Essential Oils for Constipation
Essential oils are highly concentrated extracts that are derived from plants. They’re extracted through either steaming or cold-pressing the plants.
Essential oils have been used in alternative medicine for thousands of years, and the Western world is finally starting to take notice. They can help to treat a wide array of ailments, including constipation.
Different essential oils can have different effects on the body, some of which can help to treat conditions like constipation. They may relax the body, for example, or encourage muscle contractions, making it easier for the digestive system to function properly.
Essential oils aren’t meant to be consumed, as some may be toxic. In addition, before applying to the skin, they should always be diluted in a carrier oil.
Ginger is commonly used to improve digestion and reduce nausea, and it can also help treat constipation. It has digestive stimulatory effects that can increase gastric motility, preventing and treating constipation.
To relieve constipation with ginger oil, mix 3 to 5 drops of ginger oil with 1 ounce of carrier oil like coconut oil or grapeseed oil. Massage the mixture onto the abdomen. Do this two to three times a day as needed.
Fennel seed is a powerful digestive stimulant that can act as a laxative when ingested, effectively treating constipation quickly.
Fennel essential oil is most effective as a digestive stimulant when mixed with a small amount of carrier oil and massaged onto the abdomen. Do this two to three times a day as needed.
Peppermint essential oil contains antispasmodic properties, which can relax the muscles in the digestive tract, making the bowels looser. This can help relieve constipation. One 2008 study was able to back this up, finding that peppermint oil successfully helped relieve constipation in some people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Combine 2 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 teaspoon of warmed carrier oil, like coconut or grapeseed oil. Massage this mixture onto the abdomen and inhale the aroma. The massage will increase movement of the bowel, and the inhalation will help relax those muscles. Do this two to three times a day until your constipation is relieved. Studies have demonstrated that inhaling oils can be as effective as applying them directly to the skin.
Rosemary essential oil has a spasmolytic effect , meaning that it relaxes muscles and suppresses muscle spasms. Like peppermint oil, this can jump-start the digestive system and get things moving as needed.
Inhaling rosemary oil can have all the desired effects that you’d need, though some people also use it as a massage oil for aromatherapy benefits. You can mix the oil into a massage lotion, or you can add a few drops to an air diffuser to get the full benefits.
Lemon essential oil is highly concentrated and contains a number of strong antioxidants that can improve digestion and simultaneously reduce inflammation. Both factors can allow the digestion process to run more smoothly and eliminate constipation. One study even found that using oils like lemon oil in aromatherapy massages improved digestion.
Mix lemon oil into a carrier oil, and massage it into the skin. You can also put lemon oil in an air diffuser and inhale the scent of the oil to achieve the desired results. Avoid exposure to sunlight when applying lemon essential oil.
Essential oils aren’t meant to be taken orally, and some are toxic. The effect of aromatherapy is experienced when inhaling the oils and massaging the diluted oils into the skin. Essential oils are generally very safe for the majority of the population to use.
The exception is essential oils that have menthol, like peppermint or spearmint oils. These are safe for adults to use, but can be dangerous for young children and infants to breathe in.
Pregnant and nursing women should also avoid essential oils as there’s not enough research to ensure they’re all safe.
The biggest risk for using essential oils is irritation or allergic reactions. Essential oils that are put on the skin may irritate those with sensitive skin.
To prevent this, never apply essential oil directly to the skin. You should always mix a few drops of an essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice — like coconut, sweet almond, or olive. Test to see if you’re allergic by applying the diluted oil to a small skin patch. If no reaction occurs in 24 to 48 hours, it should be safe for topical use.
Essential oils are generally safe for adults. They may have a more pronounced effect on children, however, so make sure to ask their pediatrician first. If you’re planning on using an air diffuser in your home, keep this in mind.
Essential oils are safe for the majority of the population to use, and can be an effective alternative treatment to constipation. Use the oils only as instructed for the best and safest results.
Choose brands carefully to ensure safe, pure products manufactured under optimum conditions.
If the essential oils or other home remedies don’t treat your constipation within three days, or if constipation is a chronic issue, make an appointment to see your doctor to find the underlying cause. If you’re experiencing severe abdominal pain, nausea, or vomiting along with constipation, seek immediate medical care as these could be symptoms of a bowel obstruction.
While research suggests there are health benefits, the FDA doesn’t monitor or regulate the purity or quality of essential oils. It’s important to talk with your doctor before you begin using essential oils and use caution when choosing a quality brand.
