as experiencing bloating and other symptoms. In some cases, your food may even travel up the esophagus as well.
If you are suffering with acid reflux, then there are a number of different treatments you can try. One of the lesser known approaches is to use essential oils.
How Essential Oils Help Acid Reflux
Essential oils can be used to treat acid reflux because they have a number of active ingredients and therapeutic properties. Essential oils can help to relax and soothe the muscles, they can help to reduce the production of acids, or they can help to increase the production of digestive enzymes to more efficiently break down foods.
So how do you use essential oils for acid reflux? The most effective method is normally to take a few drops (normally 1-4) and add to a little hot water. Allow this to cool and then drink. Not only will the warm water itself help to soothe the stomach and the esophagus but the essential oil will be delivered to the stomach where it can begin to work its magic.
You can also add a few more ingredients to this concoction if you want to enjoy further benefits. One good example is honey which is naturally very soothing and can even work to coat the inside lining of the stomach and esophagus to reduce the discomfort caused by acids. Also popular is to add a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. This is strongly alkaline and can help to neutralize the acids in the esophagus.
Note though that different things will work better for different people. As such, you may want to try a number of these essential oils on their own first to find which is the most effective at reducing the discomfort. Only then might you wish to add the additional ingredients to provide additional therapeutic benefits.
The Best Essential Oils for Heartburn
Ginger oil works best when consumed just before your meal. This is because it is very effective at blocking acid production and suppressing h.pylori bacteria. It is commonly used to treat and prevent stomach ulcers for these same reasons.
In other words then, when you consume ginger oil as a tea, you will be preventing your stomach from creating as much acid (some of the acids are actually created by bacteria!) and this means you may find less discomfort. This is most effective when you are experiencing heartburn due to an overabundance of stomach acid.
Marjoram oil meanwhile is another type of essential oil that works in a different way to ginger oil. This time, the oil works to provide anti-spasmodic benefits. This means it can prevent muscle spasms – including the kinds that cause hiccups.
The reason this is so beneficial, is that spasms can quite often be responsible for acid reflux as the esophageal sphincter opens and closes suddenly and pressure changes inside the stomach (the stomach is surrounded by muscles that are used in order to churn the food inside).
When you consume marjoram oil then, you can hopefully encourage the esophageal sphincter to stay closed and prevent hiccups, tension and spasms.
As an added bonus, marjoram oil can also help to balance the bacteria in the stomach.
To make the most of marjoram oil, you should also let gravity do its work. One of the biggest causes of acid reflux and heartburn is moving around too vigorously after eating, or lying down. Likewise, sitting in a hunched or bench over position can also be a problem. All of this makes it easier for food and acids to travel back up your food pipe. If you stay upright and try not to move around too much, then you’ll avoid this because everything will travel downward toward your stomach.
Combining a good ‘post meal ritual’ with the right essential oils can help to almost ensure that your food pipes only allow one-way traffic!
Valerian Root Oil
Valerian root oil is another good essential oil that works similarly to marjoram in that it relaxes the muscles to prevent spasms and reflux. This time, the oil works to completely relax the muscles and achieves this partly by increasing the inhibitory neutransmitter ‘GABA’. This makes valerian root oil mildly sedative and it is actually commonly used to aid sleep.
So does this work? Sure but you need to consider that the essential oil works best when consumed before bed. If you find yourself waking up in the night with acid reflux – which is an issue for some people – then this can be a very effective treatment.
If you already have indigestion or acid reflux, then peppermint oil might be a useful choice. This can act as an analgesic and painkiller but is also very therapeutic thanks to the content of l-menthol. This is like consuming a cooling and tingle agent that will counteract the burning sensation of the reflux. Imagine spraying foam onto a fire!
If you use peppermint oil though, just make sure that you only use a small quantity and add something else to the beverage as well. Peppermint oil is very strong and can otherwise cause problems!
What can also help to neutralize the discomfort caused by acid in the esophagus is to consume foods and medicines that are naturally alkaline. Heartburn medication such as Gaivscon can be very effective in helping this. This is also why we add apple cider vinegar to our concoctions often.
An alternative oil that works very similarly is wild orange essential oil which is also commonly used for constipation.
While some oils on this list are designed to suppress or neutralize the acids you produce when you eat, lemon oil is used rather differently. This time, you are consuming the oil in order to encourage more of certain specific acids and digestive enzymes. This in turn can help with your digestion and prevent certain foods from causing problems as you eat. Better yet, lemon oil will help to encourage digestive enzymes in the saliva such as bromelain. This means that the food should be dissolved more in the mouth before it even makes it as far as the stomach.
You can also enhance the effectiveness of lemon oil in a few other ways. One big tip is simply to drink more water. Drinking more water will help to dilute stomach acids and will also break up the food and dissolve it as it goes down creating less work for your digestive system and less that can go wrong! Additionally though, drinking water also actually encourages extra production of saliva to further help provide digestive enzymes at this crucial stage.
You can also gain benefits by using certain dietary supplements such as directly taking digestive enzymes before dinner. This will work very well if you also consume some lemon oil.
Another tip is just to eat much more slowly. If you struggle with this, then try using tricks such as using smaller cutlery, or placing your cutlery down after each mouthful. Another method is to make sure that you chew each mouthful at least a minimum number of times. By doing this, you will not only break the food down much smaller in your mouth but you will also help to produce more saliva and enzymes as you do. Even your stomach will have more time to prepare and you’ll be forced to deal with less food at once.
This also helps because it means you’ll be inhaling less air as you eat. This is a good thing as air bubbles can lead to hiccups and other spasms that cause acid reflux. As an added bonus, chewing more can also make you feel fuller faster as your brain has time to react to the signals sent from your stomach.
If you combine these tips with the right use of essential oils then, you can help to fend off acid reflux and feel much better while you enjoy your food as a result!