Diarrhea – it’s embarrassing as well as physically and emotionally unpleasant. We avoid talking about it and we often hope it will simply go away on its own. Diarrhea leaves us feeling miserable and unable to participate in life.
Diarrhea is usually caused by viruses, bacteria, parasites, medications, and food sensitivities. Anxiety may also trigger diarrhea for some of us.
The symptoms of diarrhea are distressing. Some of the awful highlights include cramps, bloating, gas and nausea along with loose stools.
Usually our plan to ride it out and wait for the diarrhea to clear up on its own work, but in certain cases, it is best to see a physician.
Consult a doctor if your symptoms persist longer than two days, you become dehydrated, you have a fever above 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39 degrees Celsius, you have bloody or black stools, or you have severe abdominal or rectal pain.
Why Essential Oils Are Good For Diarrhea
The chemical components of essential oils have properties that can ease the symptoms of diarrhea or even help eliminate the cause altogether.
Antispasmodic oils relax our bodies and alleviate cramping. Other oils have anti-nausea effects.
Some oils are known to be antiviral and antibacterial. These oils attack the source of certain types of diarrhea.
Here are 9 of the best essential oils to use when dealing with diarrhea:
Best Essential Oils For Diarrhea
1. Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
Cardamom is a perhaps lesser known relative of the ginger family. As such, it carries many of the same digestive benefits with a different scent profile. If you find that you don’t enjoy the aroma of ginger, yet you still want to benefit from its impressive nausea relieving qualities, cardamom may be your answer.
This gentler, more subtle oil has a sweet spicy scent that is at home with cinnamon and cloves. Cardamom eases our nausea, calms heartburn and supports our overall digestive health.
Enjoy the powers of cardamom by adding 3 drops to the lava stone inside your diffuser necklace on days when you are feeling a bit queasy. The scent will gently surround and nurture you. Refresh the lava stone as needed throughout the day.
Best for: Overall digestive health
2. Chamomile Matricaria (Chamomilla matricaria)
Diarrhea makes us feel all knotted up and tense inside. Our bodies gurgle and cramp; we feel disgusting and miserable. We can really use a little soothing. Enter chamomile matricaria.
Chamomile relaxes our bodies and our minds. Its demonstrated “potent antidiarrheal properties”  ease our physical distress while its energy calms our emotions.
Harness the power of chamomile by adding 6 drops of chamomile to 1 tablespoon of fractionated coconut oil. Massage gently into abdominal area.
Best for: Well-rounded relief of both physical and emotional distress relating to diarrhea
3. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
An herbaceous, therapeutic oil, eucalyptus is chock full of the powerful 1,8-cineole chemical compound. 1,8-cineole is what gives eucalyptus its antispasmodic (cramp relieving), antiviral, antibacterial and analgesic properties. Regardless of the cause of your diarrhea, eucalyptus is a useful oil for calming the physical symptoms and speeding your recovery.
Benefit from eucalyptus by making it into a salve. In a double boiler, melt 1 tablespoon of beeswax into 1 ½ tablespoons of sweet almond oil. Remove from heat and add 10 drops of eucalyptus. Mix well and pour into small salve container. Allow to cool until solid. Wear by rubbing onto your abdominal area as well as the soles of your feet.
Best for: Aiding physical recovery from all types of diarrhea
4. Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Is your jar of candied ginger empty? Don’t worry – the essential oil of your favorite anti-nausea plant exhibits the same stomach-steadying properties. Ginger’s sweet spice grounds us and our flip-flopping tummies. It helps us to regain our physical equilibrium and find the mental strength to push through this illness.
Add 2 drops of ginger to the lava stone bead of an aromatherapy necklace. Wear it throughout the day to help keep nausea at bay. If the nausea does flare up, hold the necklace close to your nose and inhale slowly to allow ginger to guide you to a healthier and happier place.
Best for: Reducing nausea
5. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Calming, relaxing, restorative – lavender embodies all the properties we are wishing for while in the grips of a bout of diarrhea. A nearly universally loved de-stressor, lavender is excellent for resolving the anxiety which can trigger diarrhea.
In a 2-ounce glass spray bottle, mix 2 ounces of witch hazel and 24 drops of lavender. Enjoy using as a body spray or linen spray.
