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How Herbs Can Help
A number of herbs have carminative properties. Rich in volatile oils, they are aromatic and often enjoyable when made into an herbal infusion. They can bring relief from gas pains because they stimulate normal functioning of the gastrointestinal tract while also relaxing the stomach. They are most effective when taken as a preventative measure, such as a cup of herbal tea a half hour before eating or even after a heavy meal, but they are also helpful for easing the pain and discomfort after gas has become a problem.
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Aniseed is often used to flavor candies and desserts as it has a sweet, licorice-like flavor. This herb is rich in volatile oils, including anethole, which reduce flatulence and intestinal colic. To make an herbal infusion, use one teaspoonful of the seeds. Right before making the tea, gently crush the seeds to help release the volatile oils. Steep in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes, covered. For best results, drink a cup slowly before eating.
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Fennel Seed Tea
Fennel is also very helpful for easing stomach pains and gas. It acts to stimulate digestion and supports the liver, kidneys and spleen. The seeds contain up to 6 percent volatile oils, including anethole and fenchone. Fennel blends very well with aniseed for gas relief. To make a cup of tea, steep one to two teaspoons of the crushed seeds in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Cover while steeping. As with the aniseed, drink before meals if possible.
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Another excellent carminative herb is peppermint. This herb relaxes digestive muscles and stimulates the secretion of digestive juices. It acts against flatulence, calming the gastrointestinal tract as well as the nerves. Steep one teaspoonful of the dried leaves in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes, covering during infusion. Drink a cup of peppermint tea at any time to help ease gas. Peppermint tea makes a wonderful after dinner tea.
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Ginger tea is wonderful for digestion, easing gas and colic. As a carminative, it stimulates the secretion of gastric fluids. Ginger is also an excellent stimulant for the circulatory system and has an overall warming, soothing effect. To make a cup of ginger tea, steep one teaspoonful of the diced fresh root in one cup of boiling water for five minutes. Drink whenever it is needed.
Finding relief from gas pains is important as intense gas can be very uncomfortable. While herbal teas can help, it is also important to address the cause of the flatulence. Consider eating lighter meals and avoiding foods that cause an upset stomach. Before using herbs, be sure to talk to yoru doctor if you have a medical condition or are taking any medication.
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Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
photo by Kevin Dooley/flickr
photo by Elenadan/flickr
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