Essential Oils for Hiccups- Natural Fast Relief
If you get the hiccups a lot, or if your hiccups tend to stick around for a long time, you know how wonderful it is to find a remedy that not only alleviates this annoying problem but is also natural with no harmful side effects. Did you know you can use essential oils to cure your hiccups? It is true! Let us tell you how.
What Causes Hiccups?
Hiccups are the result of the sudden contraction of your diaphragm muscle, which controls your ability to inhale air. A reflex in the diaphragm results in an involuntary contraction, which forces air abruptly into your lungs, where it is stopped suddenly by your vocal cords. That quick closure, the snapping of your cords shut, is what makes the telltale “hic” sound.
When the vagus and phrenic nerves, which run from your neck to your chest, become irritated, they can signal the hiccup reflex. There are several common factors known to cause this irritation as well as certain medical conditions. The most common causes of hiccups are eating too quickly, chewing gum, swallowing air, overeating or drinking too much, and smoking.
Medical conditions that are known to cause frequent or prolonged hiccuping include a brain tumor and stroke. In infants, hiccups are common and often the result of crying, coughing, or gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD. Some medications can irritate those nerves and cause hiccups, too. Any sudden intake of air or disruption to the ability to inhale or breathe can also trigger hiccups.
In most people, hiccups are short-lived and disappear on their own once the nerve irritation subsides. In a smaller percentage of cases, hiccups can last for more than a few days, making it difficult to eat, sleep, or enjoy life. If you have frequent, persistent hiccups, you may have a metabolic, central nervous system, psychogenic, or gastrointestinal disorder. Talk with your doctor.
Essential Oils for the Treatment of Hiccups
Peppermint Essential Oil
One of the best natural treatments for hiccups involves the use of peppermint essential oil. The compounds in peppermint are excellent for relaxing the abdominal muscles, enhancing digestion, and relieving gas, all of which can soothe the irritation that causes hiccups. Peppermint oil relaxes the lower sphincter muscle in your esophagus, which encourages the release of trapped gas that triggers the involuntary spasms of hiccups.
To use this treatment, place one drop of peppermint essential oil on the roof of your mouth. Because peppermint is a potent oil, this can irritate your soft palette, so you may want to dilute it with grapeseed, olive, or coconut oil before placing it in your mouth. Dilution will be especially important if you are using peppermint essential oil to help relieve hiccups in younger children.
Try the oil diluted the first time you use it, just to be safe. Start with a ratio on four parts carrier to one part peppermint oil in the beginning.
How to Use Peppermint Oil
Dab the oil into your finger, then place your finger against the roof of your mouth. Hold it there for at least ten seconds. Close your mouth, and your hiccups should subside very quickly.
If your hiccuping occurs after indigestion, you can use other essential oils to calm your stomach and aid digestion. Excellent digestives include ginger and fennel essential oils, which help calm stomach spasms and relieve nausea and gas. Lemon essential oil is excellent for restoring the acid balance to your digestive tract.
While food grade essential oils have been deemed safe by the FDA for consumption, therapeutic grade oils are of higher quality and purity, in most cases. Always purchase your essential oils from a reputable manufacturer with high purity and safety standards.