Fennel Tea Alchemy ~ Helps with Gums, Gastro, Digestion and More
By Ravi Teja
You would have probably seen it sometime in your kitchen. Or somewhere in the supermarket. The silent, ignored, and possibly forgotten fennel.
The brownish green (or greenish brown) seeds whose greatness was well known right from the ancient times. And now, it’s time to let people know of their wonders. Once again.
The fennel seeds. And the tea that is made with them. Truly healthful. Wondering how? Just keep reading.
What Is Fennel Tea?
Scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, fennel is an aromatic plant (from the carrot family) used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. Native to the Mediterranean, it is now found all over the world. Fennel seeds have an anise-like flavor. The seeds and its oil are used to make medicine.
It was used as traditional medicine in India, China, and the Middle East, and today, its use has spread across the world. Ancient Greek doctors suggested fennel tea for breastfeeding mothers in order to promote breast milk supply.
Fennel tea is prepared by simply boiling fennel seeds in water, in such a way that the volatile oils also blend well with the water. And yes, as we will see, the tea is extremely good for you.
What Is Fennel Tea Good For?
There are numerous fennel tea health benefits. It contains various antioxidants and other compounds that are extremely beneficial. A few of its benefits include improved digestive functioning and enhanced immunity and eye health.
In fact, the health properties of fennel tea were so popular that in countries like India and China, it was used to treat snake and insect bites. Back in ancient Greece, Olympic athletes used fennel to enhance stamina and promote longevity.
Rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, and D, amino acids, and numerous other nutrients, fennel, undoubtedly, is one ingredient we all must include in our diet.
Now, we come to the health benefits of fennel tea – in greater detail!
Fennel Tea Benefits
1. Treats Gastrointestinal Issues And Improves Digestion
Fennel seeds are known to relax the muscles and stimulate the flow of bile, which eventually reduces pain – this can eventually improve digestion. Fennel is one of those herbs that has digestion-enhancing properties (1).
Fennel also expels gas from the body and relieves bloating. It encourages blood circulation to the digestive tract, thereby improving the overall digestive process (2).
According to traditional Persian scholars, fennel is one of the few herbal compounds that can help relieve flatulence (3). And numerous medical studies have proven fennel’s ability to improve the health of the gastrointestinal tract. As it is a good source of fiber, it keeps the large intestine and colon healthy (4). Fennel also is one of those spices that helps relieve gut-based gas production (5).
Though there is substantial evidence, there is anecdotal proof to support that fennel tea can alleviate IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) symptoms (6).
[ Read: Home Remedies For Gastroenteritis ]
2. Aids Weight Loss
Wondering, how fennel tea benefits weight loss? Well, yes it does! It all boils down to fennel’s ability to aid digestion. Improved digestion enables your body to assimilate nutrients better. This keeps you satiated and reduces cravings. Ultimately, this helps in weight loss.
Fennel is also considered a hot temperament herb, and it helps decrease serum glucose levels and promotes weight control in humans (7). It also suppresses appetite and helps get rid of excess fluids and waste from the body (8).
3. Helps Treat Respiratory Ailments
An Egyptian study states that fennel has been used for centuries for curing respiratory disorders. The herb is also used for treating catarrh (excessive build-up of mucous) in the upper respiratory tract (9).
Fennel also helps to calm the spasms in the respiratory system. It cleanses the bronchial passages and keeps respiratory ailments at bay.
According to the Nutritional Geography website, fennel is extremely good for the lungs (10).
In a study conducted by the Ontario Veterinary College, a herbal composite containing fennel was found to alleviate the symptoms of respiratory dysfunction in horses (11). Similar results were found to be possible in humans.
Another Portuguese study recommends fennel for the treatment of respiratory conditions like bronchitis and chronic coughs (12).
4. Promotes Heart Health
There is a link between liver and heart health, which most of us are unaware of. The liver is where cholesterol is produced and broken down. A healthy liver breaks the cholesterol down more efficiently and regulates it as well. Fennel is one food that supports liver functioning and indirectly promotes heart health (13).
Fennel is also an excellent source of fiber. Fiber prevents cholesterol reabsorption and offers protection against heart diseases.
Fennel, being an excellent source of potassium, helps control blood pressure and counteracts the undesirable effects of sodium. This prevents hypertension and, eventually, heart disease.
5. Boosts The Immune System
Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that strengthens the immune system. Fennel also contains selenium that can stimulate the production of T-cells (T-cells are active participants in the immune response).
Fennel also possesses antimicrobial properties, which further help enhance immunity.
6. Promotes Eye Health
Extracts of fennel seed have been found to be potentially useful in treating glaucoma (14). You can use fennel tea either as an eye tonic – apply directly as eye drops or as a compress.
