Although passing gas can be distressing social embarrassment, it is not a symptom of a serious disease. Often, something as simple as swallowing too much air can be the root of intestinal gas. (Interestingly, excessive air intake also causes belching). However too heavy a meal, lactose intolerance and irritable bowel syndrome can also be linked to flatulence. In the large intestine, incompletely digested carbohydrates are fermented by intestinal bacteria. The fermentation releases the offending gases, including nitrogen and hydrogen sulfide, which are usually responsible for the unpleasant odor. If gases cannot escape naturally, because of a temporary blockage, for example, an uncomfortable feeling of fullness and pressure can develop, often accompanied by painful intestinal spasms. Over the counter remedies are not useful, as most of these simply make large gas bubbles smaller. But there are numerous behavioral, dietary and naturopathic routes to eliminating or controlling flatulence.
In the kitchen
Use marjoram, caraway, fennel, coriander, aniseed, rosemary and ginger in your cooking. These promote digestion, relax intestinal muscles and inhibit flatulence. Cabbage and onion, which cause gas, are traditionally flavored with caraway to counteract that effect. Dried beans also often cause gas. To remove their gas-causing carbohydrates, throw out the water that you soaked them in and use fresh water when you boil them.
What can you do?
Take your time at meals, and chew each bite carefully. Whenever you eat fast, you tend to swallow air and so risk becoming flatulent. You can also swallow too much air if you do a great deal of talking while you eat, so try to relax and make it a habit to listen more. Of course, note which foods you react to with flatulence and try to avoid these. Eat in moderation and be mindful of your food choices. In addition, you can also try medicinal teas, warm compresses and natural medicines to help you effectively prevent or control flatulence.
Gentle stomach massage eases intestine
Lie on your back and with a flat palm stroke your stomach slowly in clockwise motion. This follows the course of the intestines and stimulates intestinal movement, so gas bubbles loosen up. Even more effective is a :wind salve" ; Place 2 drops each of anise, fennel, clove and caraway essential oil in ½ tsp. of olive oil. Massage into the abdomen and cover with a hot water bottle or warm compress.
Warmth loosens up flatulence
Hot, damp compresses with vinegar diluted in water alleviate gas pains and relax the cramped muscles of the intestines. A hot water bottle on the abdomen also relieves acute flatulence.
Movement calms the intestine
Taking a walk can clear up painful gas. Wear clothes that don't constrain your abdomen; tight clothes just make matters worse. Another simple, effective exercise; lie on you back and bicycle your legs in the air.
Extra tip: Juniper is known to settle digestive upset and relieve colic. For an easy remedy, thoroughly chew a few juniper berries after meals, their essential oil can help mitigate annoying, foul smelling intestinal flatus that sometimes escapes uncontrollably.
For acute symptoms
Antispasmodic plants-angelica root, chamomile, coriander, caraway, sage and peppermint, help force the air out of the intestine. Try this tea mixture:
1 scant oz. crushed fennel seeds
1 scant oz. crushed caraway seeds
1 scant oz. chamomile
1 scant oz. peppermint leaves
Brew 1 heaping tsp. of the mixture with 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 min.; strain. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily after meals.
1 ½ oz. chamomile blossoms
1 ½ oz. yarrow
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 tsp. of the mixture. Steep 5 min.; strain. Drink 1 cup 3 times daily.
Aniseed milk tastes good and loosens up flatulence. Bring slowly to a boil 1 tbsp. of crushed aniseed with 1 cup milk. Strain off seed; drink while hot.
To combat unhealthy intestinal bacteria, take ¼ tsp. of acidophilus powder in water twice a day.
When digestive enzymes are lacking, food is poorly digested and forms gases. Drink papaya juice or take enzyme supplements with meals.
Take 7 globules 3 times daily:
- Carbo vegetabilis 6C, 30c for painful abdominal distension and weakness
- Chamomile 6C, 30C for colic and for children with loose stools