Healthy Gut


Living Healthy series with Essential oils: IBS/IBD article

By Dr. Stewart Gillespie*, Osteopath, Functional Medicine, Clinical Nutritionist, Medical Intuitive

Hippocrates said that “all disease begin in the gut”, and “let food be thy medicine”, and this was back in the days when chronic stress and toxic overload  were not as prevalent then as they are in  today’s toxic and stressful environment. Today with the advancement of specialized testing we are seeing more and more that  most chronic diseases and inflammation are caused by Gastrointestinal (GI) dysfunction more commonly known as IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome.
This is a  very real problem for the 60 million people — that’s 20 percent of Americans — who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). These people are plagued by uncomfortable and often disabling symptoms like bloating, cramps, diarrhea, constipation, and pain, that can be at first fairly mild, and therefore ignored as a passing thing, to something that is so severe that you cannot even leave the house. But IBS if ignored or untreated for many years (very common) can be a precursor to more serious disease, as inflammation, immune and destructive processes have now begun to take hold. Crohns or Ulcerative Colitis are examples of inflammatory bowel diseases as they start  to break down the gut.

When the gut breaks down,  your immune system becomes involved, and remember 80% of the immune system is in the gut separated only by a single layer of cells. There are many modern theories out that autoimmune diseases are thought to start in the gut, and can only be helped when gut dysfunction is addressed and gut health restored

One of the first questions I ask of patients is can you remember having digestive symptoms or problems while growing up, or ever given a diagnosis of IBS by their medical Doctor.

More often than not that’s a yes, and then I ask how was it treated. Their previous Doctors couldn’t find the cause of the illness, as  their blood work always came back normal. So they were told to just get more fiber or take Metamucil, or were prescribed sedatives, anti-spasm drugs, or even anti-depressants! Yes anti-depressants for a digestive problem, as it is a “psychosomatic,” disease — meaning that it’s all in your head!

These medications help in the short term to get rid of a symptom, but all this time the underlying cause is still raging on in the background, sometimes silently, only to present later on in your life as a much more serious problem like Hashimoto’s or depression, autoimmune disorders.

So bottom line do not ignore IBS symptoms!

Here is a testimonial to help you understand.
<<Trish came to me after suffering for 3 years with Crohns an inflammatory bowel disease. She had been to see her top Drs multiple times over the years and told she had IBS and gastritis or inflammation of the gut and possible ulcers. Take some anti-inflammatories and aspirin when the pain gets bad.

She was on disability and about to start a course of Humira to suppress her immune system and bring down her inflammation. As a strong believer in alternative protocols she really was afraid to start down that path, but was given very little choice other than surgery. She had lost about 35lbs and was down to about 88lbs and had to crawl into bed sometimes as the pain was so bad. She never had a history of allergies but ran an extremely stressful life due to over work and lack of sleep. She was taking a ton of supplements and ate a clean diet but still nothing was working.

This was a situation where Trish stress levels were so high that her cortisol or stress hormones were tearing down her gut and inflaming her immune system. This was not really infection induced but chronic inflammation caused by hormonal imbalance and years of antibiotics and pain relievers.
Her protocol was to reduce the stress with a wonderful oil called Stressed Out, take some Miraclays to help heal the ulcers, and calm the immune system with the immune balancer Immune up, and Turmeric oil to calm the inflammation. Within a few weeks she was out of pain and over next 3 months her weight increased to 125lbs which was great for her.>>

the research tells us that these are the two main causes of irritable bowel — food allergies and overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine — but there may be others, including stress, a lack of digestive enzymes, parasites living in the gut, zinc or magnesium, heavy metal toxicity and more.

