Did you know that heartburn has nothing to do with your heart? Despite its name, this condition affects the digestive system and causes pain in the abdomen and chest, which helps explain the moniker. Now what exactly causes heartburn?
Heartburn takes place when stomach acid is mistakenly released from the stomach, irritating its neighbor, the esophagus. Stomach acid is usually held in by the lower esophageal sphincter (LES), but when it opens too much or doesn’t close tight enough the acid refluxes into the esophagus—hence the alternative name of acid reflux. Occasional heartburn is normal, but regular or chronic occurrence is classified as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
Common causes of heartburn include overeating and excess pressure on the stomach from conditions such as pregnancy or obesity. High amounts of stress, lack of sleep, smoking, not drinking enough water, and eating a diet high in acidic foods can also play a role.
Here are some essential oils that can help relieve the symptoms of mild heartburn or indigestion.
As I’ve shared before, Ginger is a wonder when it comes to helping digestive problems, as it helps with mild cramping, indigestion and nausea. It is also highly beneficial for use in detox, to help cleanse your body of harmful toxins that can prevent it from operating as it should.
When it comes to using this essential oil for heartburn, follow the “Rule of Goldilocks”—not too much, but just the right amount. Too much Peppermint can loosen the LES, which can contribute to acid reflux. However, don’t overlook this oil’s soothing properties, as it can help calm nausea, upset tummies, and ease mild heartburn!
Like Lemon, this citrus oil contains properties that help relieve indigestion and remove toxins. Sweet Orange serves as a diuretic and carminative (meaning that it helps release excess gas that can cause chest pain and indigestion).
How to use?
There are several different application methods you can use to relieve digestive problems. You can add a few drops to an inhaler for easy on-the-go use, place in a diffuser for encompassing relief, or combine with a carrier oil and gently massage into your abdomen for a more direct approach. Some essential oils, such as Fennel or Sweet Orange, can be added to your favorite food dishes in very small doses (1-2 drops).