S: http://www.starwest-botanicals.com/content/carminative_herbs.html (last access: 16 July 2016); http://www.healthy.net/scr/article.aspx?Id=1471 (last access: 16 July 2016).
N: 1. early 15c., from Latin carminat- (past participle stem of carminare “to card,” from carmen, genitive carminis, “a card for wool or flax,” which is related to carrere “to card;” + -ive. As a noun from 1670s.
A medical term from the old theory of humours. The object of carminatives is to expel wind, but the theory was that they dilute and relax the gross humours from whence the wind arises, combing them out like knots in wool. (Hensleigh Wedgwood, “A Dictionary of English Etymology,” 1859-65).
2. An agent that prevents or relieves flatulence (gas in the gastrointestinal tract) and, in infants, may help in the treatment of colic. The origin of the word “carminative” is particularly curious. It was borrowed from the French carminatif (masc.), carminative (fem.). Virtually all English-language dictionaries state that the French took the word from the Latin carminare, to card wool. However, a respected French dictionary Le Petit Robert indicates that carminare meant nettoyer, to cleanse. The confusion appears to stem from the fact that to card wool was to cleanse it. Thus, a carminative cleanses the bowels.
S: 1. OED – http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=carminative (last access: 16 July 2016). 2. http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=24293 (last access: 16 July 2016).