A very large number of people are regularly affected by diarrhea. It affects anyone and everyone: babies, toddlers, adults, elderly people, travelers, etc. Luckily, you can speed up recovery by using a few very good essential oils for diarrhea.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- What essential oil is good for diarrhea and why, with studies to support these effects. Learn more about their pros and cons, for a safe use every time.
- Various types of diarrhea and an essential oil recipe for each. Is it stress-based, infectious or bacterial? Or maybe it’s caused by antibiotic intake? Do you travel a lot and suffer from traveler’s diarrhea? Make sure to read that section to find the proper natural remedy to stop it.
- Children and pregnant women should use Aromatherapy remedies very carefully. I’ve got a suggested mild diarrhea blend for them too.
- Tips that could help you prevent these uncomfortable and painful, and most of the times, embarrassing episodes.
Best Essential Oils for Diarrhea (How They Work plus Safety Words)
Diarrhea can have many causes. But food poisoning and infections are the most common. In countries that are still developing, malnutrition is also a cause.
Moderate to severe diarrhea is usually caused by viral and bacterial infections. Parasites though, are still common causes too.
In most cases, the disease has a sudden onset. When we catch a specific germ, virus or parasite, the body seeks to eliminate it immediately. Once inside the gastrointestinal tract, the pathogens start to secrete toxins.
These toxins then prevent the intestines from absorbing all the fluid it gets from water and food. Thus, the body is forced to get rid of that excess water. This water is highly nutritious, as it contains salts and minerals (electrolytes).
They are vital to the functioning of the body, and their loss leads to dehydration. So the body begins to evacuate the excess liquid in the GI tract. That results in watery, loose stools and the need to go to the toilet many times a day.
Under normal conditions, the GI tract can absorb huge amounts of liquids each day. From that amount, it excretes only 100 – 200 ml. Pathogens (bacteria, parasites, viruses) ruin this balance and cause diarrhea. There are several types of diarrhea, of which I’ll be talking in the next part of the article.
How Can Essential Oils Help Speed Up Recovery from Diarrhea?
Essential oils are at the base of Aromatherapy, an alternative therapy. Aromatherapy can be used alongside medical treatment. This makes it a good complementary therapy.
When it comes to diarrheal diseases, essential oils can be used as an alternative treatment method. This is true in mild diarrhea cases. Severe infectious diarrhea that involves dehydration too needs urgent medical assistance.
If you’ve wondered what the best remedy for diarrhea was, know that Aromatherapy is it. Diarrhea essential oils can prevent dehydration and stop nausea symptoms. But their most important feature is their ability to kill bacteria, parasites and viruses.
Thus, essential oils have important antibacterial and antiviral effects. For that some of them have been intensely studied. Those studies showed clear and encouraging evidence in favor of aromatic oils.
They were found able to kill some of the most important pathogens that cause diarrhea. That was possible because the oils could penetrate the protective biofilms of some viruses.
An essential oil is composed of several tens (or hundreds in some oils!) of tiny active molecules. These molecules enter the body and go straight where they’re needed.
You want to know what essential oil is good for diarrhea. Well, it needs to be:
All these beneficial effects help soothe spasms and cramps, and kill bacteria/viruses. If the cause is not infectious, they can help soothe intestinal inflammation (IBS) too.
Or they can increase the bile production to stimulate digestion. Digestive oils can also expel gas and relieve nausea, etc. Aromatherapy has been proven an efficient anti-stress therapy too.
Tea Tree, Ginger and Peppermint are among the best essential oils good for diarrhea. Thyme, Clove bud, Basil and Cardamom are also great digestive oils. But among the most powerful antivirals and antibacterials is Cinnamon. These aromatic oils have been tested against pathogens like:
- Staphylococcus Aureus,
- Escherichia coli,
- And Salmonella, among others.
These are the most common pathogens that cause infectious diarrheal diseases. In vitro, certain essences were able to kill and inhibit their growth.
Not all were tested in vivo (in the field) though, but those that were, worked as expected. I will tell you more about these findings along the article.
However, the choice of oil should be influenced by the cause of diarrhea. I’ll also be telling you more about the various types of diarrhea soon.
