Essential oils offer a safe and effective way to get fast relief from nausea and vomiting (without adding to your problems by introducing the side effects associated with over-the-counter anti nausea medications).
And by choosing the right essential oil combinations, you can tackle the underlying cause of your upset stomach instead of just masking nausea, which is very often a symptom of another condition.
In this article, you’ll learn which essential oils to use for general nausea and vomiting, and those to use for upset stomach caused by anxiety, motion sickness, migraine, menopause, hangovers, overeating, and indigestion.
- 1 Know What’s Causing Your Upset Stomach
- 2 The Benefits of Essential Oils For Nausea and Vomiting
- 3 Anti Nausea Essential Oils
- 4 Essential Oils for Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Anxiety
- 5 Essential Oils You Can Use to Ease Your Hangover Induced Nausea
- 6 Essential Oils For Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Indigestion
- 7 Essential Oils to Calm Nausea from Overeating
- 8 Essential Oils to Help You Cope With Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Migraines
- 9 Essential Oils You Can Use For Motion Sickness
- 10 How to Use Essential Oils to Combat Nausea & Vomiting
- 11 Diluting Essential Oils Safely
- 12 Is It Safe To Drink Essential Oils?
Know What’s Causing Your Upset Stomach
Most of the time an upset stomach isn’t an indicator of anything serious, and if you know what’s triggering your nausea and vomiting you can go ahead and treat yourself with an essential oil home remedy.
But, if you have recurring bouts of vomiting and you don’t know why, it’s important to see your doctor so that you can get to the bottom of the problem. You can still use anti nausea essential oils to help you feel better, but it’s not a good idea to use them to mask what could be a more serious health issue.
The Benefits of Essential Oils For Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea and vomiting can have multiple causes, and researchers still haven’t discovered all of the mechanisms at play in the mind and the body that contribute to this condition.
However, much is known, and we can take that information and use it to help work out which essential oils are a good fit as anti nausea remedies.
Essential oils can help to:
- Neutralize excess stomach acid by boosting the production of bile, which also improves digestion.
- Calm intestinal irritation.
- Relax the nervous system – and since the nervous system plays a big role in nausea, this is really beneficial.
- Quieten the activity in the region of the brain responsible for nausea and vomiting – known as the vomiting center
- Kill infectious pathogens in the gut
- Ease the muscle contractions and spasms that lead to uncomfortable cramping and to further irritation of the gastric tract.
Anti Nausea Essential Oils
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to divide our essential oils into two groups.
- Essential oils for nausea and vomiting relief
- Essential oils for the underlying condition
The first group covers the essential oils that you can reach for whenever you start to feel nauseous. You can, of course, use these oils if you’re already vomiting, but if you use them before you throw up, there’s a good chance that you can settle your stomach and won’t have to put up with any further unpleasantness.
There are a number of different oils that can work for you and you might find that one particular oil is more effective for you than the others.
You might also choose your anti nausea oil based on its fragrance, because if you have a choice of oils that work equally well, it’s better to use an oil that has a pleasing aroma than one that you don’t enjoy as much. An enjoyable aroma can make you feel much better all by itself, just as a disagreeable odor (garbage cans, infected wounds, fish counters, etc,) can make you want to throw up. Our sense of smell is truly amazing and weird!
Trial and error is the only way to know for sure which essential oil will be the best solution for your particular needs, so the best approach is to buy a selection of essential oils in small sizes so that you can experiment. Once you know which oil or oils work best for you, you can stock up on larger quantities.
The second group of oils are those that can be used in some cases to tackle the underlying cause of your queasy stomach. So, for example, if you suffer from migraines, you can use an essential oil for the associated nausea to get some quick relief, then if you use some essential oils which are known to help lessen the severity and duration of migraines, you’ll feel a whole lot better, much sooner.
Okay then, let’s look at the essential oils in group one.
In this list, the common name for the essential oil is given first, followed by its botanical name. When you purchase essential oils, be sure to look for the botanical name to ensure you’re getting the correct oil.
- Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Ginger Essential Oil (Zingiber officinale)
- German & Roman Chamomile (Matricaria recutica & Chamaemelum nobile)
- Allspice (Pimenta dioica)
- Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
- Lemon (Citrus limon)
- Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)
- French Basil (Ocimum basilicum)
- Star Anise (Illicium verum)
- Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
- Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
- Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
- Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
- Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum)
- Peppermint & Spearmint (Mentha piperita & Mentha spicata)
- Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
- Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)
- Rose (Rosa centifolia or Rosa damascena)
- Rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
- Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Essential Oils for Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Anxiety
Anxiety, while its root is emotional, manifests with some truly awful physical symptoms.
Along with an upset stomach, you might experience a racing heartbeat, dizziness, sweating, shortness of breath, weakness, chest pain, headache, and numbness and tingling. All of which can contribute to a very frightening experience and make it harder to calm down.
Inhaling any of the essential oils on the list above will help to quell your queasy stomach.
To assist with the anxiety itself, lavender, rose, German chamomile, vetiver, and bergamot are all good choices. And happily, lavender – one of the most inexpensive essential oils – has been found to be particularly effective, research demonstrating lavenders anxiolytic effects.
Essential Oils You Can Use to Ease Your Hangover Induced Nausea
Hangover nausea can be a tough nut to crack because when you have a hangover, your body is loaded with the toxic metabolites of alcohol, and it’s these toxins which are making you feel so wretched.
In due course, your liver will break these down and send them away to be excreted, but as you probably know this takes some time, and you can spend the better part of a day kneeling in front of the toilet feeling like death.
The best essential oils to use for hangover nausea are those with a very fresh aroma rather than the more pungent spicy oils or the heavy florals. So, peppermint, lavender, lemon, grapefruit, ginger, and sweet fennel will all be good choices.
These oils are also good for boosting your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins.
The success of essential oils for your hangover will depend on just how much you had to drink. If you ingested a truly excessive amount of alcohol, the best thing is to follow your body’s signals and allow yourself to throw up. Your hangover will resolve much more quickly that way.
Essential Oils For Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Indigestion
Indigestion can manifest in several ways, and unlike overeating, it can be triggered by very small amounts of food. Sometimes indigestion is the result of too much stomach acid, and sometimes it’s caused by too little. Both can lead to a heavy, nauseous feeling and a burning sensation in the upper abdomen. Severe indigestion often results in the need to vomit which can be painful if there is an excess of stomach acid present.
Trapped gas can also be a culprit for nausea when you have indigestion because the excessive bloating irritates the intestines, triggering nerve signals that travel to the vomit center in the brain and light it up.
Ginger is hard to beat when it comes to treating nausea and the other symptoms of indigestion, closely followed by peppermint.
In addition to their anti nausea effects, both oils have an antispasmodic, soothing effect on your stomach and intestinal tract, they relieve trapped gas, lower inflammation and have pain relieving properties.
Other essential oils you might like to use along with peppermint and ginger when you have indigestion are:
- Black pepper
- Sweet orange
- German chamomile
- French basil
Essential Oils to Calm Nausea from Overeating
When you’ve crammed far too much of your favorite food into your stomach, and you’re feeling nauseous and sweaty, essential oils can help you to get through the discomfort and help to prevent the need to vomit.
You’ve got a wide variety of essential oils to choose from when your nausea is directly related to your digestive process, so you can take your pick from any of the essential oils listed under the anti nausea essential oil section above.
However, to help the digestive process along and try to counteract the fullness that’s causing nausea, there are a few oils that you’ll definitely want to make use of. These oils can stimulate bile production so you’re better able to break down any fats that you’ve eaten and consequently speed up your digestive process. Bile also counteracts the excess stomach acid that causes irritation in the small intestine which can be the trigger for nausea.
Choose any of the following:
- Black pepper
- Sweet fennel
It’s also a good idea to use antispasmodic essential oils to prevent spasms and cramps in your intestines which tend to slow digestion down (and cause pain).
Once again, peppermint is an excellent choice, as are cardamom, ginger, and lavender.
While the oils intended to directly counter nausea will have the best effect if they are inhaled, the oils used as digestive aids can be applied topically and gently massaged into your abdomen.
If you do end up having to vomit, even though it’s unpleasant, it will resolve the problem and you should feel fine afterward.
Essential Oils That Can Help With Menopausal Nausea
One of the most surprising menopausal symptoms for many women is terrible nausea followed by the need to vomit (just like pregnancy morning sickness) when they wake up each day. And because menopause and perimenopause can last for years, this type of nausea can be a serious drain on your quality of life.