As per an Iranian study, fennel extracts are beneficial in improving vision (15). Vitamin C, one of the nutrients fennel is very rich in, plays a major role in protecting the eyes (16). As the eyes have a higher metabolic rate, they have an additional need for antioxidant protection – which is readily offered by fennel due to its high vitamin C content.
According to the Oregon State University, lower levels of vitamin C in the eye lens can increase the risk of cataract formation (17). The antioxidants in fennel shield the eyes from effects of macular degeneration (18). There are certain individuals who wash their eyes with fennel tea to treat conjunctivitis.
Fennel can also be used to treat eye inflammation (19).
7. Improves Hormonal Balance
Fennel is one of the foods containing phytoestrogens, which, according to an Italian study, promote hormonal balance (20). As per another American study, fennel seeds demonstrated significant ability to treat PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome), which is a hormonal disorder most prevalent in women of reproductive age (21).
The phytoestrogen content in fennel is what makes the herb ideal for reducing the symptoms related to hormonal imbalance (22). Fennel also contains phytohormones that help regulate the body’s own hormones and prevent any potential imbalances (23).
Progesterone is the most important hormone when it comes to balancing the thyroid and the glandular system. And fennel possesses progestogenic substances that aid in this regard (24).
8. Helps Relieve Arthritis
In one study, certain inflammatory ailments were found to respond well to fennel. The herb also increases the activity of an antioxidant named superoxide dismutase, which contributes to reduced levels of inflammation.
[ Read: Effective Herbs To Cure Arthritis ]
9. Helps Cope With Menstrual Problems
Certain studies suggest the efficacy of fennel in treating painful menstrual cramps (27). Fennel tea can also help regulate your thyroid so that you can have a healthy flow.
In a 2002 Iranian study, high school girls suffering from menstrual pain had reported major improvement in the condition after having taken fennel extract (28). In another placebo-controlled trial, fennel was found to significantly reduce menstrual pain (29). Another Iranian study had stated that the intake of fennel can alleviate menstrual symptoms like nausea and weakness (30).
Menstrual pain, according to certain studies, is probably caused by excessive contraction of the uterine muscles that leads to blood reduction. Fennel has been found to relax these muscles, thereby healing the symptoms.
10. Promotes Gum Health
Fennel, being an excellent antimicrobial agent, aids the treatment of gum inflammation (31).
11. Fennel Tea For Babies
As per the University of Maryland Medical Center, fennel tea can help reduce colic symptoms. This is because the herb soothes the gastrointestinal tract and expels gas (32). Fennel can have a relaxing effect on the baby’s intestines. However, as per studies, the herb is not recommended for infants below 4 months of age.
According to an Italian study, fennel infusions help prevent flatulence and colic spasms in babies (33).
However, fennel has been found to be unsafe for babies in a couple of instances. Please consult your doctor before using fennel tea for newborn.
12. Helps Kill Internal Parasites
Fennel is considered a botanical dewormer, and it can be used to eliminate internal parasites (34). Fennel tea has laxative properties that promote intestinal movement, and this helps flush the worms out of your system. Fennel seeds are also believed to act as a sedative for worms. Certain studies assume that worms cannot lay eggs when in a state of rest, and hence, fennel keeps them from multiplying.
13. Helps Treat Diabetes
In an Indian study, fennel was one of the 10 foods found to have properties that alleviated diabetic complication (35).
In another published study, 250 milligrams of fennel had considerably lowered blood glucose levels in the rats that were tested upon, indicating similar possibilities in humans.
Fennel, being a good source of vitamin C, can also help diabetics. A high intake of the vitamin might lower the blood sugar levels in people suffering from Type 2 diabetes.
One of the medications given to people having high blood sugar levels is Gluconorm-5, and one its constituents is fennel. The glucose-lowering effect of Gluconorm-5 is believed to be the result of certain ingredients, with fennel being one of them (36).
Fennel, like other non-starchy vegetables, has a low glycemic index. This makes the herb more conducive to blood glucose control and a beneficial food in the diabetic diet (37). Both the vegetable and its seeds contain certain chemicals that can act against diabetes (38).
Another reason fennel is a diabetes superfood is its potassium content. Potasisum has been found to increase insulin sensitivity, and is hence recommended for diabetics (39).
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a large clinical study done on more than 2,000 people had found that adequate levels of magnesium in the diet can offer protection against Type 2 diabetes. Fennel is a magnesium-rich food, and hence can be quite helpful in this regard (40).
14. Helps Prevent Cancer
As per an American study, herbal supplements with fennel as one of the ingredients have the potential to protect against prostate cancer (41). Fennel tea is a multicomponent mixture containing various antioxidants that protect against cancer (42).
