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Gas (Flatulence)

"Passing gas" is certainly an embarassing situation as it is considered bad manners. An average person belches once or twice a day, especially after meals. In some societies, belching after a meal is taken by the host as a compliment. In infants, it is called burping.

On an average, an Indian passes flatus 2 to 4 times a day, and this gas is usually not foul smelling. Some people, when in company, avoid passing flatus, with the result that they suffer from abdominal discomfort. Ayurveda prohibits the suppression of this natural gas expulsion.

Technically, though, there is a slight difference between the gas coming out from both these orifices (i.e., mouth and rectum). In a belch after a meal, we expel air swallowed while eating. If a sour after-taste in the mouth follows a belch, it is a symptom of indigestion and it also means we are expelling gases formed in the stomach.

Only on the other hand, gas is always formed internally as a result of incomplete digestion. Food must be broken down into simple sugars and amino acids in order to be efficiently absorbed by the body. Complex sugars found in certain foods, however, resist this break-down process, perhaps because the enzyme that does this work is either weak or the person does not produce this enzyme. These complex sugars pass intact through the stomach and small intestine and enter the large intestine where they settle and begin to ferment. This fermentation produces carbon dioxide commonly known as GAS.


One of the most common causes of passing excessive gas per rectum is incomplete evacuation of stools, Often this gas is foul smelling. Some­times 'amoebiasis' may also cause the gas, and drugs like antibiotics also contribute to gas by changing the normal intestinal bacterial?

Strong, high-fibre food, such as cabbage, whole wheat bread and beans which play beneficial role in preventing cancer, are often cited as CULPRITS in producing gas. It looks like the choice is between gas and cancer.

Gaseous distension can also be caused by lactose intolerance. People who lack the enzyme called lactase, which breaks down the complex milk sugar lactose, often find themselves passing large amounts of gas after drinking milk. Among others, greasy fried food, and pulses 'also cause gas.

Herbal Medicines

  1. Cardamom (Elaichi) is a highly useful home remedy. 5 gm of its powder can be taken with water. Take 5 gm each of fried asafoetida commonly known as hing (by frying in ghee, hing becomes pure), black salt (commonly known as Kalanamak) cardamom (Elaichi) and dry ginger known as sonth. Make fine powder, mix well and store in a clean bottle. ½ teaspoon of this powder can be given along with some lukewarm water 2 to 3 times a day which instantly gives relief from gas.
  2. Similarly a mixture of 2 gm of ajmoda (celery seeds) and 1 gram saunph (anisi seeds) and sugar (as required) is given in doses of ½ to 1 teaspoon with lukewarm water. This also gives prompt relief from gas problems.
  3. Take 1 part of hing, 2 parts of vacha, 3 parts of black salt, 4 parts of sonth, 5 parts of jeera, 6 parts of harar, 7 parts of pohkar mul and 8 parts of kuth and prepare a chooma. Take about 3 to 5 gm of this chooma twice or thrice daily with warm water for immediate relief from gas.

Ayurvedic Remedies

  1. Hingvastaka Choorna - can be taken in a dose of one teaspoonful twice a day with hot water.
  2. Hingutriguna Taila - if given on empty stomach relieves constipation. The dose is 2 teaspoons once a day on empty stomach with a cup of hot water. This sets-in bowel movement.
  3. Kumari Asava - an oral liquid, 20 ml with equal quantity of lukewarm water twice a day is also a good choice in gas problem.
  4. Gasex tablets (Himalaya Drugs) in the dose of 1 to 2 tablets thrice daily with water is a good choice.
  5. Ojus tablets (Charak) before or after meals taken 2 to 3 times a day give good results.
  6. Ark pudina (Liquid) or Ark Pudina pearls (Baidyanath) if taken give results within minutes.
  7. Gasantak Vati (Baidyanath) in the dose of 1 tablet thrice daily taken with warm water is a good remedy for gas.
  8. Raj Vati, Lasunadi Vati (Baidyanath) is also good for gas.

All these measures, if taken properly relieve the problem of excessive passing of gas.

Do's & Don'ts
  1. Avoid heavy smoking and pan eating/chewing.
  2. Cut down drastically on your daily number of cold drinks and cups of tea.
  3. Cut off intake of milk and sweets, if these increase gas.
  4. Eat less than appetite demands.
  5. Eat slowly, fully concentrating on the food, do not indulge in thinking while eating - this prevents swallowing of air.
  6. Avoid unions, tomatoes, potatoes, peas, beans, dals and sweets in excess.
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