see also diarrhea,
Gastroenteritis is inflammation of the mucous membranes
of the digestive tract. The most common subset is
viral gastroenteritis or known commonly as the stomach flu.
As the name implies this is a viral infection and can come
from a variety of viruses including adenovirus, astrovirus,
caliciviruses, norovirus and rotavirus. The latter two being
common among children while caliciviruses is a more common
infectious agent among adults. None of these virus strains
are related to those responsible for the common cold or flu
(influenza) that affect the respiratory system.
Symptoms appear rapidly after contacting the infection,
usually with 4 to 48 hours. Symptoms usually will
include abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Fever
and headache may also occur but symptoms will usually differ
from respiratory influenza (the flu) which typically will
include high fever, muscle aches, fatigue and respiratory
As with any viral infection antibiotics will not help.
The greatest danger for many, especially children and those
with weakened immune systems, is that because of diarrhea
and vomiting the body can become dehydrated. This should be
Also note the stomach flu is not to be confused with
influenza or the bronchial flu that includes a number of
serious strains (West Nile, Swine, Bird, H1N1 and H3N2). See
A quick note on the terms associated with digestive tract
Gastroenteritis is the general term for
infection (bacterial, viral, parasitical or toxins)
that leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane of
the digestive tract.
|| Dysentery, a subset of
gastroenteritis, primarily affecting the colon.
Infection is commonly from parasites but can also be
bacterial, viral or toxic. Most common are amoebic,
giardia and cryptosporidium that all come from
protozoans (single cell parasites).
|| Gastritis, a subset of
gastroenteritis, is specifically inflammation of
tissue in the stomach.
is a common symptom of various forms of
gastroenteritis. Some use this term interchangeably
|| Food poisoning can lead to
gastroenteritis and primarily describes what and how
the infectious agents come into the body.
|| Stomach flu
(viral gastroenteritis) is a subset of
gastroenteritis caused by a viral infection from a
number of viruses (but unrelated to those that cause
the common cold and flu).
|| Traveler’s diarrhea
(Montezuma’s revenge) is the lay term used for
gastroenteritis (bacterial or viral) common to folks
traveling to new areas and exposed to new infectious
Oils, blends & products
Oils & Blends:
Pain/discomfort: DigestZen, Fennel, Ginger, Peppermint, Sandalwood
Antiviral: Basil, Cassia, Cinnamon,
Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Helichrysum, Lemon, Lemongrass, Marjoram,
Melaleuca, Melissa, Myrrh, On Guard, Oregano, Thyme
Essential oils based
GX Assist, PB Assist
Add 4 drops each DigestZen® and Frankincense in a capsule
and take 2 - 3 times daily. (or add oils to a swallow of
water or juice and drink.)
Additional help for pain and discomfort:
Topically apply 3 - 4 drops DigestZen® to the lower stomach area.
For children and babies apply topically and dilute with a
carrier oil. For
infants the oils will be effective when applied diluted to the
bottoms of the feet.
Ginger and Peppermint are also good to settle upset
Alternatives for the viral infection:
Some recommend 4 drops Oregano, 4 drops Thyme in a
capsule. Fill remainder with fractionated coconut oil.
2 - 3 times daily. Other oils listed above as
antiviral can be used in a similar way.
Experiences and Testimonials of others
Lauren - I am new
to essential oils and have a few questions about oils
preventing the stomach bug/flu. I have had the stomach bug 3
times in 6 weeks. 2 times it was stomach pains with the runs
and 1 time it was stomach pains, runs and high fever
(102.5). Earlier this week after having the stomach flu
twice I started feeling the itchy throat and burning eyes
that are all tell tale signs for me that I am getting a head
cold. I took 3 capsules a day with a mixture of Peppermint,
On Guard, Lemon, Melaleuca, Oregano, Lavender and
Frankincense. I also took 10,000 IUs of Vit D, 2,000 vit C
and 2 probiotics 3 times a day till I felt no symptoms and
happily the cold never came. I lost my voice and had a
little cough but no fever or cold. A few days later
(yesterday) I got the stomach flu, this time with a high
fever. I know that oils can boost your immune system to
fight of colds but can it also boost it to fight off stomach
bugs? I have food allergies and have always been sensitive
to foods. I wonder if there is something I can do with the
oils to heal something in my digestive tract that is prone
to this stomach bug. Could it have anything to do with my
Jan - DigestZen is your best bet for
anything stomach related. You can take a capsule and or put
it on topically around your navel. Also a drop under your
tongue and if you don't like the taste, just chase it with 4
oz water or more. You can add a little Peppermint to the
capsule. I would do about 3 to 4 drops of DigestZen with 3
drops of Peppermint and add some Lemon, 1 or 2 drops. (I
always fill the capsule up with fractionated coconut oil
after putting the oils in). You might even want to add a
drop of Melaleuca.
