Fennel has been used as a medicinal and culinary herb since the times of the ancient Greeks. In medieval Europe fennel was thought to ward off evil spirits on Midsummers Eve. Fennel is an herb native to southern Europe and Asia Minor. It is cultivated there, and in the US, Great Britain, and temperate areas of Eurasia.
Fennel seeds brew up a tasty, licorice flavored tea. It is great by itself, or as a flavorful addition to other herbal blends. For those who have trouble with poor digestion, gas and bloating, a simple cup of fennel tea after a heavy meal can be the simplest and most effective remedy. Fennel reduces bad breath, belching, and acts as an antibacterial in the mouth. Add a small amount of fennel directly to food, or add a small amount of fennel seed tea to drinking water.
In ayurvedic traditions, fennel increases the digestive fire without aggravating pitta. Its energy is in dispute some say warming, others cooling, most likely neutral. It calms the nerves, is the premier carminative herb for adults, and promotes mental clarity.
History of Fennel
Historically, the use of fennel dates back to Ancient Greece and Rome, where it was used in traditional rituals and celebrations as a symbol of Nature. In Greek mythology, Prometheus used a fennel stalk to steal fire from the gods. Fire gave us the ability to cook our food, so it would only be fitting to be carried by a herb that is good for the digestion.
The health properties of fennel were so popular that Olympic athletes, in Ancient Greece, would use the seeds to increase stamina and promote longevity. Greek doctors also prescribed this tea to nursing mothers in order to increase breast milk.
In Ancient Egypt, India and China you would find that this medicinal tea was used to treat snake and insect bites. As time passed, fennel seeds were used to relieve hunger during fasting periods. Tasty, healthy and popular, fennel was considered one of the nine holy herbs of the Anglo-Saxons, according to Chaucer, the 14th century English poet.
How to Make Fennel Tea
- Using Seeds
Start by gently crushing approximately one teaspoon of fennel seeds in a mortar and pestle. This will release the flavor, oils and the most divine aroma. Scoop the seeds out with a teaspoon and place into a tea ball or strainer and pour one cup of boiling water over them. Allow the seeds to steep in the boiling water for seven to ten minutes. Remove the tea ball/strainer and top up with a little more hot water.
- Using Fresh Leaves
Snip or pull the fresh, fine green leaves off the bulb and rinse well. Pour a cup of boiling water .Add the leaves and leave them to steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove leaves and top up with a little more hot water.
- Using The Bulb
Clean the bulb really well. Chop into smaller pieces. Add to a tea strainer. Pour boiling water over the top and steep for 15-20 minutes. Remove strainer and top up with a little more hot water.
Fennel Tea Health Benefits
- Gastrointestinal Issues
One of the most common applications of fennel is to treat heartburn. Drinking a single cup of tea or chewing fennel seeds when you start feeling the symptoms of indigestion can ease the pain and burning.
- Women’s Health
Fennel’s volatile oils have mild estrogen-like qualities, so they are used extensively in Chinese medicine to treat hormonal problems. Fennel is also used to boost libido and to stimulate the production and flow of milk in lactating women. It is sometimes used to treat amenorrhea.
One of greatest health benefits of fennel tea is its ability to stimulate the production of estrogen, hence relieving symptoms of PMS, menstrual cramps or menopausal symptoms. Due to the presence of anethole, the main component of fennel oil, fennel tea has been used for years, especially by midwives and herbalists, as a tonic to protect the female reproductive system.
- Improves Digestive Health
Fennel is often touted as an antispasmodic, so it can help relax the digestive tract and ease cramps and gas and to treat irritable bowel syndrome. The essential oil of fennel contains estrogen, which inhibits muscles spasms, allowing you to digest more easily. It even relieves hiccups. Its aromatic and carminative properties are an excellent ally to treat flatulence, diarrhea, bloating or stomach cramps, which are also symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
- Kills Internal Parasites
Fennel tea reduces acid levels in both your stomach and rids the intestines of worms and bacteria.
- Aids Colic
Fennel herbal tea is good and safe for children, as it relaxes the intestinal tract which may help when your baby is suffering from colic.
- Cleanses Blood
Fennel herbal tea increases healthy urine flow and protects your liver from alcohol damage and treats diseases such as jaundice. This blood cleanser may also improve kidney function and prevent kidney stones.
- Weight Loss
Fennel tea helps reduce water retention, making it one of the best weight loss teas for you. It boosts your metabolism, allowing you to burn fat faster, reduces cellulite and regulates your appetite.
- Relieves Arthritis
By cleansing your body with this healthy tea, you improve also the health of your tissues and joints, thus relieving arthritic pain and gout.
- Immune System Boost
To feel healthy you need a strong immune system to help you fight bacteria and viruses. A fennel infusion helps to prevent the onset of cold symptoms. This wonderful tea helps to reduce fevers, relieve sore throats and treat most upper respiratory tract illnesses, namely asthma, bronchitis, cough and it clears up congestion and excess phlegm.
- Healthy Eyes
Sometimes after a bad night’s sleep, you may wake up with swollen and sore eyes. Prepare a cup of fennel tea, soak a cotton ball in it and place it over your eye lids of 10 minutes. It’s quite refreshing and it will not only reduce puffiness, but it also treats eye infections like conjunctivitis.
- Hormonal Balance
A healthy liver leads to proper hormonal balance which in turn is the key to relieve a number of symptoms that affect you on a daily basis.
- Stronger Heart
Fennel tea is a wonderful source of vitamins and antioxidants that can help you to maintain a healthy heart. Antioxidants and vitamins and the cleansing action mentioned above all work to help you lower your bad cholesterol levels and thus reducing the chances of you suffering from hypertension.
- Respiratory Problems
Fennel tea is often recommended to treat respiratory issues from simple colds to asthma. It can also help with upper respiratory tract infections because of its antimicrobial properties. Fennel can also be used to treat problems such as angina and high blood pressure.
- Gum Health
Gargling fennel tea can relieve inflamed gums and treat bad breath.
- Mother’s Health
Expecting moms, this tea may help with morning sickness and treat sore nipples and infections. You can dip a cloth in the tea mixture and apply it to the sore area three times a day. Although more studies are required, nursing moms can take this tea, with the approval of their doctors, to increase the flow of milk. However, don’t take more than 2 to 4 cups daily.
Side Effects of Fennel Tea
If you are allergic to carrots or celery, remember that fennel comes from the same botanical family, so it is likely that fennel tea may cause an allergic reaction. Be aware of such symptoms as itching, hives or swelling of the skin. If this happens, stop taking this herbal tea and contact your doctor.
If you are taking medication, talk to your doctor first, as fennel tea may interact with the medication you are taking and enhance the effects to more than you desire. If you are prone to blood clots, drink this tea in moderation.
People who are estrogen-dependent cancer must avoid this tea as well. However, it is said that it may be useful to sooth stomach cramps and vomit after chemotherapy or radiation treatments for cancer.
It is best that while you are expecting a baby not to drink too much fennel herbal tea, as may become toxic and travel through the placenta and harm the development of the endocrine system of your little one.
This article is for informational purposes only, and is educational in nature. Statements made here have not been evaluated by the FDA. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Please discuss with your own, qualified health care provider before adding in supplements or making any changes in your diet. PAID ENDORSEMENT DISCLOSURE: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.