So this is an embarrassing topic, no?
The thing is, it happens to everyone at some point, and while no one wants to loudly discuss their abdominal pain with everyone, suffering silently isn't the answer, either. Over-the-counter antacids are relatively affordable and effective, but a number of alternatives may already be present in your kitchen, saving a trip to the drugstore in the process.
For those who have been experiencing gastric distress lately, take heart: You are far from alone. The average healthy person produces somewhere between one to four pints of gas every day. Yikes! Gas is mostly caused by either natural digestive action (more specifically, bacterial action in the large intestine), or the swallowing of air while eating and drinking. If these are the causes of your gas pain (rather than a diagnosed condition such as irritable bowel syndrome) the cure is likely already sitting in the fridge or cupboard, just waiting to be turned into a medicinal tea!
This pungent rhizome with the golden-colored skin is very easy to find in the produce section. The good news is it's really cheap and not much is needed. Well known for its ability to cure nausea and upset stomach, ginger root is equally effective at eliminating gas pains. Just an inch of ginger root is needed and should cost under $1. After removing the skin from the root with a vegetable peeler, grate the root with a cheese grater, place the shredded ginger in a mug, and add two cups of boiling water and lemon for natural gas relief. Optional: Sweeten this tea with honey to make it more palatable. For those not familiar with ginger root, bear in mind that it has some real "bite" and heat to it! For those who prefer more mellow flavors, this may not be the best remedy.
Fennel, caraway and anise
Chances are, one or more of these spices are already in the kitchen. The essential oils present in fennel, caraway, and anise seeds prevent and eliminate trapped intestinal gas by having an antispasmodic effect on the intestinal smooth muscle. Star anise also possess this useful essential oil, and can be ground in a spice grinder for use in tea. It's best to get these spices in their seed form, rather than in powder form, as pre-ground spices have often lost their essential oils long ago. Grind any of these four spices in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder and add to a hot cup of tea for homeopathic relief.
Chamomile and peppermint
Chamomile promotes the secretion of gastric juices, which in turn help alleviate gas pain by coating and soothing the mucous membrane of the digestive tract. With peppermint, the soothing, antispasmodic effect comes courtesy of the menthol oil which is naturally present in the herb.
In terms of convenience and affordability, the best bet is to purchase chamomile and peppermint in tea form (find it in the coffee and tea aisle). A box of 16 to 20 chamomile or peppermint tea bags is $3 to $8, making it an inexpensive standby for those unexpected and unpleasant moments. Keep it handy!
This is a guest post by L.K. from Albany, NY
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