What Is Fennel Tea?
Fennel (Cynara scolymus) is a perennial herb native to Europe, Asia Minor and North Africa. The plant grows up to 30 feet tall with white flowers on long stems. It produces small red berries which are used medicinally as well as being eaten raw or cooked.
The leaves and roots of fennel have been used traditionally in traditional medicine for centuries. They are known to possess anti-inflammatory properties, help prevent infections, relieve pain and reduce fever.
In addition to its medicinal uses, fennel is also considered a culinary spice due to its aromatic flavor. It is often added into soups and stews for flavoring purposes.
How Does Fennel Tea Work?
Fennel contains compounds called flavonoids that have antioxidant activity against free radicals such as those produced during inflammation and aging processes. These compounds are thought to protect cells from damage caused by these conditions.
It is believed that fennel’s flavonoid content may be responsible for its ability to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Some studies suggest it may even improve cognitive function in patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.
Fennel tea is made from boiling the seeds of the fennel plant. The tea has traditionally been used as a home remedy for digestive complaints such as gastric upset, diarrhea and vomiting.
It can also help to relieve excess gas in the intestines.
In addition to these benefits, studies have shown that fennel tea may be able to lower blood sugar levels in patients suffering from type 2 diabetes.
You can make fennel tea by pouring a cup of hot water over a teaspoon of crushed fennel seeds. Allow the mixture to steep for several minutes before drinking.
Forms and Doses
Fennel tea is sold commercially in some specialty markets. It is also easy to grow from seed, so it can be grown in your garden as well.
Alternatively, dried fennel seeds can be found in most supermarkets or health food stores.
To make the tea, add one teaspoon of fennel seeds to one cup of boiling water. Allow the mixture to steep for five minutes before straining and drinking.
Side Effects and Risks
Fennel is considered to be a safe herb for most people when taken by mouth in medicinal doses. However, there are some individuals who should not take it or should do so with caution.
Fennel should not be taken by women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant. It may cause contractions and could potentially cause a miscarriage.
In addition, fennel can increase the risk of bleeding and should be avoided by individuals taking blood-thinning medications such as warfarin (Coumadin).
Do not take fennel in combination with medication containing MAO inhibitors.
Do not take fennel in combination with iron or zinc supplements.
If you are suffering from kidney failure, do not take fennel.
It is always wise to seek the advice of your physician before using fennel tea or any other herbal remedy, particularly if you are on any prescription medications.
Interactions with Other Herbs and Supplements
Fennel is sometimes used in weight-loss formulas, but there are no studies to show that it affects weight loss in humans.
There are no known interactions with fennel and other herbs.
The scent of fennel makes it a popular culinary herb. It can be used in meat dishes, salads, stews, and vegetable dishes.
Fennel may even be eaten raw.
Fennel tea is soothing and can help to relieve coughs and excess mucous.
Fennel seeds are prone to attracting insects such as ants; keep in mind when storing this herb.
Fennel is used as a flavoring agent in many food dishes, including fish, meat, vegetable dishes and salads. It can also be used as a garnish.
Fennel tea is used to treat digestive problems such as gas, bloating, colic and heartburn. It also helps alleviate coughing and excess mucous in the respiratory tract.
The seeds are used in baked goods such as breads, cakes and pastries.
The crushed seeds can be used as a finishing agent for candles to produce a long-lasting, pleasant scent.
The leaves can be used as fodder for livestock.
Fennel can also be used as a natural insect repellent.
Fennel is an ingredient in many bath products such as soaps, lotions and perfumes.
Fennel can be used as an incense.
Fennel leaves are used in herbal wreaths.
This plant grows to a height of two to six feet and has hollow stems, lobed leaves and yellow flowers. The leaves have a light green color and a feathery appearance.
The stems are round and hollow and rise up from the base of the plant. The flowers bloom in umbels, or flat clusters. Each umbel consists of five to twelve rays that emanate from a common center. The fruit is dark brown and wrinkled with a hard shell.
