The Inventor Who Has Developed a Sweet-Smelling “Fart Pill”

One eccentric French man wants to take the guilt out of gas with a tablet designed to make farts smell like flowers, ginger or chocolate

Ned Frisk Photography/Corbis

From the man who brought the world toilet paper printed with news articles for combined bathroom utility and entertainment comes Pilule Pet, a “fart pill” seriously intended to rid us all of the offensive smell of human gas.

Over at The Verge, Amar Toor recently produced a funny and informative exploration of the man behind the invention, Christian Poincheval, who Toor describes as “some sort of hippie Da Vinci; a compulsive inventor-artist-musician living in the rural hills of northwest France.” 

Poincheval lives with his wife in a cottage in Gèsvres, a tiny French town, with his guitar, sculptures and a variety of goods that his meandering interests have led him to invent. Perhaps his most interesting creation is the fart pill, for which he has already fulfilled over 2,000 orders. According to Toor, the idea for the invention came to Poincheval in 2004 after a huge and hearty meal that “resulted in a chorus of particularly pungent flatulence”.

Already an avid practitioner of homeopathic remedies, he began researching ingredients and spent three months testing different formulas with the help of a French laboratory. They finally arrived on the perfect combination of vegetable carbon, fennel, and other natural ingredients, and set about bringing their rose and violet pills to market.

"I wanted to undress the shame you feel when you fart at the table," Poincheval explained to me, "the fear you feel that the fart may travel farther. I wanted to remove this complex, if you will."

He started with pills to turn your toots into rose-, violet- and chocolate-scented delights and, more recently, released a ginger-scented pill for Valentine’s Day. It is intended, according to the tagline, to help “your sweetheart feel your love!” And let’s not forget those deadly bombs dropped by our canine friends: Poincheval has a powder for dogs, too.

So, is the proof in the pooting? Does the pill actually work? Depends on who you talk to. Some say that the invention has certainly changed the smell of their expulsions for the better. But a gastroenterologist interviewed by Toor says that, while the pill is likely capable of somewhat altering the smell of farts, differing diets and complex intestinal bacteria make the possibility of totally perfumed gas “scientifically ‘questionable.’”

But according to Poincheval, creating an effective mask for offensive odors was really only part of his goal for the pills: "At their core, they provoke discussions, debate, and try to liberate the fart, which is something totally natural," he told Toor. He also said he is planning a newly scented fart pill “for summer” and may also develop a similar approach to attempt to rid the world of stinky-smelling poop, to which we can only say: God speed. 

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