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Essential Oils For Heartburn

Section 1 : Introduction


Adults, around twenty-five million, experience heartburn daily. Also, more than one third of adults do experience heartburn once a month in the United States.[2]

Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is a one of the most common diseases, which is typically diagnosed by a history of recurring heartburn.

Heartburn Is defined as a symptom which is complex and is characterized by a substernal discomfort or pain which is usually burning in quality and often starts near the epigastrium. It radiates towards the mouth and is the worst following meals or when reclining and is mostly relieved by antacid ingestion.[1]

In simple language, it is a burning sensation behind the breast bone.[2]

Doctors generally recommend for dietary modifications, weight loss exercises, lifestyle behaviors, and changes in body positions, even though they may not know the specific cause of heartburn for an individual patient.[2]

Pathophysiology of Heartburn

Heartburn occurs mostly when the esophagus is exposed to the gastric acid. Ordinarily, the lower esophageal sphincter, which helps separating the esophagus from the stomach, usually prevents the acid from entering the esophagus.

At certain times, relaxation in transient lower esophageal sphincter occurs which results in gastroesophageal reflux and heart-burn.[2]

In erosive esophagitis, the pathogenesis of heartburn is accepted as arising from the contact of refluxed gastric acid with damaged esophageal mucosa.

Then the acid heartburn by diffusion through various visible mucosal breaks where it contacts and it activates chemosensitive nociceptors present within the esophageal mucosa.[1]

Risk Factors of Heartburn

Consumption of various foods and beverages has been said to induce heartburn.

Body position, along with recumbency, bending over, and also the postprandial state is said to be also associated with heartburn.

Lifestyle factors, like alcohol consumption, obesity, stress, cigarette smoking, various medication use, and certain exercises can also precipitate heartburn.

Specific factors may also be responsible for heartburn, but at times it appears as though these factors are very unique for each individual. For instance, some patients reveal that coffee consumption causes their heartburn, while some other patients are not affected by the consumption of coffee.[2]

Essential Oils For Heartburn

Essential Oils

Essential oils are natural, volatile, complex compounds characterized by a really strong odour and are formed by aromatic plants as secondary metabolites.

In nature, essential oils play an important role within the protection of the plants as antivirals, antifungals, antibacterials, insecticides and also against herbivores by reducing their appetite for such plants.

They also may attract insects to favour the dispersion of pollens and seeds, or repel undesirable others.

Essential oils are synthesized by all plant organs, i.e. seeds, fruits, roots, buds, flowers, leaves, stems, twigs, wood or bark, and are stored in secretory cells, cavities, canals, epidermal cells or glandular trichomes.

Ways of Extraction Of Essential Oils

There are several methods for extracting essential oils.

These may include use of liquid CO2 or micro- waves, and mainly low or high distillation employing boiling water or hot steam.

Due to essential oil’s bactericidal and fungicidal properties, pharmaceutical and food uses are more widespread as alternatives to synthetic chemical products. In those cases, extraction by steam distillation or by cold expression, for instance for Citrus, is preferred.

For perfume uses, extraction with lipophilic solvents and sometimes with supercritical CO2 is favoured.

Maceration, Solvent Extraction, Water extraction, Steam distillation

Thus, the chemical profile of the volatile oil products differs not only within the number of molecules but also within the stereochemical ways of molecules extracted, consistent with the type of extraction, and therefore the sort of extraction is chosen consistent with the aim of the utilization .[3]

Chemical Composition

Essential oils are very complex natural mixtures which may contain about 20–60 components at quite different concentrations. They are basically made up of terpenes and aromatic compounds. They are also characterized by two or three major components at fairly higher concentrations (20–70%) compared to other components present in small amounts.

For example:

  • Carvacrol (30%) and thymol (27%) are the important components of the Origanum compactum essential oil,
  • Linalol (68%) is major component of the Coriandrum sativum essential oil,
  • A- and b-thuyone (57%) and camphor (24%) are of the Artemisia herbaalba essential oil,
  • 1,8-cineole (50%) is of the Cinnamomumcamphora essential oil.
  • A-phellandrene (36%) and limonene (31%) of the leaf and carvone (58%) and limonene (37%) of seed Anethumgraveolens essential oil
  • Menthol (59%) and menthone (19%) of the Mentha piperita essential oil.[3]

In this article we will look into various kinds of essential oils which can be used to relieve us from or treat heartburn.

Essential Oils For Heartburn

Section 2 : Essential Oils For Heartburn

Essential oils are oils derived from various plants or trees. These oils are herbal and offer many advantages for those who use them, one of them being heartburn relief. Every oil is unique in its properties. Generally speaking, many essential oils contain various powerful natural properties that are beneficial to the body.

