Boo! It’s Halloween, the day where even the most strict families will allow for some candy. However, if you’ve lived on a strict diet the introduction of even the smallest amount of candy can wreak havoc on your gut. Thankfully, the western medical world is starting to pay careful attention to the critical nature of gut health. As this awareness increases, more options have become available to help treat acute and chronic conditions. One remedy that has grown in popularity is the use of essential oils to treat a leaky gut. So- if you’re going eat all the candy (no shame!) you’ll want to read this and have a plan if you wake up with Halloween day after guilt.
What is Leaky Gut?
Although the term “leaky gut” may sound like a topic you’d rather not discuss in polite company, it is important to discuss it. Leaky gut syndrome, also called intestinal permeability(1), refers to a condition in which the intestinal wall becomes overly permeable, allowing toxins into the bloodstream. In a healthy gut, only water and nutrients are allowed to pass through, but our modern western diet and lifestyle have led to not-so-healthy guts.
When undigested food particles, toxins, and bacteria enter the bloodstream, the immune system responds by going on the attack against these invaders, creating a systemic allergic reaction.
Many in the traditional western medical world do not yet recognize leaky gut as an actual diagnosis, but those who live with its effects know how much it impacts their health and daily living. Before we jump into the use of essential oils to treat a leaky gut, let’s be sure we’re clear on how a healthy intestinal microbiome looks.
Kiwi essential oils for leaky gut. With the introduction of antibacterial soap in 1984, much of the western world, and the United States in particular, became obsessed with antibacterial everything. It seemed that eradicating all bacteria was the goal in many parts of the world as antibacterial wipes, cleansers, mouthwashes, and hand lotions began to arrive on store shelves.
The truth is, bacteria and other microorganisms, also called microbes, are necessary for our overall health. In fact, they are vital. (1) Our bodies have trillions of microbes that are supposed to be there, and most of them reside in our intestines and on our skin. If they get out of balance, it can lead to stomach and skin problems.
The human body, specifically our gut, has more bacteria cells than human cells, and these bacteria serve essential functions in maintaining our health. Eliminating these helpful microbes creates an imbalance in the body that leads to a host of medical issues.
Research shows that when native healthy bacteria die from the use of antibiotics or antibacterial products, intestinal permeability can develop, leading to any of the following conditions:
- Gastrointestinal distress, such as constipation, bloating, and diarrhea
- Brain fog and impaired memory
- Excessive fatigue
- Impaired sleep
- Autoimmune disorders, such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis
Managing a Leaky Gut
Although its symptoms can be significant and painful, there are many ways to manage and treat leaky gut syndrome. Some of the best protocols involve diet and stress reduction.
Many with intestinal discomfort and brain fog find relief by eliminating gluten, refined sugars, and alcohol from their diets. Removing these foods helps reduce your body’s inflammation, allowing the gut a chance to heal. Meditation and mindfulness are viable ways to address these chronic conditions as they reduce stress and anxiety, further decreasing inflammation in the body.
Essential Oils To Treat a Leaky Gut
Before using any essential oils, it is critical that you know how to use them correctly. Be sure to use high-quality oils before beginning any course of treatment, and use them with proper medical instruction. Typically, essential oils are used for aromatherapy, but some can be applied topically, and a few can be ingested. But again, think of them like medication. Get medical advice before using any essential oils for treatment.
Many people with gut health concerns find that using essential oils can help in the following ways:
- Destroying harmful pathogens
- Repairing the intestinal walls
- Reducing inflammation
- Boosting the immune system
Essential Oils For Your leaky Gut
If you are considering using essential oils for a leaky gut, try the following oils.
Well-loved for its ability to aid in digestion and for its anti-inflammatory properties, peppermint oil is one of the most widely used essential oils. It can be applied topically to the abdomen, inhaled through aromatherapy, and ingested when prepared properly.
With its well-documented calming effects, lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils on the market. Since stress and anxiety can lead to leaky gut problems, using lavender aromatically and topically can help to relieve these issues. It is also anti-inflammatory and helps to alleviate pain, and research suggests it helps restore gut microbes to balanced levels.
In its dried form, this herb is a staple in home kitchens. Its savory, aromatic goodness is delicious. In its essential oil form, it is a highly effective helper for your intestinal health. Thyme is antimicrobial and kills harmful pathogens, helping your gut restore its balance of good microbes. Thyme essential oil must be diluted according to directions before applying topically; this is not an oil to ingest.
Another favorite herb with cooks, this potent essential oil provides healing for leaky guts and gastrointestinal issues caused by chemotherapy treatments. (2) Oregano is also particularly effective against E.coli, candida, and listeria.
This powerhouse essential oil holds tremendous healing properties. It has been in use around the world for thousands of years. Similar to thyme, cumin oil helps good microbes flourish while suppressing those that are damaging. It supports liver and pancreas health as well. When prepared properly, this oil can be used aromatically, topically, and internally.
Essential oils hold incredible power to provide comfort and healing. For those suffering from leaky gut syndrome and its many symptoms, essential oils can provide effective treatment, but they must be used correctly to be safe.
The Third River Health is here to answer your questions and guide you in the best way to add essential oils to your treatment plan, in the meantime enjoy your Halloween!