Fennel Seed Tea – The Quickest Remedy for Digestive Problems
Fennel is an important herb that has been used safely for many thousands of years in Chinese, Indian, Arabian and Western medicines. Aside from its value in cooking as a spice, it has been traditionally used as an aid to digestion and it has many health benefits.
Fennel tea is prepared from crushed or ground mature fennel seeds. These seeds are rich in important volatile oil compounds like anethole, fenchone and estragole that are believed to be responsible for its antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial/antimicrobial properties.
Here’s just what fennel tea is good for and how it can help with gastrointestinal problems like bloating, IBS and flatulence.
Bloating and Flatulence
Many people report that drinking fennel tea regularly actually reduces their incidence of both bloating and flatulence.
Once again, it’s the volatile oils that are responsible for this beneficial effect on our digestive system. These compounds help relax the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal tract and can assist in reducing stomach cramps and bloating.
As both digesting food and trapped gases pass through our system more easily, there is less chance of foods fermenting and putrefying in the large intestine. In this way, the tea can be a very effective flatulence remedy, particularly for those really smelly farts that can result from undigested food getting stuck in our colon.
Using the Tea for IBS
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a condition involving the large intestine that affects many people, especially women. Symptoms vary but often include abdominal pain, bloating and stomach cramps, problematic bowel movements and excessive gas.
Fennel tea has been shown to be one of the premier treatments for IBS. The volatile oil compounds in it first help increase the production of gastric juices to get digestion started properly. These same compounds then assist in regulating the contractions of the intestines, helping to relieve intestinal cramps and trapped stomach gas.
Since the volatile oils in the fennel seeds directly impact its effectiveness in treating IBS and other digestive issues, it is worth looking for a tea formulated with a high volatile oil content. The best fennel tea I’ve found online is Heather’s Tummy Tea, made especially strong for treating IBS.
Other Health Benefits of Fennel Tea
- Fennel tea is a mild diuretic and can help flush excess water and toxins out of the body.
- Fennel seeds are very high in antioxidants, providing extra protection for your body against free radical cellular damage.
- The health benefits of fennel tea include anti-inflammatory properties and it may benefit people suffering from joint pain and arthritis.
- Drinking this herbal tea can help ease a sore throat, reduce a fever and loosen phlegm from your respiratory system.
- Fennel tea is believed to help lower blood pressure naturally (keep this in mind and discuss with your doctor if you are using blood pressure medication).
- Fennel seeds are often recommended in traditional herbal medicine as an appetite suppressant and metabolism booster and drinking fennel tea regularly may help with losing weight.
- The seeds are a great breath freshener. You can either chew them after a meal or drink a strong fennel tea like this for the same effect.
- Fennel is believed to be an immune system enhancer and many people report an improved sense of relaxation and well-being when they drink it regularly.
Fennel Tea Side Effects
- There have been very few side effects reported with this herb. In fact, it is so safe that weak fennel tea is often given to babies as a treatment for colic.
- It is suggested to talk to your doctor before drinking the tea regularly if you are being treated for breast or ovarian cancer due to a possible (but unproven) mild estrogenic effect.
- Fennel is also not recommended for people prone to seizures or taking seizure medication.
- Very rarely, allergic reactions to the herb have been observed, particularly in people with an allergy to carrots or celery.
How to Make the Tea at Home
While the cost of fresh fennel seeds is often comparable to the prepared loose tea, some people like to make their own fennel tea at home. Here’s how:
- Get a bag of fresh fennel seeds, preferably ones with a high volatile oil content.
- Crush up 1 to 2 tablespoons of the seeds with a mortar and pestle.
- Put the crushed seeds in a large mug and pour a cup of very hot, but not boiling, water over them (turn the kettle off before just before it boils).
- Cover and steep for 8 to 10 minutes.
- Strain and enjoy, perhaps with a small amount of honey.
If you prefer the convenience of tea bags this high strength fennel tea is particularly good for digestive problems and, from the many positive comments, most people seem to really enjoy the taste as well.
So What is Fennel Tea Good For?
According to WebMD, fennel tea can be good for various digestive problems, including intestinal gas, bloating, heartburn, loss of appetite and even colic in children. If you’re suffering from any of these gastrointestinal issues, a warm cup of fennel tea can provide gentle and natural relief.
Photo 1 credit: Kailash Gyawali / Photo 2 credit: AndyRob