Lemon Oil

Citrus limonBurm. f. whose family is Rutaceae and is popularly known as limão-siciliano in Brazil is a Tree which is 3–6 m in height.

The gastroprotective effect from various species of Citrus was demonstrated by Moraes.

The phytochemical analysis of Citrus lemon revealed that essential oil showed that its majority compounds are only two monoterpenes, limonene and 􏰀-pinene. Limonene (LIM) which is a major constituent of several citrus oils. It has been utilised for relief of heartburn and also for gastroesophageal reflux disorder because of its gastric-acid- neutralizing property and improvement of peristalsis.[8]

Cardamom Oil

Cardamom seeds were familiar to Discordies in AD 77 and were mentioned within the Arabian Nights.

The principal constituent of the seeds may be an essential oil, of which they yield from 2–8 (average about 5).%

The major ingredients of cardamom oil are 1,8- cineole (20–60%) and alpha-terpinyl acetate (20– 53%).[2] the traditional maximum contents of other principal components of the oil are linalyl acetate, linalol and borneol (each up to 8 .0%), alpha-pinene, limonene alpha-terpineol (4.3%), and myrcene (each up to 3%)[12]

Cardamom seeds are widely used as a flavouring agent in various food items.

Cardamom oil is especially utilized in aromatherapy as a digestive solution to get rid of flatulence, heartburn, nausea, indigestion and colic[9]

Orange Oil

The Citrus aurantium essential oil exerts its gastric protective effect by conserving the basal PGE2 levels in the gastric mucosa lining and helps reducing GERD, heartburn and various gastrointestinal problems.[8]

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint or Mentha piperita Linn. (M. piperita) is from the family of Lamiaceae.

The pharmacological action is because of menthol which is a primary constituent of peppermint oil and around 44% free menthol is present in peppermint oil.

Peppermint oil has various properties such as anti inflammatory, analgesic, anti-infectious, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, digestive, carminative, fungicidal effects, nervine stimulant, vasoconstrictor, decon- gestant and stomachic properties.[4][5][13]

Ginger Oil

The ginger oil contains a variety of components such as l, limonene, citral, geraniol, citronellol, monoterpenes, namely phellandrene, camphene, cineole, linalool,borneol and sesquiterpenes, namely α-zingiberene,

Studies done on rats have also found proof for gastro-protective activity of various essential oils from ginger

Due to anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties of ginger, its oil also provides instantaneous relief from heartburn.[11]

Cornmint Oil

The essential oil of menthol mint or cornmint (Mentha artensisL.f. piperascensMalinvaud ex Holmes, family, Lamiaceae) is isolated by steam distillation of the above ground freshly harvested or partially dried flowering or vegetative shoot phy- tomass and menthol crystals which are isolated through chilling and centrifuging the volatile oil are mostly used in flavor, fragrance and pharmaceutical industries.

In aromatherapy, the essential oil is used for its cooling effect on the skin; for pain relieving properties; for treating migraine, heartburn, aching feet, digestive problems, travel sickness, sinus and catarrh problems.[10]

Helichrysum Odoratissimum Oil

Helichrysumodoratissimum Sweet belongs to the family Asteraceae. About half of the species of Helichrysum occur in the southern part of Africa.

The volatile oil of Helichrysumodoratissimum Sweet from Zimbabwe is obtained by hydrodistillation of the fresh leaves.

It was analysed by GC/ MS and compounds that were identified with a-pinene (15.0%), a-humulene (13.0%), p- caryophyllene (9.6%),elemol (8.7%),p-himachalene (8.2%)and 1,8-cineole.(7.7%)

Decoction of the leaves is also used to relieve stitch and other abdominal pains, while the juice of the fresh leaves is taken for heartburn and to relieve gastric problems[6]

Artemisia Afra Oil

Artemisia afra Jacq. ex Willd is one of the well-known medicinal plants of South Africa, where it was known as “wildeals”.

It is widely used for numerous ailments including heartburn, bronchitis colds, coughs, diabetes, and asthma.[7]

One of the major components of its essential oil is camphor (29.1%).[7]

Lavender Oil

Lavender (Lavandula officinalis Chaix.) belongs to the family of Lamiaceae and is a beautiful herb present in the garden

It contains linalyl acetate, beta- ocimene, camphor, terpinen-4-ol, linalool, and 1,8-cineole

Linalool and linalyl acetate have the maximum and great absorbing characteristics from skin during massage along with a depressing central nervous system

Linalool also shows sedative effects and linalyl acetate shows certain narcotic actions.

The relaxing along with analgesic effect of Lavender oil help to eradicate pain due to heartburn.[11][13]

2.1 Various Formulations Prescribed For Heartburn Using Essential Oils

First Formulation

Treatment: Massage or rub a little of the fresh oil over the upper abdomen properly in circular motions properly.

