Breathing is a vital process for all living beings, and for humans in particular.
As a person breathes, a whole set of physical and biochemical reactions take place in the human body through gaseous exchanges that are essential for life.
Swallowing 2 to 4 quarts (liters) of air a day to the stomach is thus perfectly normal.
However, when too much air is swallowed while eating, penetrating through the esophagus and stomach, it turns into a hassle.
The patient then suffers of aerophagia or bloating, which induces the need to eructate and causes abdominal tension.
Such discomfort experienced by the patient is a physiological phenomenon that becomes quite disturbing when it reaches certain levels.
What can be done? Can plants with their benefits help do away with aerophagia? Let’s have a look around…
Definition of aerophagia
The root word “aerophagia”, when broken down, comes from Ancient Greek “aeros” which means “air” and “phagia” or “fagos” which means “glutton”.
Aerophagia is defined as an excessive swallowing of air in the digestive tract, leading to abnormal swelling of the esophagus and stomach. This swallowing happens as the patient speaks, swallows saliva, drinks or eats.
Indeed, although this physiological phenomenon is among the more benign functional disorders, it does induce a sensation of heaviness, bloating, upset stomach, frequent eructation or burping, especially after meals.
Apart from these symptoms, can also be noted: gurgling in the digestive tract, abdominal cramps and nausea, often paired with heart palpitations and vertigo.
Causes of aerophagia
Also called aerogastria or meteorism, this uncomfortable physiological situation is caused by excessive air volume in the stomach, and results from one or more factors, or a combination of several.
Health professionals know that the following can influence the symptom, aside from other specific diseases:
– Rapid swallowing: some patients are used to eating much too fast. This bad eating habit is usually caused by stress and anxiety: the patient eats too fast, and generally swallows too much air while wolfing down the food.
– Hypersalivation, especially when caused by a misaligned or badly fitting dental prosthesis.
– Overconsumption of carbonated bubble drinks, specifically sodas.
– Very large meals that tend to contain high levels of fats and sugars.
– Intensive masticating of chewing-gum.
– Thumb-sucking for infants and children.
– Inhaling cigarette smoke.
– Repeated burping that becomes a “tic” or habit for the patient.
How aerophagia leads to physiological discomfort
Any person subject to abdominal meteorism tends to experience physiological discomfort on a daily cycle with painful bloating, flatulence and burping.
Indeed, the excess air swallowed together with food distends abdominal skin, hindering digestion.
In the end, the stomach and colon must find a way to get rid of these accumulated excess gases.
Although not dangerous per se, these unpleasant digestive disorders usually vent out with emission of gas through the mouth (burp) and/or the anus (fart).
Treating aerophagia or bloating naturally with plants
Are you complaining of bloating, incessant burping, and feel that your stomach is full of air? You’re probably experiencing aerophagia.
More often than not, plants can have a regulating function on these ailments.
So treating with plants isn’t simply hogwash.
For instance, star anise, also called badiam, can prevent aerophagia. Another type of anise, green anise, also helps out with bloating.
Also, lovage is often very effective in soothing bloating, and peppermint tends to stimulate stomach functions, too.
Fresh basil helps a lot in times of stress.
However, whenever you’re suffering of excessive pain due to aerophagia, seek medical guidance to ensure you don’t suffer needlessly.
How to prepare these plants
To alleviate your suffering, an infusion is recommended. Here are a few traditional recipes that will make this easy to prepare.
Mix 1 teaspoon of the plant you have available in 1 quart (1 liter) boiling water. Add a pinch of cinnamon and honey to taste.
Steep for about ten minutes, filter, drink a cupful while still warm 3 times a day, preferably after meals.