  1. Food allergies most common food allergens are dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. These cause inflammation and swelling or bloating and can trigger immune reactions.
  2. Infections: the microbial ecosystem in the gut must be healthy for you to be healthy.  When your gut bacteria are out of balance — when you have too many pathogenic bacteria and not enough healthy bacteria — it makes you sick. If the bad bacteria guys take over — or if they move into areas that they shouldn’t (like the small intestine which is normally sterile) — they can start fermenting the food you digest, particularly sugar or starchy foods. How many people feel worse after ingesting carbohydrate meals like breads, rice or pasta? This is called small bowel bacterial overgrowth, and it’s a major cause of IBS. The major symptom it causes is bloating, or a feeling of fullness after meals. What causes this bloating? The overproduction of gas by the bacteria as they have lunch on your lunch.

Guess what these infections do not show up on blood tests and often a breath test called  lactulose breath test,   which measures gas production by the bacteria, or by a urine test called an Organic Acids test that measures the byproducts of the bacteria after they are absorbed into your system.

Sometimes these infections can be serious microbes from food or water contamination like clostridia and E.coli and require more detailed analysis from a stool test in order to find.

Candida is extremely common and is found in patients with a history of recurrent yeast infections, think itchy skin or rectum, white coated tongue and sugar cravings.

How I Helped Renee Heal from IBS

<<At age 46, Renee came to see me with extreme fatigue. Her major symptom was sudden, painful, cramping diarrhea. She was doing the best she could to prevent it. She didn’t consume dairy, didn’t drink or smoke. Yet nothing helped.

She would go to the bathroom 4 to 5 times before she even left the house in the morning. That wasn’t her only problem … She also felt full and bloated after every meal, which starchy foods made worse. “oh I have always had that, since I was a teenager, isn’t that normal?”

She had taken many antibiotics over the years and had many yeast and urinary tract infections. She also had severe premenstrual syndrome (PMS), with irregular periods, breast tenderness, sugar cravings, headaches, and agitation. She also had unusual symptoms like rectal itching (often a clue to yeast infections or food allergies. And she was tired all the time.

I gave Renee, Oregano oil and Lavender for her yeast problem, and had her eliminate the foods to which she was allergic. I believe in treatment that addresses the underlying cause of the problem. Some Miraclays to help repair the gut and absorb toxins, and replace the minerals that she was losing due to her increased bowel movements. Thyme and Rosemary to help balance those hormones. A probiotic and some enzymes to help her digest food more easily.

Renee came back to see me two months later, and she was a different person. Not only did she lose 20 pounds, she was having normal bowel habits for the first time in 33 years! She also had more energy, and her PMS vanished.
She looked and felt 10 years younger and was free of the suffering she had endured for over three decades.”>>

With acid reflux, “heartburn” and bloating quite often the culprit is H. Pylori a bacterial infection which again is often missed on a blood test.

ACID REFLUX Testimonial:
<<Shelley had been taking PPIs for years. PPIs are a class of drugs that block acid in the body. She was extremely worried about the side effects of bone loss and heart disease, but was powerless to stop them as every time she did, the acid would come back with a vengeance. She complained about her bloating and inability to lose weight.

Herein lies the problem with antacids. You need acid in your system in order to break down food, hence the bloating after meals, but also to breakdown pathogens or bad bacteria within the gut, otherwise your gut becomes a toxic wasteland where these bacteria thrive giving you a whole host of problems that come with not producing enough acid!

So basically her solution was rather than blocking acid all together, to help the body break things rather than suppress the process. To this end I gave her some enzymes but also some essential oils that have the power to heal the gut lining and relax the system. Acid relief oil is a combination of Ginger and Turmeric to heal and calm the digestive tract and also has the power to rebalance the gut bacteria. I also gave her a powder containing glutamine to repair, aloe to calm gastritis or inflammation of the stomach, a probiotic to increase good bacteria, and licorice root to help the immune system.
Within days she felt relief and felt comfortable to wean herself off of her medications she no longer required.