Ingredients: Cardamom oil 3 drops, Peppermint oil 2 drops, Carrier oil that can be used for dilution. 3.5 drops

Note: Any oil can be used for this condition; geranium oil, basil oil, clove bud, fennel,coriander oil, etc.[4]

Second Formulation

Peppermint and lemon oil are different types of digestive oils.

Sandalwood is used to encourage relaxation.

Treatment: Apply the given lotion, below and around your breastbone.[5]

Ingredients: Lemon oil and Peppermint oil 2 drops each, Sandalwood oil 1 drop, Carrier lotion ½ fl oz.

Section 3: Conclusion

While essential oils have gained a lot popularity in recent years as an alternative medicine, these have been used for centuries in traditional medicines to treat a wide variety of diseases and ailments, including indigestion, nausea, heartburn and reflux.

People use essential oils in various different ways. Beginners can dilute two to four drops of their desired oil into a cup of water or tea and ingest it or they can also massage a few drops of essential oil directly onto your skin with a carrier oil that acts as a base oil and is used to dilute essential oils, such as jojoba or even inhale the aroma of essential oils through using a diffuser.

There are various essential oils available in the market but it is recommended to use the best quality and least adulterated essential oils to avoid any further diseases. Also, it is recommended that consultation with a physician should be done before using the essential oils.

Not to forget, too much excess of anything is harmful. So, take as prescribed by your physician or else, certain essential oils, if taken in excess, can even elevate heartburn just like peppermint oil.

It is a good alternative for modern treatments as it’s natural and chemical free for treating ailments such as heartburn yet one should use it wisely and as recommended.


  1. Barlow, W. J., & Orlando, R. C. (2005). The pathogenesis of heartburn in nonerosive reflux disease: a unifying hypothesis. Gastroenterology, 128(3), 771-778.
  2. Oliveria, S. A., Christos, P. J., Talley, N. J., & Dannenberg, A. J. (1999). Heartburn risk factors, knowledge, and prevention strategies: a population-based survey of individuals with heartburn. Archives of internal medicine, 159(14), 1592-1598.
  3. Bakkali, F., Averbeck, S., Averbeck, D., &Idaomar, M. (2008). Biological effects of essential oils–a review. Food and chemical toxicology, 46(2), 446-475.
  4. Worwood, V. A. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments. New World Library.
  5. Price, S. (2003). Aromatherapy for Common Ailments: How to Use Essential Oils–Such as Rosemary, Chamomile, and Lavender–To Prevent and Treat More Than 40 Common Ailments. Simon and Schuster.
  6. Gundidza, M. G., &Zwaving, J. H. (1993). The chemical composition of the essential leaf oil of Helichrysumodoratissimum sweet from Zimbabwe. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 5(3), 341-343.
  7. Abad, M. J., Bedoya, L. M., Apaza, L., & Bermejo, P. (2012). The Artemisia L. genus: a review of bioactive essential oils. Molecules, 17(3), 2542-2566.
  8. Rozza, A. L., de Mello Moraes, T., Kushima, H., Tanimoto, A., Marques, M. O. M., Bauab, T. M., … &Pellizzon, C. H. (2011). Gastroprotective mechanisms of Citrus lemon (Rutaceae) essential oil and its majority compounds limonene and β-pinene: Involvement of heat-shock protein-70, vasoactive intestinal peptide, glutathione, sulfhydryl compounds, nitric oxide and prostaglandin E2. Chemico-biological interactions, 189(1-2), 82-89. Gochev, V., Girova, T., Stoilova, I., Atanasova, T., Nenov, N., Stanchev, V., &Soyanova, A. (2012). Low temperature extraction of essential oil bearing plants by liquefied gases. 7. Seeds from cardamom (Elettariacardamomum (L.) Maton). Journal of BioScience& Biotechnology, 1(2).
  9. Rao, B. R. (2002). Biomass yield, essential oil yield and essential oil composition of rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium species) as influenced by row spacings and intercropping with cornmint (Mentha arvensis LfpiperascensMalinv. ex Holmes). Industrial crops and Products, 16(2), 133-144.
  10. https://www.netmeds.com/health-library/post/heartburn-try-these-essential-oils-for-instant-relief-infographic
  11. Al-Zuhair, H., El-Sayeh, B., Ameen, H. A., & Al-Shoora, H. (1996). Pharmacological studies of cardamom oil in animals. Pharmacological research, 34(1-2), 79-82.
  12. Ali, B., Al-Wabel, N. A., Shams, S., Ahamad, A., Khan, S. A., & Anwar, F. (2015). Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review. Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, 5(8), 601-611.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Sheetal DeCaria, M.D.
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Sheetal DeCaria, M.D. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 2, 2021

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