Herbal remedies for gastrointestinal complaints: Part 2 Herbal remedies for flatulence
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In the second article in our series, we present plants that can relieve flatulence. Flatulence is usually shown by a bloated stomach and an uncomfortable feeling of fullness. It can have a wide variety of causes. There are many foods that cause bloating, such as certain types of cheese, fatty meat or cabbage. Flatulence can often be traced back to a food intolerance, (e.g. lactose or fructose), in this case certain foods should be avoided altogether. The psyche can also be responsible for the bloated stomach, because stress has physical effects for many people.
When eating, be sure to take small bites and chew thoroughly. When drinking, you should take small sips. If you are otherwise on a low-fibre diet and want to increase the volume of fibre, it is advisable to do so slowly, otherwise indigestion may occur.
Home remedies for flatulence
If flatulence occurs only briefly or rarely, simple home remedies can help with the symptoms. Tea is a gentle way to get rid of gas. We recommend special tea blends from the pharmacy for gastrointestinal complaints. These teas usually contain fennel, caraway or peppermint. But also sage and aniseed tea are useful helpers in flatulence. Also, there are certain types of motion exercises you can try to relieve gas. You can find one here. Heat can also help with bloating. Simply place a hot water bottle, or a cherry pit pillow, on your stomach to relax your bowels.
Herbal medicines for flatulence
If home remedies do not relieve the symptoms, you can try herbal medicines. The best-known herbal medicine in this area is probably Iberogast® (in Europe). However, the Bayer company came under criticism in 2018 because of the side effects of the drug. There are, of course, many other herbal medicines. We would like to introduce you to some medicinal plants that are usually included in these preparations.
Bitter Candytuft (Iberis amara)
The bitter candytuft grows mainly in central and southern Europe. Since it is threatened with extinction in Germany, the plant must not be picked. The bitter candytuft also goes by the name of farmer’s mustard in Germany, which is due to the rich mustard oil compounds in the plant, which give it a pungent taste. The bitter candytuft helps with flatulence and a feeling of fullness.
Chamomile is a real treasure among medicinal plants. It contains many essential oils and flavone derivatives, which means that real chamomile can provide relief for a wide variety of ailments. It inhibits the effects of inflammatory substances, the growth of bacteria and relaxes cramps in gastrointestinal complaints.
Lemon balm is popularly known as beeweed because it attracts bees. So if you want to do something good for the bees, you can plant lemon balm in your own garden or on the balcony. Lemon balm contains many essential oils, especially citral, geranial, neral and citronellal, which are responsible for the citrusy scent. It also contains the tannins rosmarinic acid and caffeic acid. Lemon balm extracts are particularly helpful for restless stomach problems.
Medicines with lemon balm are also often prescribed for inner restlessness and problems falling asleep. For this purpose, the extracts of lemon balm are combined with other medicinal plants.
Angelica root is particularly good for flatulence and a feeling of fullness. The plant contains a whole range of active ingredients, most of which are contained in the essential oils. Angelica root stimulates the production of stomach acid and the release of enzymes in the pancreas. In addition, extracts from the plant have an antispasmodic effect. Do not pick angelica root yourself, as it can easily be confused with other plants.
Not only is liquorice made from this sweet plant, it can also help with various ailments. The liquorice root contains hundreds of active ingredients, some of which have anti-inflammatory effects, others reduce the formation of stomach acid. It soothes the stomach. In laboratory tests, the extracts from the liquorice root were even effective against the stomach germ Helicobacter pylori. However, long-term use of sweethol root preparations can have side effects and interactions.
The bitter orange is more of a niche plant and is still often found in tinctures for stomach problems. It stimulates appetite and gastric juice production. It can also be used for digestive problems such as flatulence
The gentian flowers not only blue but also yellow. In addition to many bitter substances, the root of the yellow gentian also contains xanthones, (yellow pigments), and many carbohydrates. The bitter substances in the plant stimulate the flow of saliva and the formation of gastric juice. This leads to the release of the digestive hormone gastrin. This stimulates digestion, which makes the yellow gentian a practical helper for flatulence and a feeling of fullness.
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