Until then, let’s see some details about a few of these oils. With pros and cons to help you decide which essential oil to use to stop diarrhea fast and speed up recovery.
1) Peppermint Essential Oil
Botanical name: Mentha piperita.
- Peppermint is very high in menthol. This substance gives the oil carminative effects. That means it can relieve gas and flatulence. Menthol can also block calcium channels. This leads to a lower blood pressure and a more relaxed smooth muscle in the arteries. Peppermint is a great antispasmodic agent for intestinal cramps and contractions. This makes it useful at relieving bloating, cramps, nausea, etc.
- The oil is anti-infective and anti-inflammatory. It makes for a great therapeutic agent in IBS management.
- If you’re wondering how to use Peppermint oil for diarrhea, it’s easy. It can be diffused and inhaled or applied topically. More about the ways in which you can use Peppermint oil for diarrhea, after the pros and cons.
- Using Peppermint oil for diarrhea can also improve digestion. It can stimulate bile production, thus favoring the digestion of foods.
- Peppermint oil has estrogen-like effects. This means it should not be used by people on hormone treatment.
- Peppermint essential oil can induce seizures!
- Avoid using the oil if you suffer from kidney or bile problems. Those with cardiovascular and liver problems should also beware.
Why I like it:
Peppermint is a great essential oil to have around. It can help with diarrhea, constipation and nausea, as well as it can repel insects. Plus, it’s also useful in relieving muscle tension or joint pain.
2) Cinnamon Essential Oil
Botanical name: Cinnamomum cassia/aromaticum.
- Cinnamon is one of the best essential oils for diarrhea. It can kill and eliminate bacteria and parasites in the gastrointestinal tract. It was found to have antibiotic effects against a wide range of organisms. These effects are given by the high concentration of cinnamaldehyde. It worked against aureus, E. coli, Salmonella, Candida, etc. Because it’s so potent, its effects can be felt in a very small dose.
- Cinnamon is also antispasmodic. It can soothe intestinal cramps and muscle contractions. It can also regulate intense activity in the stomach, like the one caused by diarrhea.
- If you suffer from asthma, avoid using Cinnamon oil without your doctor’s consent.
- The oil can sensitize the skin or mucous membranes, so avoid its use on long term.
- For diffusion, dilute Cinnamon with another aromatic oil.
- Also, don’t use more than 20% of Cinnamon in blends.
Why I like it:
You can tell how powerful its antibacterial effects are when it keeps acne at bay! The oil smells really nice, which makes it a great natural remedy for diarrhea blends. It also has antioxidant properties, thus is improves the aspect of the complexion.
3) Cardamom Essential Oil
Botanical name: Elletaria cardamomum.
- Cardamom is great in diarrhea remedies as it rebalances the intestinal transit. It improves digestion and favors the elimination of gas. Cardamom can also help you gain back your appetite.
- The oil is a great antispasmodic too. It acts on the contracted muscles and stops or calms down muscle spasms and the associated pain.
- Cardamom is especially useful against intestinal parasites (worms). The oil of Cardamom can speed up recovery after a diarrheal disease.
- Cardamom essential oil for diarrhea should not be used by people with asthma. It should not be used by those with epilepsy or seizures also.
- It should also not be used in case of gallstones.
- The oil can interact with medicines, so make sure you’re not taking any while using Cardamom.
Why I like it:
Cardamom oil works great in combination with Peppermint. It enhances its antispasmodic effects. Their combined effect can help you cope better with the cramps and pain.
Other great essential oils for diarrhea recovery and prevention are:
Oregano essential oil – This essence was tested on newborn calves with diarrhea. The test showed that a 10-day administration reduced the severity of diarrhea. In the right conditions, Oregano oil for diarrhea could also prevent it. It has anti-inflammatory and strong antibacterial and antibiotic effects. Thus, it needs to be used only on small periods of time and small doses. Otherwise, it may disrupt the intestinal flora and cause vaginal infection or even diarrhea. If not used properly, you could say that essential oils can cause diarrhea.
Ginger essential oil – Ginger is another of the tested oils for antibacterial and antiviral effects. It’s not as powerful as Cinnamon or Oregano, but it’s out there. Using Ginger essential oil for diarrhea will improve digestion and soothe intestinal inflammation.