Lisa - We just got done with the stomach
flu here. My daughter had a high temperature, sharp stomach
pains, diarrhea, and vomiting. We did the following:
took GX Assist because we wanted to clean all the bad
bacteria out of her digestive system.
took Zendocrine because it gives support for the colon and
liver both of which are part of the digestive system.
took 2 probiotics to repopulate her digestive system with
took a full capsule of Frankincense to reduce inflammation
and begin healing.
took a capsule of 8 drops DigestZen with 3 drops Helichrysum
because this is recommended for colitis.
We did all of the above together 4 times/day. Twice a
day with this she took a capsule of 4 drops each of Clove,
Geranium, Rosemary, Grapefruit. This is recommended to take
with Zendocrine for added liver support. We layered all the
oils of the Aroma Touch therapy along with Thyme and Melissa
every hour along her spine the first day and 3 times the 2nd
day. This was to draw the virus/bacteria out of her body.
She drank as much as she could everyday. Whenever the
stomach pains got really bad, we put DigestZen and Ginger or
Helichrysum on the naval area where it hurt. We did this
for 2 days. We tried Peppermint, but it didn't work. After
2 days it was gone. She began to eat again and we continued
the regime of GXAssist, Zendocrine, probiotics,
Frankincense, DigestZen/Helichrysum, along with the Clove
etc. in a capsule to ensure that the foods didn't cause a
reoccurrence and to give her digestive system extra support
as it got used to real foods again.
I would play this one, by ear. Because my daughter can't
eat a lot of carbs because of her asthma, we stayed on the
above for 4 more days before gradually reducing this by 1
set of pills a day because proteins are more complex and
harder to digest. She also took HCl pills with each meal to
increase the acid in her stomach to ensure digestion was as
complete as it could get. I hope this helps. It worked real
well for my daughter.
Carol - Lavender rubbed on your stomach
3 drops of DigestZen in your tea.
Steiner - So I am new to using the oils
(almost a month now) and need to share a big success this
week with using them. My poor husband for 6 days now
(started last Saturday night) had a major stomach flu!
Couldn't eat hardly anything but the BRAT diet when he felt
up to eating anything at all, was off of work for most of
the week, and was alternating over the counter medicine to
help him without much relief. Anytime I would offer him
oils he would just say that smelling oils makes him more
nauseous and he was not going to use them. Finally he went
to the doctor today who replied that there was a major flu
going around and gave him yet another stronger prescription
Here is where the success comes in: I used the oils all
week long on myself and 3 kids. On Guard every day on their
feet for my kids as well as an oil of their choice in the
morning and at night. Usually Balance in the morning and
Lavender at night. Sunday my oldest felt "queasy" so I gave
him a capsule of 3 drops Peppermint/3 drops Lemon and rubbed
Peppermint on his stomach and he felt much better. Anytime
I felt "queasy" I took a capsule of Digest Zen and an
On Guard throat drop also drinking my Lemon water through out
The way we were staying healthy we thought my husband
originally had food poisoning, however food poisoning does
not last 6 days. We continue to be healthy while he is
almost recovered. This is probably the first time the flu
has entered our home and it wasn't shared by all! It was
very nice not to feel sick and have sick kids as well. The
moral of my story is use your oils!
Kathy - I had a similar experience, but
my family is all open to it, so instead of us losing a week
of our lives, we all just had some slight discomfort,
telling us it was time for more DigestZen. I love doTERRA!
My little girl started to get a bad respiratory gunk, but I
added Breathe and On Guard to her saline nebulizer and it was
gone within hours. I know we all could go on and on!
