Carminatives in Ayurveda
are herbs that aid in the dispelling and reduction of intestinal gas. They also typically enhance digestion, absorption, and the assimilation of nutrients. As such, carminatives are very important for pacifying disturbances of apana and samana vayu in the mahavaha srotas (small and large intenstines). All carminatives prevent the formation of ama (internal toxins from poor digestion) and some help eliminate or burn up the ama. In Sanskrit, these actions are called dipana (agni enhancers) and pachana (ama digesting).
Carminatives may be warming or cooling. The warmer carminatives generally aggravate pitta and are best for vata and kapha. They include ajwan, basil, cinnamon, nutmeg, and garlic. Warm carminatives generally have a strengthening effect on samana vayu and thus increase agni.
Cooling carminatives are best for pacifying pitta dosha and stabilize samana vayu . They support agni without aggravating pitta. Cool carminatives include coriander, peppermint, chamomile, fennel and lime.
In summary: Use carminatives if you have gas. Choose the one that is best for your dosha. Vata vitiation causes the most gas but it does not smell much. Pitta vitiation causes less gas but it smells a lot. Kapha vitiation can also cause gas but it is strong and not as abundant as it is when vata is vitiated. It’s also sometimes said that the smell is pleasant.