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A carminative, also known as carminativum (plural carminativa), is an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, thereby combatting flatulence.


Carminatives are often mixtures of essential oils and herbal spices with a tradition in folk medicine for this use. Some examples for oils and spices with carminative action are:[citation needed]

Modern drugs used for the same purpose include simethicone, which, rather than having physiological activity, simply lowers the surface tension of gas bubbles. See anti-foaming agent.

Literary references[edit]

  • The English author Aldous Huxley includes a long passage (chapter 20) about the word "carminative" in his novel Crome Yellow. The character Denis describes how he had loved the word since childhood, and had built up rich, elaborate associations with it until, with disappointment, he had discovered its true meaning.
  • The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, has stated that "Carminative" is his favorite word.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d e Harries, Nicola; James, K. C.; Pugh, W. K. (1 July 1977). "ANTIFOAMING AND CARMINATIVE ACTIONS OF VOLATILE OILS". Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics 2 (3): 171–177. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2710.1977.tb00087.x. 
  2. ^ Rosanna Greenstreet. "Q&A: Boris Johnson, Conservative candidate for the London mayoral election". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-04-03. 

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