Friday, 28 September 2012

Farts and how to survive them

I'm not going to pretend i'm happy with this video and i plan to re-make it some time soon.  In my defence, it was a little hard to concentrate given my physical condition.  Frustratingly, this was supposed to be a "link" video to attract people from the other channel over to this one.



The problems are, of course, poor visual quality, framing and the fact that i couldn't fart through most of it when the video itself was supposed to be about farting. Problems also beset the video to which this is a sequel on the other channel, but i'm going to upload that one too because i want to keep going.

So:  basically, flatulence is caused in two ways.  One is the entry of gas into the colon from elsewhere and the other is the breakdown of carbohydrates by archaeans in the colon, namely Methanobrevibacter smithii.  It is sometimes possible to ignite farts but inadvisable.  Farts in most people usually consist largely of nitrogen, carbon dioxide, hydrogen, methane and sometimes hydrogen sulphide.

Farty vegetables include those with sulphur compounds and those with carbohydrates in them.  The former include the Brassicas such as Brussels sprouts and cabbage, and the latter the pulses and beans as well as plants in the daisy family which contain an unusual carbohydrate called inulin.  Instead of our own digestive system being able to break the offending compounds down, organisms called archaeans do it instead.  These were until fairly recently thought to be bacteria, but have been found to be as different from them as bacteria themselves are from us, and they are therefore now placed in a completely separate kingdom.  The species which does the fart generation is called Methanobrevibacter smithii, as mentioned above, namely the methane.  Surprisingly, methane itself does not contribute to the stinkiness of farts, and nor to skatole or indole:  it's the sulphur-containing compounds, including hydrogen sulphide, which do that.

The herbal approach to farting is to use carminatives.  These are generally familiar herbs and spices as found in the larder, such as turmeric (Curcuma longa), peppermint (Mentha x piperita), caraway (Carum carvi), ginger (Zingiberis officinale), cinnamon (Cinnamonum zeylanicum) and cardamoms (Elettaria cardamomum), along with a host of others.  My personal favourite as a carminative herb is caraway, which i've found most successful, although in terms of taste i would prefer various other herbs on and off that list.  Carminative herbs tend to be found among the Zingiberaceae, Lamiaceae and Apiaceae - ginger, mint and celery families.  Their familiarity and presence in food is partly to aid digestion.

There are also physical and practical approaches.  Much of the substance of a fart comes from swallowed air.  This can be remedied by avoiding overbreathing and concentrating on the diaphragm, chewing each mouthful fifty times, not eating on the run and sitting down after food.  Once the gas is down there, there are various ways of relieving the problem, including the "telephoning teenager", the Cobra, the Child and the Shoulderstand, the last three also being known as (without diacritics) bhujangasana, balasana and sarvangasana.  Unfortunately, the second major thing to go wrong with this video was that the camera was too high to catch me doing these, so they're basically left to the viewers' imaginations.

So this video needs to be re-made, but because i'm determined to upload at least one video a day, i have insisted on posting this one too, even though it could've turned out so much better.