by Sinead Fine (MAHA)

Most gas made in the body is reabsorbed through the intestinal walls. Excess gas is often caused by stress, lack of hydrochloric acid and pancreatic enzymes and eating gassy foods. Gassy foods include amongst others, broccoli, brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, onions, garlic, beans and dairy products (especially cheese).

Avoid carbonated drinks which includes the alcoholic type also.

When cooking pulses discard the soaking water before adding fresh water to cook. Also adding cumin seeds to the cooking water reduces flatulence. Herbs that reduce flatulence are cumin seeds, anise, fennel, caraway and cardamom. Chew the seeds after eating or take them in the form of tea between meals. Drink mint or peppermint tea for flatulence or cramps or take the peppermint capsules. Take activated charcoal to absorb excess gases. Slippery Elm is soothing and lines the digestive tract and thus helps many conditions.

Valerian tincture can also help when insomnia or stress causes IBS though it is advised not to take long term. Camomile is soothing and anti-inflammatory and can be taken as a tea, compress or in the form of a massage oil. Ginger can help with cramps and digestion and chewing crystallised ginger before and after a meal can help greatly.

One way to test if you need hydrochloric acid is to take a tbsp. of cider vinegar and a tsp. of honey with hot water half an hour before meals. If it helps your symptoms then you know you lack hydrochloric acid and cider vinegar is a preferred medium to take, as it is a natural cleanser as well. Hydrochloric acid and digestive enzymes in the form of a supplement can be taken before meals if one feels they are lacking - however be careful with hydrochloric acid as it can aggravate ulcers.

The homeopathic medicine Mag Phos is excellent for cramps from flatulence when one has to bend over with the pain and application of heat to the area in the form of showers or hot water bottles alleviates.

The mineral Magnesium can help stomach muscle cramps and stress - ask your natural therapist or local health food store for more information.

Avoid very strong spices such as chili when cooking but use plenty of cumin, ginger and coriander.

Homeopathy can be effective in the treatment of Flatulence and Bloating.  Please contact your local Homeopath for constitutional treatment.