The cause of menopausal nausea is hormonal, so essential oils that can pull double duty – relieving nausea while regulating hormones – are very useful here.
Try any of the following oils:
- Sweet fennel
Rose is a fantastic essential oil for coping with menopause, but it is, unfortunately, one of the most expensive essential oils on the market. This is because it takes a staggering amount of rose blossoms to produce the oil – over one and a half million blossoms are used to produce one kilogram of rose oil.
However, since you only need a few drops of the oil to benefit from its restorative effects, a small bottle can last for quite a while, so don’t let the higher price of rose essential oil put you off. In a 10 ml sized bottle, you’ll get around 200 drops of oil which will last you for at least 3 months.
Essential Oils to Help You Cope With Nausea & Vomiting Caused by Migraines
Because nausea you experience with a migraine is combined with severe pain, it’s wise to choose essential oils that have a soothing effect on the nervous system, as well as those that have nausea relieving properties.
And because vomiting causes a great deal of painful pressure in the head when you have a migraine, its best to reach for your essential oils as soon as you feel the first hint of an approaching migraine, to try and ward it off.
For your anti nausea oils, you’ll have to use trial and error because migraines can cause strong aversions to many aromas, and the aromas that you can tolerate will be a very personal thing.
When you have a migraine, you may find that fresher, lighter fragrances like lavender, lemon, fennel, mint, basil, ginger and grapefruit are more to your liking than the heavier florals or spices.
Aside from nausea you’ll want to fix the migraine itself. Several properties of essential oils can help with this.
- Nervine relaxants calm overexcited nerve signals – choose chamomile, lavender, French basil, clary sage, or lemon balm
- Analgesics ease pain – choose lavender, eucalyptus, marjoram, black pepper, bergamot, rosemary, peppermint, or chamomile.
- Anti-inflammatories reduce pain inducing inflammation – many essential oils contain anti-inflammatories, but the most effective anti-inflammatory is German chamomile essential oil.
Essential Oils You Can Use For Motion Sickness
Motion sickness is triggered when signals are sent from the inner ear to the vomiting center of the brain. Histamine receptors are heavily involved in picking up these signals and if you can suppress these receptors and also lower the amount of histamine in your system, you will feel much better.
Over-the-counter travel sickness medications contain antihistamines for this reason.
Try inhaling one of these blends an hour before you set off on your journey, and then every 30 minutes while you’re in motion.
- 10 drops lavender
- 10 drops lemon balm
- 10 drops Roman or German chamomile
- 10 drops peppermint
- 10 drops Roman or German Chamomile
- 10 drops ginger
You can get teeny little reusable bottles from Amazon which are perfect for carrying small amounts of essential oils with you – they’re about the size of those sample vials of perfume you get at beauty counters.
Search for “glass vial 2 dram” and you’ll see a selection to choose from – dark blue or amber bottles are best to prevent light from degrading your oil.
If you’re planning a cruise vacation and don’t want to be troubled by sea sickness during your voyage, you may find it more convenient to use an essential oil pendant. These pretty pendants contain an absorbent pad that you can load up with essential oils.
Another great way to conveniently use essential oils on the go is to make your own pocket inhaler. You can purchase blank inhaler sticks from Amazon, they’re similar to the nasal decongestant inhalers you use when you have a cold. Add your essential oils to the absorbent stick, then place it in the plastic tube and you’re all set.
How to Use Essential Oils to Combat Nausea & Vomiting
The most straightforward way to use essential oils for your upset stomach is to inhale them, and you have several choices for this route of administration.
- Take the top off your bottle of essential oil and inhale directly.
- Shake a few drops onto a tissue or handkerchief and inhale from there.
- Vaporize a few drops of your chosen oil (or oil bend) in an aromatherapy diffuser.
The great thing about essential oil inhalation is how fast it works, and that’s thanks to the very direct route the miraculous molecules take to the brain.
The essential oil molecules first enter your nostrils where they are captured and dissolved by your nasal secretions before being passed along to the millions of olfactory receptors present in your nose.
Next, these molecules travel via your olfactory system to different areas of your brain, areas involved in controlling emotions, hormones, pain, memory, physical function, and immune function. For example, essential oil inhalation is known to affect heart rate, respiration and blood pressure.
Olfactory signals carried to different parts of the brain result in varying effects. The type of essential oil that you use determines which molecules are present, and therefore determines where they will end up and what effect they will have.