Best for: Anxiety-related diarrhea
6. Lemon (Citrus limonum)
The crisp, citrusy scent of lemon embodies a fresh cleanliness that we crave when we are dealing with the unpleasantness of diarrhea. The smell uplifts us and curbs our lingering nausea. Lemon is detoxifier that flushes out toxins. It can help rid our bodies of diarrhea-causing agents.
Encourage your body to purge the source of your discomfort by taking a lemon bath. Just add 5 drops of lemon to 1 teaspoon of fractionated coconut carrier oil and 1 teaspoon of castile soap. Add the oil and soap blend to a warm bath, then soak in the tub for at least 20 minutes.
Best for: Speeding recovery from diarrhea caused by a bacteria, virus, or toxin
7. Peppermint (Mentha piperata)
Peppermint is cooling, soothing, and pain relieving. Its icy chill is a perfect foil to the burning discomfort and cramping of diarrhea. Peppermint has actually been shown to help alleviate the abdominal pain associated with diarrhea.  This is likely due to its anti-spasmodic properties.
Food-related diarrhea may be accompanied by nausea. Peppermint’s aroma short circuits the nausea and calms our overwhelmed GI tract. It helps us breathe and cope with the unpleasantness while the illness runs its course.
For nausea relief, add 2 drops of peppermint to a cotton ball and place under your nose. Inhale deeply and slowly to help your body relax.
Best for: Physical soothing and nausea relief
Note: Use with care if you have epilepsy or a heart condition as this oil stimulates the heart.
8. Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)
Spikenard has a stellar resume when it comes to use for diarrhea. In India it was used medicinally to help curb the gastrointestinal distress associated with a cholera epidemic. Spikenard’s analgesic properties reduce the pain that often accompanies diarrhea and GI distress.
Benefit from spikenard by using it in a soothing compress. Fill a bowl with hot water and add 5 drops of spikenard. Soak a cloth in the water, wring it out, and apply to lower abdominal area. Refresh the compress as needed when it cools off.
Best for: Rapid relief of diarrhea and calming of intestinal tract
9. Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Is there any medicinal woe that tea tree doesn’t help to ease? Tea tree exhibits potent antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral properties. It has been known to clear up all sorts of infections, so using it in the case of diarrhea which has a suspected bacterial or viral cause makes perfect sense.
Enlist the help of tea tree by filling a 10ml glass rollerball vial with 2 teaspoons fractionated coconut oil and 8 drops of tea tree. Roll onto lower abdomen as needed.
Best for: Viral, bacterial, or parasitic diarrhea
Best Essential Oils For Diarrhea Recipes
Soothing Essential Oils Tummy Rub
In a dark colored glass bottle combine:
- 6 drops chamomile matricaria
- 6 drops lavender
- 6 drops peppermint
- 1 ounce grapeseed carrier oil
Gently massage blend into abdominal area to soothe the abdominal discomfort that accompanies diarrhea.
Feel Better Re-balancing Bath Salts
- 3 drops eucalyptus
- 3 drops spikenard
- 3 drops tea tree
- 1 ounce Himalayan sea salt or other natural salts
- 2 teaspoons fractionated coconut carrier oil
Add salt blend to a warm bath and mix until salts dissolve. Relax and soak for at least 20 minutes so your body can stabilize and absorb all the natural benefits of the oils and salts.
De-stressing Anti-Nausea Diffusion Blend
- 7 drops ginger
- 7 drops lemon or cardamom
This blend may be added along with distilled water to the reservoir of a water-based diffuser. To use with a reed diffuser, simply mix the oils into 1 ounce of jojoba or almond carrier oil.
If you do not have a diffuser you can place 1 drop of each of the oils on a cotton ball and hold it under your nose while you breathe deeply.
Use this blend if your diarrhea seems to be the result of anxiety or emotional distress.
- The most common causes of diarrhea are viruses, bacteria, parasites, medications, food sensitivities, and anxiety.
- Essential oils are good for diarrhea because the chemical components of essential oils have properties that can ease the symptoms of diarrhea or even help eliminate the cause altogether.
- The best essential oils for diarrhea include: Cardamom, chamomile matricaria, eucalyptus, ginger, lavender, lemon, peppermint, spikenard, tea tree