Tea Tree essential oil – Tea Tree has been found highly effective against bacteria, including E. coli and Candida. The oil is antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, with a wide range of use. You can use Tea Tree essential oil for diarrhea to soothe inflammation in the GI tract. It can also relieve pain at the same time. It can also strengthen the immune system.
Ravintsara essential oil – This essence is high in 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol), which makes it a powerful antiviral. In very small amounts, Ravintsara oil can be used for diarrhea in toddlers too. The oil is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory. Because it also has antispasmodic effects, the oil can be used in many diarrhea blends. You can use Ravintsara essential oil for diarrhea, nausea and a stronger immune system.
Roman Chamomile essential oil – This oil has a different role in diarrhea blends. It is mostly useful at relieving the pain during a diarrheal episode. It also has antispasmodic effects. This is possible by blocking the exchanges between the ion channels and the nervous system. Chamomile essential oil for diarrhea can relieve violent cramps. They are usually caused by bacterial infections in the digestive tract.
Clove bud essential oil – Clove is one of the strongest antibacterials. Its high content in eugenol makes it useful against intestinal and respiratory infections. Among the pathogens it can destroy there’s S. aureus and E. coli. The oil has strong anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antispasmodic effects. Clove essential oil for diarrhea is also calming.
Thyme essential oil – The thymol chemotype of Thyme oil is a potent antibacterial and antiviral. It can also kill parasites and tone up the digestive system. Thyme oil stimulates the appetite and soothes nausea.
Other good essential oils for diarrhea are:
- Sweet Orange
- Thyme ct. Linalool
- Winter Savory
I’ve already said that essential oils are concentrated. This means they must be used carefully, so you should always do a good research before using them. Here is what you’ll have to pay attention to:
- Always dilute the oils before topical application.
- Most of the essential oils for diarrhea need dilution even during diffusion. Not with carrier oils though, but with other lighter essences like citruses.
- Seek medical advice if you suffer from asthma and/or allergies. If you’re seizure-prone, you must also talk to your doctor first. Also, respiratory infections and other serious diseases could be worsened by some oils. Thus, it is necessary to talk to a doctor before using them.
- Pregnant and breastfeeding women must also ask for medical permission.
- Aromatherapy should not be used on newborn babies (under 3 months old). After that age, the advice of a doctor is necessary.
How to Use Aromatic Oils to Stop Diarrhea Fast
First of all, I don’t recommend taking aromatic oils internally. The wrong dose can make matters worse. The right dose should be established by a doctor. It usually depends on:
- Medical history,
- Current medication,
There are some enteric-coated capsules on the market. They contain Oregano or Peppermint essential oils. These should, too, be taken after consulting a doctor.
The safest ways to use Aromatherapy remedies for diarrhea are:
- Topical application/massage – Simply mix 12 – 20 drops of essential oil per Oz. carrier oil. Apply on the stomach area and massage clockwise for a few good minutes. Keep the stomach warm. That’ll help the oil molecules enter faster into the bloodstream and reach the digestive tract.
- Diffusion – Aroma oils can be diffused for up to 30 minutes, every 2 hours (or more). Otherwise, they can saturate the air and cause headaches, nausea, etc. The smell receptors also become numb after about 20 minutes. 20 – 30 minutes are also enough to kill most pathogens in the air and purify it. Make sure you never sleep with the diffuser on, and keep a window ajar while diffusing. Depending on the diffuser machine and the area, you can use anywhere between 5 to 20 drops of essence.
- Aromatic bath – Mix up to 12 drops of essential oil for nausea and diarrhea with 1 Oz Himalayan salt. It can also be Epsom or Mediterranean salt. Add it to hot bath water and inhale deeply while relaxing. Try to massage the stomach area clockwise.
Types of Diarrhea and Essential Oil Recipes for Each
Diarrheal diseases can have many causes, but the most common are infectious. The Rotavirus, Salmonella and E. coli for instance, cause moderate to severe diarrhea.
The symptoms that warn of such a condition are:
- Stomach cramps
- Loss of appetite
Diarrhea is basically the elimination of excess liquid salts that are frequent and abundant. If the cause is infectious, pathogens release toxins that prevent the intestines from absorbing liquids.