Habitat and Distribution
Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region but it is now grown all over the world. It grows well in temperate and subtropical zones.
It requires moist soil and it cannot tolerate drought.
The herb is cultivated in gardens, farms and plantations. It is usually grown as a culinary herb, but it can also be found growing wild.
It prefers sandy, loamy or clay soils. Fennel is commonly found in pastures, meadows and open woodlands.
Fennel has been cultivated for over 2000 years. The ancient Egyptians used it as food and medicine.
The ancient Greeks and Romans also grew the herb. During the Middle Ages, it was commonly grown in kitchen gardens.
Fennel was brought to the United States by the colonists. It is now widely cultivated in this country as well as in other parts of the world.
Fennel is still used as both a medicine and a culinary herb throughout the world today.
Fennel has a delicate, sweet flavor and a pleasantly aromatic scent. It can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
Fennel is used to flavor many foods such as breads, cheese, fish, meats and vegetables. It is also used to make drinks, sauces, jams and jellies.
Fennel can also be used as a garnish.
Fennel tea is said to alleviate gas after a heavy meal, promote lactation and help with respiratory illnesses such as the common cold. The seeds are often chewed after a meal to freshen the breath.
Fennel can also be applied directly to the skin to treat rashes, swellings and other skin irritations. Fennel can also be used as an aromatic and is sometimes used in herbal candles.
Fennel is known as the “Italian parsley” because it is used as a substitute for this herb in recipes.
Fennel Essential Oil
The essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the dried seeds. It is a yellowy-brown liquid with a perfectly sweet, anise-like scent.
Fennel oil is used to flavor foods and in perfumes. It is used medicinally to help expel roundworms and as a carminative to relieve gas after a heavy meal.
It is also used as an antispasmodic to treat cramps and convulsions.
It is thought that fennel may increase female hormones and so should be avoided during pregnancy.
Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and expectorant actions have been found in fennel. It can also help prevent bacteria from adhering to the urinary tract.
Fennel helps increase the action of insulin and may be useful in the treatment of diabetes. It is also thought to protect against cancer and arthritis, as well as other degenerative diseases of the heart and kidneys.
Fennel is used to treat indigestion, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating and gas. It is also thought to help with lactation and respiratory problems such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia and whooping cough.
It has also been used as a diuretic to help with urinary problems such as cystitis.
Fennel is used externally to treat sore, itchy skin conditions such as sunburn, insect bites and dry skin.
Fennel can be taken as an infusion drunk three times a day or as dried herb taken in capsule form. Tincture (liquid) taken three times a day or as dried herb taken in capsule form.
For dosage information consult your physician.
Fennel should not be used by pregnant women, people with kidney or liver problems and those undergoing surgery.
Fennel may increase the effects of blood-thinning medications such as warfarin. It may also interact with insulin and drugs for diabetes, drugs for peptic ulcer, antibiotics and anti-malaria medication.
Fennel may lower blood sugar levels so caution is advised in people with diabetes.
Fennel should not be taken regularly during pregnancy as it may stimulate the uterus. It should also be avoided by those with stomach or bowel problems such as inflammation of the bowel (enteritis) or the tubes which link the bowel to the bladder (enterocolitis).
Both fennel and aniseed contain a chemical called rutin, which may make the drugs aspirin and ibuprofen less effective.
Fennel is not recommended for people taking immunosuppressant drugs after an organ transplant as it may increase the risk of your body rejecting the new organ.
Fennel should not be used in the first three months of pregnancy or if you have insulin-dependent diabetes. This herb may also interfere with the action of many prescription drugs such as anticoagulants and anti-inflammatories; people taking these medications should speak to their physician before using fennel.
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
Fennel (foeniculum vulgare) and fenugreek (trigonella foenum-graecum) tea drinking suppresses subjective short-term appetite in overweight women by JY Bae, JE Kim, R Choue, H Lim – Clinical nutrition research, 2015 – synapse.koreamed.org