Managing IBS attacks with essential oils can be done. I know firsthand, because it worked for me. I was able to calm the debilitating IBS cramping, Crohn’s flare ups, nausea, fatigue, abdominal discomfort, constipation, and diarrhea.
I must say, if I wouldn’t have experienced it with my own body, I might not have believed it. For me, I would wake up every morning between 5:00am – 7:00am with the worse, debilitating, excruciating abdominal cramps. I would get hot and pour sweat before having severe diarrhea that wiped me out. I would then get the chills and be extremely fatigued, that I almost could not make it back to my bed. Often, I either laid on the bathroom floor or in the shower.
When doctors told me and my mom that I might only have 6 more months left at the rate I was going, everything went blank. I couldn’t believe I was hearing that my doctors were giving up on me and just wanting me to accept that I was going to die. Shame on me because I did believe them. I succumbed to the idea that I was going to die and there was nothing I could do about it. My body, and mind, were so depleted. Many of my organs were failing and I was just wasting away. When I took prednisone to pull me out of a “crisis” I would gain about 20-30 pounds. Then, when I stopped it, I would lose that 20-30 pounds, plus a little more. My lowest weight at one point was 74 pounds (at 5’4″) and in my 20’s. Let me tell you, that was not a good look, or feeling.
I decided to go to the local herb shop, at the request of my sister to see if they had anything that could either help me to live or help make me more comfortable. This was the first time I ever heard the words probiotics and essential oils.
You mean to tell me there IS something that might be able to help me…live?
I had no idea. I am actually embarrassed to even say that out loud. I didn’t realize I need to be hoping, praying, pursuing life versus death.
Through my journey, I must say, I had an incredible amount of blessings. I learned so much about myself, other people’s kindness (and naiveness), and how a simple belief can turn into a dream, a goal, a plan that creates action.
Here are some lessons I learned in case it makes your journey a little easier, more hopeful and manageable.
Lesson 1: When you have an IBS attack, what time did it first start and what time was it at its worst.
These are two pivotal times to understand what triggered it by comparing it to that time zones organ imbalance. For example. If it starts at 9:00 pm, the body is trying to regulate temperature which is metabolism, thyroid and adrenal. You may get more hot, or cold during this time depending on what your body is trying to do.
Being hot means it is trying to generate heat to get things moving. Something, like the lymph, liver, colon, or kidneys are stuck, and don’t have enough nutrients to moving. You might need minerals or a “cooling” tea like chamomile and/or peppermint tea. Managing IBS attacks with essential oils during this time would include cooling oils such as chamomile, peppermint, or patchouli.
If you are more cold, there is lack of circulation, thus drinking a heating tea like Chinese licorice root or ginger can help. Essential oil wise, include oils that are “heating” such as thyme, oregano, and rosemary.
If your IBS cramps and episodes are worse at 12:00 am, that’s a sign that your gallbladder is not happy. It could mean you either ate something too high in fats before bed, or you’re not breaking down your fats (both good and bad). Thus, taking some digestive enzymes before bed can be helpful, especially a full-spectrum with lipase in it.
When your attacks are between 1:00am to 3:00am, that’s the liver time zone. Your body is trying to remove toxins and can’t or is having a hard time because it is too congested or doesn’t have the right tools or nutrients. So, assess and evaluate what environmental in food toxins you were around within the 24-hour period before that attack. Food toxins could even be present in healthy foods that may cause a histamine response (blood type).
Lesson 2: Food triggers & helpful diets
I found acidic, sugar, inflammatory foods were huge culprits like tomatoes or tomato sauce, anything with real and artificial sugar, and flour-rich foods. The diets I did best with, especially when I needed to reintroduce foods to nourish my body, were a combination of the Blood Type Diet, Mediterranean diet, and antihistamine diet. I made an excel spreadsheet listing out foods that were beneficial for my blood type, that were in the Mediterranean and were also classified as antihistamine foods.
Lesson 3: The power of rest
Although I rarely would get 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep because I would always get cramps at some point, I did do better when I was able to rest. Sometimes that meant that on my day off, I would lay in bed all day. No phone…no computer…no blood pressure raising stresses. I had to rearrange my schedule to try and be in bed by 6:00pm and not make any plans before 11:00am because I never knew how I was going to feel upon waking up.
Lesson 4: The importance of cleaning green
I never knew chemical-based cleaning products could wreak so much havoc on my body, mind and gut. When I would clean, I seemed to get worse, and have more IBS & Crohn’s’ attacks. Switching to more natural ingredients, making my own cleaning products with baking soda, vinegar, castile soap and essential oils made an enormous difference not only in the number of attacks, but also the severity wasn’t so bad. Eventually, I stopped having IBS attacks.
Lesson 5: Herbal Supplements
I found that my body was so depleted of basic vitamins and minerals, and needed support being able to absorb those nutrients, assimilate and utilize them, as well as excrete the waste without being overwhelmed. My favorite “go-to” herbals for anything IBS, IBD, Crohn’s, and leaky gut –
- Slipper Elm
- Marshmallow Root
- Lecithin (a high quality source will have B vitamins within it, so your body doesn’t have to work to get them)
- Full-spectrum enzymes
- Herbal Trace Minerals like alfalfa, kelp and dandelion
- Activated Charcoal (used especially with violent IBS attacks & diarrhea)
- Lobelia (highly antispasmodic but don’t use too much as it can induce vomiting and diarrhea)
- My favorite antispasmodic formula
Lesson 6 (the one that made the greatest impact): Managing IBS attacks with Essential Oils
The very first oil I was introduced to was Roman chamomile. It not only smelled good to me, it also helped calm down my IBS cramps, almost instantly. I made up 10 drops in a 10mL roll-on bottle with apricot oil and applied to my abdomen area when cramps would start. I could notice an immediate result by the cramps not being as severe or intense. Over time, this alone would stop the cramping.
In addition to Roman chamomile, I found that adding in some sweet marjoram and peppermint essential oils would enhance the effect, as well as knock out nausea that usually followed. They are great gut supporting oils. This was my very first product I ever sold at JennScents, my Intestinal Soother Roll-on.