Lori - A couple of weeks ago I had out
of town guests staying at my house. One night I woke up with
that sickening feeling in my stomach and though "oh no, I'm
getting the stomach flu!" I fought it off for a few minutes
and then remembered that I had doTERRA's Ginger essential
oil. I put some on my stomach, abdomen and rubbed some on
my neck. I also inhaled what was on my hands. Within 10
minutes I felt good enough to go back to sleep. I slept all
night (never getting sick!). The next morning I still felt a
bit queasy so I put some Ginger in a capsule with olive oil
and headed off to work. I worked all day (without getting
sick!), came home, took one more capsule and believe it or
not I never got sick to my stomach! Ginger is one totally
awesome essential oil. Our home will never be without this
John - I didn't even know that doTERRA
had Ginger. My mom used to give us candied Ginger if we
felt sick to our stomach's. I've used the DigestZen a lot
with great results. I think I will get Ginger also though.
Samara - My 14
month old has been sick all night with a fever. He's
been vomiting and has diarrhea. What would you suggest?
Pat - Peppermint will control the fever
and the stomach. Because he is so young you might want to
use a carrier oil when you put it on his skin. The forehead
and back of the neck for the fever and the tummy and a drop
in a cup of water for the upset tummy. Cassia or Cinnamon
will help with the diarrhea but you will absolutely need a
carrier oil, and you would rub it on the bottom of his
tummy. If you have doTerra oils, DigestZen will be good and
is not so hot as the other oils.
Samara - I tried the DigestZen and wow!
I rubbed it on his belly and within 20 minutes he wanted to
eat! A little later I gave him a drop in some water. He
let go of a lot of gas and then he really felt like eating.
His diarrhea is almost gone.
Ann - My daughter
has had diarrhea off and on since Monday. I have been
using DigestZen and Peppermint topically on her feet and
tummy, and was wondering if DigestZen would be ok to give
her internally, she is 15. Would that help?
Brooke – Yes - If she can stand it - We
had the flu bug last week, and I used a couple of drops of
DigestZen under their tongue three times a day, and then had
them drink water with Peppermint in it. But I also rubbed
Lemongrass and Ginger on their abdomen - and it helped a
ton! It is a really nasty flu bug going around!
Maree - I would also try Clove....
internally. That really helped my family’s issues a
few weeks ago.
Cami - My 2 year
old has been sick for the last 5 days. She is either
throwing up or has diarrhea. Monday she was throwing up.
Tuesday she threw up once but had diarrhea all day.
Wednesday diarrhea all day. Thursday she threw up a little.
Then today she has thrown up twice. Can't really keep
anything down again and has had diarrhea. She will drink and
she acts like herself when she isn't throwing up. I am just
wondering if there is something I can give her that will
help her stomach calm down and just help get rid of this bug
that we can't seem to get rid of!
Leah - Sounds like my baby this past
week, except the throwing up hasn't been that intense.
Definitely has the diarrhea. He's mostly breastfed. The oils
I've been using on him (he's 10 months old) are Balance on
the bottom of his feet, Basil around his ears - as he seems
to have an irritation or infection, Frankincense on his head
or neck, and DigestZen on his belly button. I think the
DigestZen plays the biggest part in not throwing up.
Sandi - Sounds like my daughter last
week (5 years old). Ginger worked best for her. Stopped
things (both ends) right in their tracks. Couple drops of
Ginger in FCO and rubbed on her lower abdomen. Then she
liked to smell the Peppermint because it masked the smell of
the Ginger, which she doesn't like. It usually worked for
about 12 hours before she's start feeling nauseous and then
What Science & Research are saying
Herbal remedies for dyspepsia:
Peppermint seems effective.
Prescrire Int. 2008 Jun;17(95):121-3. [No authors listed]
(1) Functional dyspepsia is extremely common, yet few if
any treatments have been shown to be effective. This review
examines the potential benefits and risks of using herbal
products in treating symptoms of dyspepsia. (2) About forty
plants have been approved in France in the composition of
products traditionally used for dyspepsia. (3) The clinical
efficacy of most of these plants has not been assessed. Some
essential oils can cause severe adverse effects, including
seizures. Herbal teas appear to be safe when used
appropriately. (4) A few randomised controlled clinical
trials suggest that Peppermint essential oil is
effective in reducing abdominal pain, flatulence and
diarrhea in patients with "irritable bowel syndrome".
Peppermint tea, containing essential oil, has no known
adverse effects. (5) There is no sound reason to discourage
patients from using herbal teas made from plants
such as Lemon balm, German Chamomile or star anise.