Please note that we do not sell food grade essential oils and they should not be ingested. Learn more about the safety of ingesting essential oils.
Most people experience a bloated stomach at some point, although for some it can be a sign of a more serious condition developing.
A natural option is to use peppermint oil for a bloated stomach, which can help to relax your muscles and allow you to regain some sense of comfort.
We explain how to use peppermint essential oil for bloating and explain why it may happen in the first place, how the oil works, some of the best ways to use it and other benefits this wonderful oil has to offer.
What causes stomach bloating?
Despite all of the research that has gone into learning more about how the gut works and the reason why stomachs can bloat, there is still no general consensus on the exact cause of the condition.
Various studies have found several issues that can lead to a bloated stomach. For example, one study suggested that ‘spasms’ or ‘twitches’ in an oversensitive gut are the most likely cause, along with an imbalance of ‘friendly’ bacteria.
Does using peppermint oil for bloating work?
There has been quite a bit of research into how effective peppermint oil is at easing bloating symptoms. For example, a 2019 review referred to data produced by several studies that looked at the impact of menthol, peppermint and caraway on bloating. When used in combination, it showed very promising signs in easing and reducing common symptoms associated with the condition.
Another review of studies found that peppermint oil was particularly effective at reducing the duration, frequency and severity of the pain experienced when bloated, compared to the use of a placebo.
How does peppermint oil help bloating?
Using peppermint oil can help ease a wide range of digestive conditions, including bloating. It is believed that the natural oil produced by peppermint – which contains a group of compounds known as ‘spasmolytics’ – is responsible for the medicinal benefits the plant can offer
Muscles contract when they start to absorb calcium, which also occurs in the gut. IBS sufferers have an overactive digestive tract and the muscles lining the digestive wall start to spasm, which is the reason why they feel uncomfortable or bloated.
Research has found that peppermint contains a chemical called ‘monoterpene’ which is able to block the uptake of calcium. When absorbed by the body, it can prevent the digestive tract from twitching, essentially blocking the chemical reaction, which can make it easier to deal with bloating symptoms.
How to use peppermint oil for bloating
To use peppermint essential oil for bloating you can try the following recipe:
- Peppermint essential oil (2 drops)
- 225 ml of filtered water
- Juice of ½ a lemon
- Peppermint sprigs and fresh lemon slices
Mix the water, oil and lemon in a bottle and shake with the lid on to ensure they blend together, before adding the fresh lemon slices and mint. Drink slowly, and it should ease your digestive symptoms.
What are the side effects of using peppermint oil for bloating?
There is a considerable amount of scientific evidence that shows peppermint oil can be very effective at reducing bloating issues. However, there are some small risks that you should be aware of before using it.
The same ingredients that enable peppermint oil to help the gut wall muscles can also relax the sphincter muscles, which can lead to stomach acid rising in the oesophagus. This only relates to food grade peppermint oil, which is the only type that can be ingested.
There is a more general risk to be aware of, as is the case with all essential oils, as the oil could cause an allergic reaction. Before using it for the first time, complete a patch test to ensure it is suitable for your skin.
At Nikura, we do not sell food grade essential oils, so you should never digest any of our products.
What else can I try to ease bloating?
Peppermint is undoubtedly one of the most popular remedies used by people to ease stomach bloating. However, there are lots of other methods you can try if peppermint isn’t working as you’d hoped, or if the scent is too strong.
The use of probiotics has continued to grow over the past few years, with evidence suggesting that a contributing factor to stomach bloating is an imbalance in the gut bacteria that support food digestion.
Probiotics can help to restore the balance of good and bad bacteria, which can reduce the production of gas and inflammation. It can also make it easier to digest food, alleviating feelings of bloating and swelling.
Peppermint is more suitable for short-term and occasional bouts of stomach bloating. If you have an ongoing issue that hasn’t been diagnosed or if you already have IBS, speak with a doctor to get medical advice about your situation. You may be advised to use both probiotics and peppermint at different times to ease the symptoms.
Other ways of using peppermint oil
Peppermint oil is one of the most versatile oils you can use, with quite a few different ways to enjoy its health benefits. See if the following could work for you:
1. Inhale peppermint oil without diluting
A common method used by many people is to simply inhale the scent from the bottle, add a few drops to a tissue or handkerchief and use as and when you need, or add a few drops to your diffuser. Inhaling peppermint oil can help to:
- Suppress your appetite for a short period.
- Offer short term relief from sinus congestion.
- Improve your focus and concentration levels.
- Clear your head and remove crowding thoughts.
2. Make your own peppermint lip scrub
The colder months can be very harsh on lips, drying them out and creating broken skin for sores to appear. You can include peppermint essential oil as part of a sugar scrub lip recipe that can keep your skin moisturised during the winter:
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 2 tablespoons of your preferred carrier oil
- 1 teaspoon ground vanilla bean powder
- ¼ cup organic sugar
Place all the ingredients into a bowl and stir until fully blended. Store the mixture in small containers at room temperature and apply to your lips 1-2 times a week, or whenever your lips need moisture. Wipe the mixture off when you have finished scrubbing.
3. Use peppermint oil for a homemade mouthwash
There are lots of mouthwashes out there, but it can be a game of trial and error trying to find one you find palatable. Instead, you can use peppermint oil to make your own mouthwash, which can leave your mouth feeling fresh and clean:
- 10-20 drops of peppermint oil
- 2-3 cups filtered water
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
Add the ingredients to a mason jar and once you are sure the lid is secure, shake the jar to blend everything together. You can keep it in your bathroom and use it 1-2 times a day, making sure to give it a little shake each time.
4. Decongest with a peppermint roller bottle
Peppermint can work well as a short-term decongestant, opening your airwaves if you are feeling bunged up. It’s a simple recipe that you can simply let the ingredients work their magic:
- 10 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 10 drops peppermint essential oil
- 5 drops frankincense essential oil
- Coconut oil
- Roller bottle
Add the ingredients to the bottle and add coconut oil. Close the lid, secure and shake. Take the bottle and roll on your feet, chest, behind your ears and on the bottom of your feet, and it can offer some short-term relief to clear your head and mind.
What else can you use peppermint oil for?
Using peppermint essential oil for bloating can be very effective, and there are several other benefits it can offer, including:
- Tackling constipation: Because peppermint can relax the stomach muscles, it can also speed up the transit of food through the gut. This can also help to ease bloating, indigestion and constipation.
- Boost your hair health: The menthol found in peppermint oil can help boost the blood flow around the scalp once applied. Good blood flow is essential to sustained hair growth and the oil can also help to soothe and cleanse the scalp.
- Relieve itchy skin: The cooling sensation provided by peppermint oil can help ease discomfort caused by itchy skin. When mixed with a carrier oil, simply apply to the irritated part of the skin and let the oil cool and soothe.
- Natural insect repellent: Peppermint has a very strong and distinct scent, which some insects like to avoid at all costs. Make a DIY bug spray and spritz onto your skin and it can offer some protection if you are heading into areas heavily populated by insects.
However you choose to use peppermint oil, always ensure it is properly diluted before applying to your skin, as it is highly concentrated in pure form and can cause an allergic reaction.
Peppermint essential oil offers a natural remedy for a bloated stomach, with a variety of ways you can enjoy the aromatherapeutic health benefits. If you regularly suffer with a bloated stomach, try it as a preventative measure about 30 minutes before eating, as it can help your stomach to adjust. It should not be used as a replacement for IBS medication but should be fine to incorporate as a complementary remedy. If you are unsure, speak with your doctor who can give a more accurate assessment of your situation.