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A carminative, known in Latin as carminativum (plural carminativa), is a herb or preparation intended to either prevent formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitate the expulsion of gas from the gastrointestinal tract, thereby combatting flatulence.


The word carminative is a derivative of Latin cārmen "card for wool", according to Hensley Wedgewood, on the humoral theory that carminatives "dilute and relax the gross humours from whence the wind arises, combing them out like the knots in wool".[1]


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 simply lowers the surface tension of gas bubbles rather than having physiological effects.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Hensleigh Wedgwood, A Dictionary of English Etymology, s.v.
  2. ^ a b c d Pitasawat, B; Choochote, W; Kanjanapothi, D; Panthong, A; Jitpakdi, A; Chaithong, U (Sep 1998). "Screening for larvicidal activity of ten carminative plants". The Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health. 29 (3): 660–2. PMID 10437975.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ W.N. Ewing; Lucy Tucker (2008). The Living Gut. Nottingham University Press. ISBN 9781904761570.

External links[edit]

The dictionary definition of carminative at Wiktionary