Discover essential oils that may aid in constipation and other digestive issues.
Constipation and CBD
Medical content reviewed by Dr. Joseph Rosado, MD, M.B.A, Chief Medical Officer
Cannabidiol (CBD) relieves a wide range of symptoms. You may know it helps with pain and sleep problems, but what about constipation? Discover how CBD works with your natural systems to reduce this common symptom.
Constipation: An Overview
When you experience constipation, you have three or fewer bowel movements a week. Most cases of constipation last for a short time, but the symptoms can feel unpleasant. However, some people have chronic constipation, which has a negative impact on your bowel movements for a long time.
You can have one of three types of constipation:
- Atonic: Atonic constipation involves a lack of muscle tone in your intestines.
- Obstructive: In obstructive constipation, a physical obstruction blocks your bowels.
- Spastic: Irritation and inflammation in your intestines cause spastic
The type of constipation you have changes the approaches you can take to relieve your symptoms. For example, while healthy habits help patients with atonic constipation, obstructive constipation needs medical attention.
As part of a comprehensive treatment plan, CBD can address the causes and symptoms of constipation. It helps your natural functions work the way they should.
The Endocannabinoid System’s Link to the Digestive System
We all have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) that makes and uses cannabinoids, the substances found in marijuana. Our ECS also creates its own cannabinoids called endocannabinoids. The ECS includes two types of receptors that bind to cannabinoids, CB1 and CB2. You can find CB1 and CB2 receptors throughout the body, including in the gut.
The ECS regulates the gut/brain connection through CB1 receptors. Our brain and gut communicate to each other through the vagus nerve to control our digestive functions. You can find CB1 receptors on the vagus nerve that influence these communications with cannabinoids. They process and release cannabinoids to manage the way our brain and gut send messages to each other.
CBD for Constipation Relief
CBD can relieve certain forms of constipation by addressing the causes. Its pain-relieving and anti-inflammatory abilities have an indirect role to play in helping constipation patients.
If you experience constipation as a side effect of painkillers, you could lower your dose or replace it using CBD. CBD controls the pain response by increasing your anandamide levels. Anandamide, one of the endocannabinoids created by our bodies, moderates pain in damaged tissue. A fatty acid called FAAH breaks anandamide down, but CBD blocks FAAH. Taking CBD prevents the breakdown of anandamide, allowing it to manage pain sensations.
Anandamide also reduces inflammation in irritated tissue. This benefit helps patients with spastic constipation have reduced symptoms. When you have spastic constipation as a symptom of IBS, CBD also works with the body to relieve the condition’s other symptoms.
We recommend getting a doctor’s help before using CBD if you don’t know the cause of your constipation. If you have atonic or obstructive constipation, CBD may exacerbate your symptoms. However, it could also help you if you experience phases of constipation and diarrhea. You can use CBD to decrease your bowel motility and symptoms related to diarrhea when you have an episode.
Finding the Right CBD Product for Your Constipation
CBD medicine comes in many forms. The availability in your area depends on local and state laws. Even if you don’t plan to use medication with THC, a medical marijuana program gives you access to medicine-grade CBD items. When you can’t get access to a dispensary, you can also get relief from over-the-counter CBD products. We recommend checking the product label to ensure it has enough CBD to provide benefits.
The right type of CBD product for your constipation will match the underlying causes. If you get constipation from painkillers, you want a medicine that reaches the affected area. Topical treatments will help muscle pain, while patches, edibles and pills circulate to pain sources inside your body. Medication you ingest travels to your intestine to relieve inflammation caused by IBS and other conditions.
You may also want to look into medicine that contains small amounts of THC to boost CBD’s effects. It works together with CBD to provide stronger pain and inflammation relief. Since CBD reduces the impact of THC on the brain, you can feel less of a “high” from the THC.
A doctor trained in cannabis medicine can help you find a solution that manages your symptoms. CBD has varying effects depending on the case of constipation. So, getting medical advice first will ensure you have an effective treatment.
Where to Learn More About Medical Marijuana
To discover more about using cannabis medicine, find more information about underlying and related conditions in our ailment resources.
Learn More About Constipation
Learn more about Constipation and what makes medical marijuana an effective treatment for Constipation’s symptoms.
If you are suffering from Constipation, learn more about your marijuana-related treatment options. Find out how CBD can be used to treat the symptoms of Constipation.