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Carrot Family Carminatives.

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Here come the YACFCs!

The seeds of a lot of carrot family (umbellifer) (Umbelliferae (or Apiaceae)) plants are carminative.

What's carminative, you ask? Petersen defines it as "Carminatives: Medicines that expel flatus from the gastro-intestinal tract and thus relieve pain produced by pressure." Felter says: "Carminative. An agent that prevents or relieves flatulence and thereby allays pain."

And that's what the aromatic seeds of nontoxic umbellifers are good at. Got that strange green feeling from eating too much almost rancid fat? Chew on a few caraway seeds. Got gut cramps from eating too much cabbage? Try eating a few fennel seeds. Got an indefinable ache in the middle regions? Chomp down on a few angelica seeds.

And so on and so forth. The ones that work are the seeds of caraway, cumin, black cumin, and ajwain, there's fennel, aniseed, coriander, the angelicas (they taste disgusting), dill, celery, lovage ... pretty much any umbellifer, if it's nontoxic and aromatic, will work. Even the seeds of sweet cicely work, as long as they're aromatic - that is, as long as they aren't ripe.

Jim will probably mention carrot seeds as well, but I haven't tried them.

These seeds, if chewed open, work extremely fast, and they're very effective for that kind of digestive upset.

There are toxics in the umbellifers. That means that you have to know the precise species you're chewing the seeds of - both water hemlock (Cicuta) and poison hemlock (Conium) are deadly in rather small amounts.

Related entries: YARFAs - YAMFAIs - YAMFDs - Quick fix: gut cramps - Oils and resins


yup, queen anne's lace (carrot) seeds work great. A squirt of tincture almost immediately does the trick, as will just chewing the (kinda bristly) seeds. And, the seeds can even be pulled out of QAL skeletons midwinter, usually...

Great blog, enjoying it much.
If I am not mistaken, one must avoid seeds of wild carrot when pregnant.

Thanks Karen.
Jim says "definitely maybe" on the carrot seed and pregnancy; I haven't used it myself, so don't know.

>If I am not mistaken, one must avoid seeds of wild carrot when pregnant.

hmm. Probably; I'd guess this would be based upon the idea of using QAL as a means of birth control; i.e. implantation preventer, and making the assumption that since it's used to prevent pregnancy, it shouldn't be used during pregnancy.

But, in practice, I'm not sure. I don't think of QAL as an emmenogogue, and though the few sources listed in print will often ascribe its activity to "irritating" or "sloughing off" the lining of the uterus, I'm hesitant to believe that's really what's occuring either. There's certainly no indications by anyone I've talked to (or my wife) whose ever used it to support "sloughing off"; no increased discharge or anything, and no symptoms to "irritation" either. Robin Rose Bennet said she hadn't ever seen indication of this either, and I know she's used and taught about this use for a couple decades. You'd think (or at least I would) that there would be some indication supporting this idea of irritation/sloughing. Robin supposes some hormonal action, and this may be the case; as Phyllis Light uses them (well, she uses the flowers, and boils the tar out of them, like she does everything) to address pituitary/thyroid imbalances, and I know Robin has talked to her about their use as birth control.

~I~ don't know how they work, but as I'm married and if they didn't work, I'd be quite happy (if perhaps a little harried) with another child, it puts me and my wife in a pretty good situation to try them out and see what experience yields in terms of insight.

So, I suppose for prudences sake, I wouldn't recommend their use during pregnancy. But if someone told me they ~had~ used them while pregnant, I don't think I'd be real worried that a miscarriage was imminent, at least not any more than I'd freak out about chamomile or catnip. But herbs and pregnancy is always a matter of prudence, no? And as I'm not ~sure~, I'd opt for that.

To boot, I use QAL seeds for urinary stuff most often; more or less the same indications as you'd have for Goldenrod (real nice, combined). Though a squirt or two of tincture will usually quickly dispel gas and indigestion, I'm more inclined to use fennel. I just "proved" the QAL to make sure it worked before I wrote in handouts that it could be used that way.

Many thanks for that, Jim.