After looking for IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) home remedies, Rebecca recently gave me a sample of doTERRA DigestZen Essential Oil Blend to try, and I wanted to share my experience. First some background, though:
I’ve grown up with stomach problems. One of my early memories is being about five years old and needing to be taken to an emergency room while on a family vacation because my parents thought I had appendicitis. It turns out that my tonsils were inflamed and causing severe stomach pain (I’m still not sure how those two were connected). We returned home, and my tonsils were promptly removed. From that time forward, though, I continued to have severe stomach pain that regularly had my parents taking me to the emergency room for tests.
By age nine, I’d been diagnosed with an ulcer and was put on medication. Three years later, I was still taking ulcer medication and still having stomach problems. I’d had so many blood draws that I knew most of the phlebotomists in the small-town hospital by sight and regularly called them by different vampire names. I was finally taken for extensive tests at a research hospital in the area. More blood tests and even a scope later revealed that the ulcer was long-healed, and a diagnosis was given. Irritable bowel syndrome. It sounds a bit like a child throwing a fit, and that’s often how I refer to the occasional problems I still have—fits, attacks, etc.
I was sternly lectured on eating right. My mother despaired that I wouldn’t eat any vegetables except for corn, green beans and peas. I wouldn’t touch salad dressing, and, therefore, salad was not part of my diet at all. The doctors said they didn’t care about the dressing, but only the fiber. We drew a line in the sand and called a truce. I would learn to eat the other veggies and salad if I didn’t have to do the dressing. I slowly got the problems under control and no longer needed prescription medications. I learned what usually triggered an attack for me, and I only occasionally have them now. However, there are still things that cause it—some in my control and some not—poor eating (especially rich foods, soda or junk food), stress, and my monthly cycle. Recently, I also found out that I have sensitivities to certain foods that I should be avoiding too.
All in all, I do okay and don’t need medication prescribed. However, life has been stressful lately, triggering both attacks from the stress and from comfort eating. Yep, the junk food. So, I’ve had a few more bad days than normal; from a mild attack less than once a month to a stronger and longer fit just about every week. I don’t really want to go back on medication. I haven’t been on it in years, so I’d need to go back to the doctor and explain what’s going on. It’s also not something I want because you have to take it all the time to have relief. I only have problems here and there. It also makes me drowsy.
When I woke up feeling particularly low one day, I decided to give the DigestZen a try. I smelled it, and I could tell there was peppermint and what smelled like licorice in it. Hmm, I knew peppermint is good for soothing tummies, but the licorice (anise) surprised me. There were also some other things like ginger that I’ve never really thought of. I put about six drops in a cup of water. I have to admit I’d never drunk essential oils before this. Surprise, surprise—oil and water don’t mix too well. So, I decided I needed to drink it fairly quickly before it was all just sitting on top of the water again. It had an unusual taste—strong, not unpleasant, but very different. I needed to brush my teeth and get out the door for the day, so I’m not certain how long the taste would have stayed in my mouth. I’m also not certain how it would have been if I’d taken it before I ate. Would it have interfered with the taste of the food? Didn’t know.
Here’s what I do know, though. I was expecting to feel somewhat yucky for a number of hours that day, tummy gurgling and just irritable. I also expected to be very careful with what I ate that day. In less than five minutes, my stomach relaxed! No more tightness, no more pain. I felt mellow, like I could eat anything. I have never had anything work that fast. Not Tums. Not prescription medication. Nothing. I was shocked. I’m still very new to natural remedies and tend to dabble here and there and be a little skeptical. I’ve tried a few of the oils before, mostly peppermint for stuffy noses, or citrus ones as flavor enhancers. I was really surprised that this did what it claimed. I even wondered if it was a fluke.
About a week later, after a binge of candy, I tried it again. The taste hadn’t been unpleasant before, but it also wasn’t my favorite. Let’s just call it an acquired taste. This time I put about four drops in an empty capsule. I could tell it took a little longer—about 10 minutes. Same thing, though. I could feel my stomach and intestines just relaxing. When you go from feeling like there’s a battle inside you to a complete truce in a matter of minutes, that’s significant.
I even tried it together with some homemade lemonade (lemon juice and stevia). I’m not certain I recommend that. It wasn’t awful, but it was a clash of tastes. When I drank the DigestZen with water and had the lemonade after, it seemed to clear the taste out though. As I’ve tried it more, I realize I only need about 2-3 drops to make my stomach calm and happy (there’s almost no aftertaste with that amount). If I’m really having a hard time, I can add more drops or take some more in a few hours. That means the 15 ml bottle will go a looooooong way. I can take it when I want, instead of all the time, so it will also last longer. I also don’t notice the brain fog, like with the prescription medication. I haven’t gone out to eat since I’ve tried it, but I think it will also help in those situations where I can’t control what I’m eating as much. If I have a few drops before the meal, I think it will probably help prevent a reaction and keep my tummy calm. I’m excited to see if I’m right.
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