Fennel Tea: Benefits, Side Effects, Uses
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare ) is a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region. It’s feathery foliage resembles the foliage of carrots. Fennel is both a culinary and a medicinal herb. Its anise-like flavor makes it a popular herb used in Indian and Middle Eastern cooking. As a medicinal herb it treats a variety of ailments, including treating high blood pressure and intestinal and respiratory disorders.
What is Fennel Seed Tea?
The seeds of the fennel plant contain the highest levels of the volatile oils responsible for both its flavor and aroma and its healing properties, but other parts of the plants are beneficial too. Fennel tea can be made from the seeds, and referred to as fennel seed tea, but the leaves and roots can be used in making tea, too.
What is Fennel Tea Good For?
Fennel tea is known to relieve gas and ease digestion, ease respiratory discomfort, increase milk production in mothers who are breastfeeding and treat hypertension. It also soothes colicky babies, aids in weight loss by working as an appetite suppressor, and may offer protection against some cancers. It should also be noted that Web MD says that fennel should not be used by women who are breastfeeding. Check with your healthcare professional before consuming fennel tea if you are pregant or breastfeeding.
What are the Health Benefits of Fennel Tea?
Fennel tea is both aromatic and flavorful and sets the stage for relaxing after a long day’s work. When taken before meals, it may quell the appetite and ease digestion, too. Drinking fennel tea may also assist in keeping your blood pressure under control.
Where to Buy Fennel Tea
Fennel tea can be found in the grocery store or in health food stores. You can buy it ready for brewing or buy the loose fennel seed or leaves for steeping your own tea. You can also buy fresh fennel in the produce aisle or at farmer’s market to make your own fennel tea from fresh fennel. If you are a gardener, consider adding fennel to the herb garden so you will always have a fresh supply. It takes approximately 100 days for fennel to reach maturity. It will self seed and new plants will germinate in the spring.
How to Make Fennel Tea From Fresh Fennel
You can make fennel tea from the seeds, leaves or roots of the fennel plant. You can also add fennel to your favorite herb tea recipe to boost the flavor and add health benefits.
Preparing Fresh Fennel for Fennel Tea
- Fennel Seeds: To prepare fennel seeds for brewing, measure 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces of water. Crush the seeds with the back of a spoon to release the volatile oils.
- Fennel Leaves: To prepare the leaves for brewing you will need a small bundle of leaves for each cup of water. Chop the leaves into coarse sections to release the volatile oils. You can also bruise the leaves with the back of a spoon or by crushing them with the rolling pin.
- Fennel Roots: Dice the fennel root until you have 1 teaspoons of diced root for each cup of water.
Steeping the Fennel Tea
- Place the prepared fennel in an infuser.
- Bring a kettle of water to a boil and then allow it to cool slightly.
- Pour the hot water over the fennel.
- Allow fennel seeds and leaves to steep for no more than 2 to 3 minutes. The chopped roots may take longer to release their flavor and health benefits.
- Let the tea cool until it is cool enough to drink.
Are There Any Side Effects From Fennel Tea?
Like other herbal teas, fennel tea is generally considered safe, but there are some precautions you should observe. If you have questions about the safety of drinking fennel tea, talk to your doctor, as herbal remedies can sometimes interact with prescription medications.
- Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: Fennel should be avoided by woman who are pregnant or are breastfeeding.
- Children and Babies: The safety of fennel for babies and children is unknown. While fennel is an ingredient in some colic remedies, talk to your doctor before giving a colicky baby fennel tea.
- Hormone-Sensitive Conditions:Fennel may work similar to estrogen and cause certain conditions, such as breast, uterine or ovarian cancer to worsen. It may also worsen endometriosis and uterine fibroids.
- Allergies: People with allergies to carrots, celery and mugwort may be sensitive to fennel.