Fennel contains numerous bioactive compounds, including quercetin, which had shown anticancer activity (43). Fennel also possessses excellent anti-inflammatory properties that can be attritbuted to a phytonutrient called anethole. This compound, apart from hindering inflammation, also prevents the transformation of regular cells into cancerous ones.
Its richness in fiber and vitamin C make fennel an important food in cancer treatment (44). As per a report published by the Tennessee State University, fennel has been found to inhibit the growth of lung cancer cells and colon cancer cell lines (45). Fennel also limits the activity of a protein called NF kappa B, which is responsible for numerous inflammatory diseases, including cancer (46).
Fennel is also found to have remarkable anticancer potential against breast and liver cancer cells (47). The antioxidants in fennel, along with the fiber, help cleanse the colon and prevent colorectal cancer (48).
15. Fennel Tea Benefits For Men
Fennel is known as a libido-booster and can improve sexual desires, specifically in men. It can also relieve issues related to the bladder and prostate as well as prolong orgasms (49).
16. Helps Treat Acne
Fennel contains certain essential oils like anethole, myrcene, and limonene – all of which have exhibited anti-inflammatory properties with a potential to treat skin conditions like acne (50). Fennel also helps flush out the excess liquids from the skin, which might otherwise contribute to acne (51).
That is with the fennel seed tea benefits. But what about the dosage? How much of fennel can you take in a day?
Ideally, you can use 5 to 7 grams of fennel seeds in tea per day. A dosage of 500 mg/kg can lead to adverse effects like piloerection and loss of appetite (52).
How To Make Fennel Tea
Here’s the process for making fennel tea at home:
What You Need
A bag of fresh fennel seeds, preferably with a high volatile oil content
A little amount of honey
Crush 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seeds. You can use a pestle and mortar for this purpose.
Add the crushed seeds to a large mug and add hot water to it. Ensure the water is not boiling hot.
Cover the jug and steep for about 10 minutes.
Strain the liquid and enjoy the tea. You can add a small amount of honey if you want.
Fennel Tea Recipes
1. Cumin Coriander Fennel Tea Recipe
What You Need
1 ½ cups of water
2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
2 teaspoons of coriander seeds
2 teaspoons of cumin seeds
Add 1 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan and boil
Add the whole coriander, cumin, and fennel seeds.
Cover it. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
Strain and serve.
2. Peppermint And Fennel Tea Recipe
What You Need
2 teaspoons of peppermint leaves
1/2 teaspoon of fennel seeds
Crush the seeds, and add the ingredients into a glass jar.
Pour a cup of hot water to the jar.
Cover it. Let it steep for 5 minutes.
3. Fennel and Ginger Tea Recipe
What You Need
2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
1 teaspoon of dried lemon verbena
Crush the fennel seeds to release their volatile oils.
Add the ingredients to a saucepan. Add water to it and boil.
Once the water starts to bubble, allow to simmer on low heat for about 10 minutes.
Strain and serve.
Where To Buy Fennel Tea
You can buy a pack of fennel tea bags online.
It is but obvious that any food, no matter how wonderful and beneficial it is, has certain side effects as well. And fennel tea is no exception.
Fennel Tea Side Effects
Let’s take a look at what actually are the side effects of fennel tea here.
1. Might Cause Sunburn
The consumption of fennel tea might increase your sensitivity to the sun. You might develop sunburn as a result.
2. Can Cause Allergies
In rare cases, fennel tea can also cause certain allergic reactions. Individuals who are allergic to carrots, mugwort, or celery are at an increased risk of developing an allergic reaction to fennel. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include dizzines, difficulty in swallowing, or even facial swelling.
3. Can Cause Reactions In Pregnant Women
Certain studies have indicated adverse reactions in pregnant or nursing women on the consumption of fennel tea. Fennel might also bring on menstruation in pregnant women and cause miscarriage. To be on the safer side, avoid its use if you are pregnant.
4. Might Interact With Medications
Fennel tea might also interact with certain medications and obstruct their metabolization. These include medications like ciprofloxacin and fluoroquinolone. To avoid interactions, take these medications at least two hours before you consume fresh fennel tea. Or best – avoid fennel if you are taking any of these medications.
5. Might Disrupt The Endocrine System
Fennel also contains phytoestrogens, which are a family of plant hormones suspected to disrupt the functioning of the endocrine system (53). Hence, if you are suffering from any kind of ailment related to the endocrine system, avoid the use of fennel.
6. Might Be Unsafe For Babies
One report states that two infants had suffered from neurological damage when they were administered a herbal product that contained fennel (among other ingredients) (54). Hence, please consult your doctor before giving any form of fennel to your infants.
Truly healthful, indeed. Inexpensive. Easy to use. And it possesses a bounty of health benefits. What else would anyone want! Start taking fennel seed tea regularly, and you will thank us for sure.