A carminative is a substance which relieves flatulence. Carminatives may be taken by people who are suffering from flatulence, or who anticipate that they may experience it as a result of something they will be eating, or of taking certain medications. Many drugstores carry carminatives, and they are also available at health food stores and similar establishments. Additionally, people can prepare their own, and may opt to take the carminative in the form of a tea or tisane.
There are two ways in which a carminative can combat flatulence. Some do so by suppressing the formation of gas in the intestines, which will reduce the amount which needs to be expelled. Others actually promote gas expulsion, with the goal of essentially clearing out the intestines so that someone will stop experiencing flatulence unexpectedly. Much like an expectorant, a carminative which works in this way attempts to help the body eliminate the offending deposits, rather than just suppressing them.
Numerous herbs and spices appear to have anti-gas properties. Peppermint, cinnamon, dill, basil, anise, ginger, fennel, and nutmeg are some examples of well-known herbs and spices with carminative properties. Their essential oils can be used to manage flatulence, or people can consume other preparations made with these ingredients. Anti-gas pills in health food stores often contain a blend of these ingredients. Some also have the effect of settling the stomach, as seen with peppermint, by reducing gas in the stomach.
There are also pharmaceutical preparations which can be used as carminatives. Some are available over the counter, while others must be prescribed as they may require special usage directions. These substances are usually taken orally, with pills being a popular method of drug delivery. Some of these commercial products specifically focus on flatulence caused by particular foods, such as beans, advertising themselves with copy which suggests that after taking the medication, people can consume a good without worry.
Chronic flatulence can be the sign of a medical problem which needs to be treated. If someone finds that they are experiencing much more flatulence than normal and it cannot be clearly linked to an activity, it may be a good idea to consult a doctor. The doctor can perform an evaluation to learn more about the causes of the flatulence, and may identify a medical problem which needs treatment. The treatment for the problem should resolve the flatulence, and make the patient more comfortable.