The mildest form of diarrhea is called acute diarrhea. It is the most common condition of its kind and usually lasts about 2 days. There is also chronic diarrhea that can last for weeks. Between them there’s a type of prolonged diarrhea that lasts more than 2 days. The last 2 types have a high risk of causing dehydration.
You must always make sure to drink plenty of water and soups. They’ll help you replenish the lost water and electrolytes. The latter are necessary for the better functioning of all the vital organs and muscles.
How do you know you’re dehydrated? You’ll know when you see any or more of the following symptoms:
- Continuous thirst.
- Dry mouth.
- Sunken eyes.
- Lethargy or mood swings.
- Dry skin.
- Dark urine.
If dehydration started, you must replenish the minerals and salts lost. Make the following recipe and drink it in small and frequent sips. The recipe is recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Homemade Oral Rehydration Solution for Diarrhea
- Salt: 1 – ¾ tsp.
- Baking soda: 1 tsp.
- Orange juice: 1 cup
- Pure water: 1 L (34 fl. Oz)
Mix well until they’re all melted and blended. The amount of salt in this recipe is thought to be too much for well-nourished people. Thus, physicians don’t recommend drinking it for long periods of time.
The causes of diarrhea may be anything:
- Contaminated water.
- Contaminated food (food poisoning).
- An infected person.
- Poor personal hygiene.
Now, let’s see some common types of diarrhea and an essential oil recipe for each. They’ll hopefully make you feel better and have a speedy recovery.
Traveler’s diarrhea is also called TD or “la turista”, in Spanish. People who travel to places in the tropics, are the most prone to digestive issues. They usually leave from areas with temperate climate.
The most probable cause is infectious (bacterial or viral). An infection is caused by food or drink contamination. It usually starts manifesting itself in the 3rd or 4th day after being in the tropics.
How long does travel diarrhea last?
From the millions of travelers to tropical climate, between 20 – 50% of them develop TD. 3% of those with travel diarrhea usually experience it for at least one month after infection.
If you suffer from travel diarrhea and it’s infectious, it will last about 2 weeks to get rid of the virus/bacteria.
Travel diarrhea may last more than 2 weeks, but the cause won’t be bacterial. It may be IBS, parasites, lactase deficiency, etc. For that, you’ll want to go to the doctor to discover the cause and stop the diarrhea.
Tips to Stop and Prevent Traveler’s Diarrhea
- Avoid fresh fruits and vegetables, or medium cooked foods.
- Drinks should be opened by your hands only.
- Tap water should not be drunk at all.
- Avoid using ice cubes also.
- Wash your hands periodically.
If you’re there to stay for a longer time, then you’ll have to slowly let your body get used to the food and bacteria there. That’ll help strengthen the immune system and avoid diarrheal diseases. Otherwise, while on holiday, it’s best to pay attention to what you eat and drink.
Traveler’s Diarrhea Essential Oil Recipe
- Olive oil: 2 Oz (60ml)
- Cinnamon essential oil: 8 drops
- Basil essential oil: 10 drops
- Peppermint essential oil: 8 drops
- Cardamom essential oil: 10 drops
Shake the blend well before each use and apply on the stomach area with clockwise movements. Repeat 3 – 5 times a day.
Acute Infectious Diarrhea
Bacterial infections can cause nausea and vomiting, stomach aches and even fever. It occurs suddenly and lasts up to 5 days.
Acute Diarrhea Recipe
- Cinnamon essential oil: 4 drops
- Oregano essential oil: 5 drops
- Thyme essential oil: 6 drops
- Carrier oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Stress-Related or Anxiety Diarrhea
A strong stressful factor or an emotional shock can create powerful biological responses in the body. Thus, stress and/or anxiety can disrupt the intestinal flora and cause diarrhea.
It is usually a mild form that lasts a day or two. The best essential oil to stop emotional diarrhea fast is Sweet Marjoram.
Anxiety Diarrhea Aroma Recipe
- Sweet Marjoram essential oil: 10 drops
- Cardamom essential oil: 5 drops
- Carrier oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Apply the blend on your abdomen and massage clockwise. Add only the essential oils for diarrhea in a diffuser and keep it on for 20 minutes. The oils will also help you relax and regain control over your emotions, while soothing the muscles too.