  1. Chronic stress: produces a hormone called cortisol that — if high for a long period of time– is extremely catabolic and breaks down protein structures like muscles, tendons and the whole lining of the gut.
  2. Medications:

Over prescribed antibiotics, antacids, aspirin, Advil, steroids are often given out to treat symptoms which again help in the short term but can tear down the gut lining. If that lining breaks down your immune system will be exposed to foreign particles from food and bacteria and other microbes.  This will trigger and activate immune response, allergy, and will irritate your second brain (the enteric nervous system) creating havoc that may lead to depression

  1. Get tested. Try to get a test for IgG food allergies and then eliminate the foods that test positive for 12 weeks. Alternatively try an allergy elimination diet for a few weeks, as testing can be expensive. Just eliminate the most common food allergens for 4 weeks — that’s dairy, gluten, yeast, eggs, corn, soy, and peanuts. And then reintroduce them to see if they cause symptoms. This is an effective way to isolate the foods that may be causing you problems.
  1. Get rid of the unwanted visitors in your small bowel –like parasites.  This is often the best way to deal with the chronic bacterial overgrowth that causes bloating and irritable bowel syndrome. As a Dr who loves essential oils, I find that these are the most gentle yet effective way to get rid of infections as they are extremely antibacterial, anti-viral and anti-parasitic

My Favorite oils for a Healthy Gut are:

  • Digestive:  a blend of Aniseed, Fennel, Peppermint, Tarragon, Basil, Cardamom  Take 4-5 drops internally before or during a meal, or rub your tummy with it afterwards.
  • Immune up:  Thymes, Ravintsara, Black spruce, Rosemary, Niaouli – Take 2-3 drops internally before or during a meal. Thyme Thymol is extremely effective in not only suppressing microbes but also healing the gut.
  • Large intestine: Laurel, Ravintsara, Balsam fir, ArborVitae, Cumin Take 2-3 drops before or after a meal.
  • Stressed out: Lavendin, Rosewood, White spruce, Balsam Fir, Ylang-Ylang, Chamomile Elevated stress and gut dysbiosis are extremely common, and Lavender has been shown to be a very effective anti-anxiety oil and extremely calming.
  • Peppermint helps digestion overall – 2 drops in the mouth or rub your tummy with it
  • Fennel:  4 drops internally or rub your tummy with it. NB: it is not recommended if you have estrogen problems (like cysts, fibroid, endonitriosis). So consider Thyme or Rosemary as a substitute.
  • Ginger: to soothe the digestive tract and help nausea — 2 drops internally
  • Cumin: 1-2 drops internally for bloating and elimination problems.
  • And add Miraclays that cleanses and heals ulcers as in Crohns and ulcrative Colitis. Mix the clay with water, preferably in a jar with a lid where you can shake the clay and make it dissolve. Then drink it right away. Drink 1/2 to 1 teaspoon once per day as many days of the week as you’d like.
  • You can also add Candida to reduce yeast: Balsam fir, Ravintsara, St John’s Worth, Laurel, ArborVitae – rub 2-3 drops on your tummy or inside vagina with a Q-tip
  • OR
  • Parasite Out: Balsam fir,  Eucalyptus,  Cinnamon, Myrtle, Clove, Laurel, Oregano
  1. Repopulate your digestive tract with good bacteria. I don’t usually recommend brands, but when it comes to probiotics the quality varies so much that I suggest taking two specific brands.  or other high potency probiotic twice a day for one to two months. This probiotic has over 450 billion organisms per packet. I also recommend a probiotic called S. boulardii take two capsules twice a day for two months. This is a special probiotic that helps to further normalize gut function
  2. Digestive enzymes with meals to help break down food while your gut heals.  You also may benefit from nutrients that help heal the lining of the gut including fish oil, GLA (from evening primrose oil, zinc, vitamin A, glutamine, collagen and colostrum).
  3. Heal the gut lining:  Miraclays is a clay that I recommend that has tremendous properties including antibacterial, nutrient rich, heals ulcers, absorbs heavy metals. See success stories with Miraclays


So while these natural products and oils carry evidence, backed by science, of benefit to overall gut health and gut healing do use caution if you are in a disease state or approaching disease states as these products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Always seek a Doctor for advice before commencing these natural products.

*If you feel that you have been helped by this article but are still unsure how to proceed and how to get the proper testing please feel free to sign up for a free 15 minute consult on my website or email me at [email protected]


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