The gut has a profound impact on human health and wellness and has been increasingly studied as researchers seek out how to best promote gastrointestinal health. Though much research has addressed the topic, the subject of bowel regularity still poses many unknowns. For many people around the world, achieving bowel regularity is a significant challenge and can have serious impacts on subjective quality of life.
It is widely accepted that a diet rich in healthy, whole foods and good sources of dietary fiber combined with adequate hydration and regular exercise can help promote bowel health. However, some people find themselves needing additional help. A group of Italian and Belgian researchers studied 211 individuals who sought for improved bowel regularity. They tested the efficacy of a commercial preparation of curcumin extract and fennel essential oil. All study participants took two capsules containing 42 mg of curcumin and 25 mg fennel essential oil twice daily with meals for 30 days. After 30 days, the participants took two capsules once daily with a meal. Surveys were administered before and after taking the experiment and contained questions regarding bowel regularity and quality of life.
At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that there was significant improvement in bowel regularity and quality of life in the study participants as a whole. Numerous explanations for the observed improvements were proposed, including potential modulation of smooth muscle function in the bowel wall. These mechanisms could not, however, be fully elucidated without further investigation.
This study is remarkable for the number of participants it enrolled and the improvement seen after intervention with curcumin and fennel essential oil capsules. However, it is important to note that it was not a placebo-controlled study. It is therefore difficult to quantify how much benefit was attributed to the use of curcumin and fennel essential oils. Nonetheless, these results are encouraging that there could be a real benefit to using essential oils to improve bowel regularity. Add a drop of Fennel essential oil or DigestZen® to a glass of water to experience the benefits of these oils firsthand.
doTERRA Science blog articles are based on a variety of scientific sources. Many of the referenced studies are preliminary, experimental studies and further research is needed to gain a greater understanding of the findings. Essential oils may have drug interactions, patient contraindications, or adverse effects that cannot be evaluated using experimental research results alone. If you are interested in using essential oils for any health concern, consult with your healthcare provider first.