How Do Essential Oils Affect the Gut Microbiome? Let’s See What the Research Says

Those of us who learn the importance of gut health and how our gut health affects all areas of our health place a high priority on preserving our gut health! That’s when when I first looked into essential oils, I wanted to know, with proven research, how they affect our gut microbiome. And not just our gut microbiome because our entire body has more bacteria than cells. Even using things topically can alter our body’s microflora. 

So I spent hours and hours digging into the research. And I am happy to report that there is a wealth of research demonstrating that pure, unadulterated essential oils positively impact the body’s beneficial microbes! Let me share some of that research with you:

What the Research Shows

In vivo research on rabbits with thyme oil shows an increase in good bacteria and and improvement in intestinal integrity. “A tendency was also found for thyme oil to stimulate the abundance of some microbes beneficial in the rabbit gut.” The thyme oil also showed antioxidant support.1


A variety of essential oils were researched for their effect on gut bacteria in vitro. The research concluded: “the in vitro results of this study suggest that their ingestion will have little detrimental impact on beneficial members of the GIT microflora.” (Interestingly, lavender was among the best for supporting a healthy gut.)2


Many essential oils were tested on the pig digestive system and no significant inhibition was observed towards lactobacilli and bifido strains (the good guys). 3


What About Their Effect on the Gastric Mucosa?

In vivo research on ocotea essential oil shows no damage to the gastric mucosa.4

Copaiba shown to have a protective effect on the gastrointestinal system.5


There’s just some of the research I’ve found on this topic. Those of you who have been following me for a few years know that I research the heck out of anything before recommending something and I also put a high priority on gut health. Consequently, I would never recommend anything that is not most definitely beneficial.

For my research onto the topic of ingesting essential oils, click here.

For research on how essential oils affect the liver, read my post here.

Please keep in mind that when research is done, the essential oils used are thoroughly tested to ensure they are pure. Unfortunately, the majority of essential oils on the market today are not pure or therapeutic (regardless of the claims on the bottle). This is something I spent two years researching. You can click here to read about some of that research and what I found.

This is VERY important information to know before using essential oils in any manner, especially because the adulterants and extenders used in many essential oils CAN and DO harm beneficial microflora!

So there we have the proven truth on the matter! Please feel free to share and help dispel the myth that pure essential oils are detrimental to gut flora!


Blessings of good health,

~Sara Jo Poff

Holistic Health Practitioner

Healthy Families for God

Using the Scents God Gave You



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