Essential oils reaching the thalamus can trigger the release of enkephalin – a pentapeptide which binds to opioid receptors, resulting in pain reduction and mood improvement.
If the molecules reach one part of the brain stem, they will trigger norepinephrine which helps to combat tiredness and stimulate the immune system. But if they reach a different part of the brain stem, sedating serotonin is released, lowering blood pressure, and relieving anxiety.
Molecules traveling to the pituitary gland can affect growth and stress hormones.
Only some of the essential oil that you inhale reaches the brain in this very direct manner, the rest is drawn down into your lungs as you breathe where it passes into your blood vessels and circulates around your body.
The other way to utilize essential oils is to massage them into your skin. Essential oil molecules are incredibly tiny, so they have no trouble absorbing into your skin and then making their way into your capillaries.
As you gently massage the essential oils into your abdomen, the massaging action will help to ease your nausea, and the warmth generated by the massage further enhances the oils absorption. So make sure that you actually massage, rather than just smear the oil onto your skin.
Diluting Essential Oils Safely
Any essential oil that you apply to your skin must be diluted with a carrier oil before use to prevent allergic reactions, sensitization, contact dermatitis, and in the case of some essential oils, chemical burns.
Carrier oils are natural vegetable or nut based oils like olive oil, sunflower oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, rice bran oil, hemp seed oil, coconut oil and so on. Baby oil which is derived from petroleum is not suitable as a carrier oil.
You can choose whichever natural oil you prefer, bearing in mind that lighter oils like sunflower and rice bran oil are more easily absorbed, while heavier oils like olive and coconut take longer to soak into the skin, and last longer when massaging.
The generally recommended dilution for use on healthy adults is 2% essential oil, but young children and the elderly should use a 1% dilution.
To make a 2% dilution, use 12 drops of essential oil per 30 ml (one fluid ounce) of carrier oil.
A 1% dilution uses 6 drops.
With many oils it is safe to use higher amounts, but 2% should be sufficient for most needs. If you do find that you need to use a stronger blend (only for adults), you should consult a licensed aromatherapist for guidance, or look up the entry for the oil you want to use in Essential Oil Safety – A Guide for Professionals by Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young.
Is It Safe To Drink Essential Oils?
Plenty of people online encourage ingestion of essential oils by adding a few drops of an essential oil to a glass of water. This might seem like a good way to deliver essential oils straight to your stomach where they can get to work on your problem, but ingesting essential oils is NOT a good idea. Here’s why.
Essential oils don’t mix with water, so you can’t dilute them this way. Any undiluted essential oil that you drop into a glass of water and drink, could potentially cause you internal injury and a great deal of pain.
Does this happen to everyone? No.
You can find glowing accounts all over social media of essential oil enthusiasts starting their day with a few drops of peppermint or lemon essential oil in their morning glass of water or healthy green juice.
But the risk is there nevertheless, and many of the people promoting this kind of essential oil use are reps (independent sales agents) for essential oil multi level marketing companies. The more ways they can convince people to use essential oils, the more they can sell.
Along with the risk of tissue injury (chemical burns) to the throat, esophagus and stomach, ingested essential oils could also cause disruptions to your gut microbiome and upset the delicate balance between beneficial and harmful bacteria.
This is what the Alliance of International Aromatherapists have to say about ingesting essential oils:
” AIA does not endorse internal therapeutic use (oral, vaginal or rectal) of essential oils unless recommended by a health care practitioner trained at an appropriate clinical level. An appropriate level of training must include chemistry, anatomy, diagnostics, physiology, formulation guidelines and safety issues regarding each specific internal route (oral, vaginal or rectal).”
When appropriately trained aromatherapists, and medical practitioners give their clients/patients essential oils for internal use, they don’t just say add a few drops to some water and drink it down. They prepare gelatin or enteric-coated capsules containing essential oils diluted with a carrier oil.
If you suffer from any condition (including nausea) the only safe way to ingest essential oils is under the guidance of a professional. And no, multi level marketing pushers don’t count as professionals.
It’s much safer to stick with the uncontroversial and time-tested methods of essential oil inhalation and topical use.
If you feel like you must drink something to help settle your stomach, you can make a soothing herbal tea with peppermint or ginger, using fresh mint leaves or ginger root.