What Is Fennel Tea?
Fennel (Cynara scolymus) is a small evergreen shrub with delicate leaves and flowers. It grows wild in temperate regions from Europe to Asia Minor, North Africa to Australia. Its berries are used in many cuisines including Italian, Chinese, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisine. It is one of the most popular herbs in Italy where it is known as “fenno liqueur”. It is also very common in the Mediterranean region and other parts of Europe.
The plant contains alkaloids such as salvinorin A (5-MeO-DMT), 5-methoxy DMT, and 4-methylTHB. Salvia divinorum (the sacred mushroom) contains similar chemicals.
These chemicals have been used by humans for centuries to induce altered states of consciousness or simply for pleasure purposes. They have been found to increase mental clarity, enhance creativity, and reduce anxiety.
Salvia divinorum is not psychoactive but its use has led to the development of new psychoactive drugs. In the 1950s, the laboratory synthesis of methedrine (also known as meth or crystal) started in an attempt to develop a decongestant for the pharmaceutical market.
Meth is a very powerful and popular recreational drug that has taken many lives. It is now the most commonly abused drug in the USA. This is just one example of how research on psychoactive plants can lead to harmful synthetic drugs.
Despite these harmful drugs, there is still a lot to be learned from psychoactive plants. Knowledge of their chemistry can lead to the development of useful drugs such as the painkiller ketamine, DXM (used to treat asthma), and potentially even cures for Alzheimer’s disease and cancer.
The field of psychopharmacology has given us many important psychiatric drugs such as Prozac, Zoloft, and Valium.
Fennel tea has been used for a variety of purposes including:
Easing cough and bronchial complaints
Healing wounds and treating external ulcers
Dissolving kidney and bladder stones
Relieving the pain of menstrual cramps
The fennel plant contains more than forty compounds. The most important ones are anethole, flavone, and phthalides.
The leaves and seeds are most commonly used as a spice or in herbal medicine. The essential oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, shampoos, and lotions. It has also been used as a natural pesticide for the outer surfaces of apples.
In the culinary world, fennel is grown mainly for its aromatic seeds. It is very popular in Italian, Indian, and Persian cooking.
It is also used to flavor fish such as salmon and halibut.
What is fennel tea?
Fennel tea is a herbal tea prepared from the leaves and seeds of the fennel plant. It can be prepared in the same way as any other herbal tea. Fennel has a very distinctive taste which some people find similar to anise, licorice or ginger.
Fennel tea is very popular in northern India and Pakistan. It is used to flavor many foods and is often served after a meal.
It is also used to flavor some brands of cigarettes.
How is fennel tea prepared?
Fennel tea can be prepared in the same way as any other herbal tea. To make basic fennel tea, take 1-2 teaspoons of chopped fennel seeds, cardamom pods or chopped fennel fronds and flowers. Add this to a cup/mug/glass of hot water. Steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain and enjoy.
Why should you drink fennel tea?
Fennel tea has a very distinctive taste and many people enjoy its flavor. It can be used to treat a wide range of conditions. It can be drunk on a regular basis or just when you feel the need to. Even if you do not have a specific condition, fennel tea can be a refreshing and healthy beverage.
Here are some health benefits of drinking fennel tea:
Helps the digestive system
Fennel seeds can help to relieve gassy and bloated stomach. The essential oil acts as a carminative which means that it reduces the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract.
It is also a galactagogue which means that it stimulates the flow of milk in breastfeeding women.
Research shows that fennel can be used to prevent vomiting in patients undergoing cancer treatment.
Studies also show that fennel is effective at relieving the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Helps with respiratory conditions
Fennel tea can be used to relieve the symptoms of a stuffy nose. Its essential oil acts as a decongestant and can decrease the size of swollen blood vessels in the mucous membranes.
This effect makes it useful for treating the common cold, flu and mild asthma.
Helps with allergies
The anti-inflammatory effects of fennel can provide relief from allergic reactions in the body. It can also remove excess water from swollen mucous membranes which helps with conditions such as cystic fibrosis.
Treats bad breath
Fennel tea can be used to eliminate bad breath and body odor. The high concentration of antioxidants and vitamin C in fennel tea can destroy the bacteria that cause these conditions.
It also has digestive properties that help prevent these bacteria from forming in the first place.
Fennel tea is beneficial for treating menstrual cramps and increasing milk flow in nursing mothers.
It can be used to treat skin conditions such as eczema, dermatitis and psoriasis because of its astringent effect.
It can also be beneficial for treating swollen, bleeding wounds because it has anti-bacterial properties that help reduce inflammation and fight infection.
How long does fennel tea take to work?
Most of the benefits of fennel seeds occur in the digestive system. These effects can be felt almost immediately.
If you are drinking fennel tea for its decongestant effects, you should start feeling these within an hour.
The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties can take a little longer to experience. These can take up to a week to start having a therapeutic effect.
How much fennel tea should you drink?
The general recommended dosage is 1-2 teaspoons of the seeds steeped in a cup of hot water. You can adjust the amount of seeds used depending on the effect you desire. More seeds will give you more of a decongestant effect while more tea will give you more of an antioxidant effect.
You can also add some honey to improve the taste.
Ideally, you should drink fennel tea on a regular basis to enjoy all of its benefits. If you do not have the time for this, you can just drink it whenever you feel a condition coming on.
How and where to buy fennel seeds?
Fennel seeds are sold in most grocery stores in the spice aisle. They are widely available and reasonably cheap. You can also find them in natural health stores and online.
Make sure you buy the seeds and not the entire fennel plant. The seeds are darker than the stems and stalks so they are easier to spot.
Also, make sure that there are no foreign objects mixed in with the seeds such as pieces of stalks as this can reduce the quality of your tea.
If you want to buy fennel tea bags, you can find these in most grocery stores and supermarkets.
Fennel tea has several benefits that can improve your overall health. It can be used to treat or prevent a number of conditions such as the common cold, flu and asthma.
The beneficial compounds in fennel act as a decongestant to reduce swelling in the mucous membranes of the respiratory system. They also have anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve the symptoms of allergic reactions.
Antioxidants in fennel can help fight free radicals in the body to reduce the signs of aging and prevent cell damage.
The vitamin C content of fennel tea can improve the absorption of iron, which is essential for healthy red blood cells.
Fennel tea should be drunk regularly to enjoy all of its benefits. You can add it as an ingredient to your favorite tea blend or brew it on its own.
Sources & references used in this article:
Character impact odorants of fennel fruits and fennel tea by A Zeller, M Rychlik – Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 2006 – ACS Publications
Study of the metabolism of estragole in humans consuming fennel tea by A Zeller, K Horst, M Rychlik – Chemical research in toxicology, 2009 – ACS Publications
Premature thelarche related to fennel tea consumption? by D Okdemir, N Hatipoglu, S Kurtoglu, L Akın… – Journal of Pediatric …, 2014 – degruyter.com
The effect of fennel tea drinking on postoperative gut recovery after gynecological malignancies operation by HW Ma, JT Zhao, X Zhao – Sichuan da xue xue bao. Yi xue ban …, 2015 – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov
Detection of N-Acetyl-S-[3′-(4-methoxyphenyl) allyl]-l-Cys (AMPAC) in Human Urine Samples after Controlled Exposure to Fennel Tea: A New Metabolite of … by BH Monien, B Sachse, B Niederwieser… – Chemical Research in …, 2019 – ACS Publications
Fennel tea: risk assessment of the phytogenic monosubstance estragole in comparison to the natural multicomponent mixture by F Iten, R Saller – Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd, 2004 – safetylit.org