By Karen Wang, author of Happy Foods - 100 Mood-Boosting Recipes
Carminatives are primarily herbs that are rich in volatile oils, although other categories such as bitters and antispasmodics also have carminative powers. They promote intestinal comfort and regulate peristalsis. They soothe gut contractions and motility, reducing pain and helping in the removal of gas from the digestive tract. ~ David Crow, L.Ac.
This simple yet powerfully soothing tea is made from three ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now. Drink this after a meal, or whenever you experience mild stomach discomfort.
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 – 3 slices fresh ginger
8 oz. filtered water
- Place the seeds and ginger in a teapot.
- Bring the water to a boil, then allow it to cool for a few minutes.
- Then pour over the ingredients. (Pouring scolding hot water over the ingredients may damage the volatile oils which contain beneficial compounds.)
- Steep for 10 – 12 minutes.
- Strain, and sip slowly while the tea is still warm.
Note: You can also crush the seeds lightly in a mortar and pestle before brewing.
The health benefits of caraway seeds have been known since antiquity. It is one of the oldest herbs and medicinal plants still used in Europe, and it also has a long tradition of culinary and medicinal uses in Asia.
Caraway seeds are actually not seeds. They are “achenes,” which are fruits that contain only one seed. So technically, the “seeds” are very tiny dried fruits that contain a true seed inside.
The fruit (and leaves) of the caraway plant are very similar to other plants in the celery family, which is why caraway is sometimes confused with fennel or cumin.
Caraway has a long tradition as the best herbal remedy for stomach bloating and intestinal cramps. It calms an irritated or nervous stomach, promotes digestion, and prevents bloating and flatulence.
Fennel seeds are harvested from the fennel plant's flowers and then dried. They tend to be pale green to tan in color with an oval shape. Like the fennel bulb, they have a sweet, licorice-like flavor with a sweet and earthy overtone.
They may play a role in lowering blood pressure, improving heart health, and promoting good digestion and weight loss.
Ginger, a beautiful flowering plant, is grown for the hot, pungent flavor of the rhizome, which can be used fresh, dried, ground, or preserved.
Amongst its many health benefits is the ability to aid in digestion, reduce systems of nausea, and improve blood circulation.