Diarrhea Caused by Parasites (Recipe)
There are many intestinal worms that can cause diarrhea. These can be destroyed and then eliminated from the body with a few good essential oils. Try this blend (for adults only!).
- Peppermint: 10 drops
- Cardamom: 10 drops
- Cinnamon: 10 drops
- Thyme: 10 drops
- Carrier oil: 2 Oz (60ml)
Rub your stomach with this blend, 3 times a day for 15 days.
Diarrhea in Pets
Unfortunately, our furry friends can also be affected by diarrhea. Still, you should not hurry to use essential oils for diarrhea on a pet. Cats are the most sensitive to Aromatherapy. If you’ve wondered what you can give a cat for diarrhea, you should ask a vet first.
The safest for cats would be hydrosols or floral waters. They are not as concentrated as essential oils. In fact, they contain only traces of volatile oil molecules.
They also contain minerals and vitamins that did not make it into the aromatic oil. Lavender hydrosol should be a good solution, but I suggest reading first about how this all works:
Essential Oils for Diarrhea in Children and Pregnant Women
Most essential oils are not recommended to pregnant and breastfeeding women, or children. The tiny volatile oil molecules can penetrate the placenta. Or they can be transmitted to the baby through milk.
Being highly active, it’s not a good idea to use them on children, whose immune systems are not well-developed yet.
Pregnant women usually get diarrhea in the last trimester. That is because the fetus presses the stomach of the mother. The stomach then will struggle to accept and digest food.
Babies usually get viral diarrheas caused by Rotavirus. They should be closely monitored by a doctor and treated accordingly.
Anti-Diarrhea Essential Oil Diffuser Recipe for Pregnant Women and Children (3+ years)
- Ravintsara essential oil: 2 drops
- Roman Chamomile essential oil: 2 drops
Test the blend first for allergies. Diffuse it 3 times a day for 20 minutes. You can also add an Oz (30ml) of Sweet Almond oil and massage it into the tummy of the child.
Pregnant women should massage the area beneath the bump, never on it!
If fever and/or abdominal pain occur, seek immediate medical help. Also, do your own research about the pros and cons of the oils used for a safe use. If you’re not sure of something, ask your doctor first!
Diarrhea Preventive Tips
Since there are so many causes for a diarrheal disease, there are many good practices to adopt to prevent them:
- Unfortunately, essential oils can’t prevent dehydration. Make sure you drink plenty of fluids. They can be herbal teas (chamomile, peppermint, melissa, etc.) or mineral water.
- Eat rice, dry crackers and lots of soups.
- Wear an essential oil diffuser bracelet to prevent viral infections and strengthen the immune system.
- Wash your hands regularly with soap.
- Avoid physical contact with a sick person. Also, avoid sharing cutlery, towels, glasses, etc.
- Eat probiotics. They are found in yoghurt, pickles, sauerkraut, etc. Probiotics help to maintain the bacterial flora of your digestive system in good balance.
- Vaccinate against the Rotavirus.
- Keep a healthy personal and food hygiene.
- When possible, add vinegar to your dishes. It is a very strong antibacterial and can kill pathogens that may cause diarrhea.
- Take zinc supplements. Zinc can harden the stool, thus reduce the duration of diarrhea, which leads to a faster recovery.
- For signs of dehydration, prolonged diarrhea and/or blood in the stool, you must consult a doctor.
Not all diarrheal diseases are hindering or life-threatening. In fact, the most common types are mild forms that last about 2 days and are usually caused by bacteria or viruses. Food and drink contamination or poisoning is the most common cause.
Luckily, we have some really great essential oils for diarrhea available. They’ve also proven to be effective at killing pathogens, like E. coli and Salmonella. Before considering this type of natural remedy, you must make sure it is safe. You can either ask your doctor about using essential oils to stop diarrhea or do a thorough research.
If you try one of my blends, I’d like to know how you felt afterwards. So don’t hesitate to leave me a comment with your feedback. Otherwise, how do you find the idea of using Aroma oils to recover from diarrhea?