All About Fennel Tea
During the Middle Ages, homeowners would place fennel over their doorways to protect any evil spirits from entering the house. Keyholes were also filled with fennel seeds to protect houses from ghosts. These rituals were extremely common during the midsummer nights because it was believed that when the sun began to turn southwards, evil spirits were unleashed onto the earth. Although fennel is no longer used as a protective charm, it is still used as a powerful healing herb. There are several health and culinary benefits associated with fennel; it is used in a range of cuisines including Italian, Indian and contemporary foods. The herb is available as a bulb, seeds, and leaves.
The History of Fennel
Fennel originates from the Mediterranean, it also grows in many other countries around the world such as Japan, India, France, Germany, Russia, and Romania. The history of fennel goes back as far as the time of Pliny (AD 23-79), he was a Roman author who wrote a book titled The Naturalis Historie. Pliny had many beliefs, and one of them was that snakes consumed fennel as well as rubbed their skin against it because it helped to sharpen their vision after they had shedded their skin. After observing this phenomenon, Pliny was so convinced about the power of fennel that he used the herb as a treatment for a variety of ailments.
During the 1300s, King Edward the first of the United Kingdom used fennel as a part of his everyday diet. He would purchase eight and a half pounds of fennel every month. The reason why he purchased fennel in such high quantities was that it was used as an appetite suppressant and a condiment. When the church required its members to fast, they would take fennel to assist them in getting through the day without eating. The tradition of consuming fennel during a fast was introduced to America by the Puritans. They would fill their handkerchiefs with fennel seeds and snack on them during long church services. This practice led to fennel seeds being given the nickname ‘meetin’ seeds’.
The Hindu’s, Chinese and the Romans used fennel seeds as a remedy for poisons; some believed that it was effective in treating snake bites and the effects of poisonous mushrooms. Fennel was also used to treat people who had been bitten by wild dogs.
What Are the Ingredients of Fennel Tea?
Fennel seeds contain several active ingredients, they include the following:
- Fixed oil
- Essential oil
The Health Benefits of Fennel Tea
There are several health benefits associated with drinking Fennel tea; these include the following:
- Fennel Helps to Treat Colic
Fennel contains anti-spasmodic qualities and it is believed that fennel tea assists in the treatment of alleviating the symptoms associated with colic.
- Fennel helps to Hydrate the Body
In order for the body to function properly, it needs to remain hydrated at all times. One of the benefits of fennel tea is that it provides tea lovers with a tasty drink that is caffeine-free, this means that they can drink it several times throughout the day without experiencing the negative side effects associated with consuming too much caffeine.
- Fennel is a Natural Pain Killer
Studies have found that fennel tea has the same pain-relieving effects as over the counter pain medications such as aspirin.
- Fennel Tea Helps to Regulate Blood Sugar
Several complementary healthcare practitioners and herbalists recommend drinking fennel tea as an effective method of regulating blood sugar. A study found that mice that were treated with fennel experienced a reduction in blood glucose levels in the same way as prescription medications.
- Fennel Tea Helps to Reduce Period Pain
Period pain is also referred to as dysmenorrhea, many women suffer from this issue and will typically use over the counter medications to eliminate the pain. However, approximately ten to twenty percent of women who suffer from painful periods do not find relief with pain medication. A lot of women seek alternatives to traditional medication and one of these alternatives is fennel tea. According to research, fennel prevents the uterus from contracting and this is what promotes the pain associated with menstrual cramps.
- Fennel Tea is Good For Acne
When fennel tea is consumed every day, it provides the body with powerful minerals such as selenium, calcium, and zinc. These minerals are extremely effective when it comes to balancing oxygen and hormone levels. Fennel cools the skin down giving it a healthy glow.
- Fennel Tea is Good For the Eyesight
Good eyesight is very important; without it, we wouldn’t be able to see the beauty of the world. The eyes are constantly subjected to stress which can cause eyesight to diminish. The good news is that some of the active ingredients in fennel such as vitamin A can assist in treating conditions such as glaucoma, cataracts, watery and inflamed eyes. Vitamin A is essential for vision, a healthy immune system, and bone growth. It strengthens the mucous membranes, the surface of the eye and the skin around the eye so that the inner eye is protected against viruses, bacteria and eye infections.
- Fennel Tea Supports Digestion
If you are suffering from diarrhea, flatulence or a painful stomach, treat yourself by drinking a warm cup of fennel tea. Fennel is known to alleviate digestive problems.
- Fennel Tea is High in Antioxidants
Antioxidants provide the protection of the cells against free radicals; research suggests that free radicals play a role in the development of conditions such as cancer and heart disease. When the body is exposed to toxins such as radiation and tobacco smoke and when it goes through the process of breaking down foods, free radicals are produced.
- Fennel Tea Freshens the Breath
Fennel contains antibacterial properties; their role is to clean the pathogens that cause bad breath. Drinking a cup of fennel tea prior to going to bed and first thing in the morning will protect you against bad breath.
- Fennel Tea Helps to Relieve Constipation
Fennel tea causes the digestive muscles to relax, this is the perfect remedy from constipation because it helps to ease toxins through the system and cleanse the body.
- It Helps With the Production of Breastmilk
Fennel has been used for hundreds of years as a galactagogue – which is a substance that enhances the quantity and quality of breast milk in mothers who are breastfeeding.
- Fennel Tea Can Help With a Lack of Sleep
After a long day at work, a nice cup of hot tea is a great way to unwind. One of the many benefits associated with fennel is that it helps the muscles to relax; historically, people used fennel as a method for treating insomnia.
- Fennel Tea Assists the Body in Fighting Against Infections
Fennel tea contains antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Several studies have discovered that when people feel that they are getting a cold, a cup of fennel tea will protect the immune system by helping the body to fight against the pathogens that are attacking it.
What Are the Potential Side Effects of Drinking Fennel Tea?
Although there are many health benefits associated with fennel tea, there are also several negative side effects that people should be aware of. Here are some of them:
- Breathing problems
- Sensitivity to the sun
- Menstrual flow increase
- Swollen or itchy skin
- Chest pain
- The tightness of the throat and chest
The most serious side effect associated with fennel tea is the increased risk of seizures. If you experience any of the above side effects while drinking fennel tea, it is important that you contact your health care practitioner immediately.
If your doctor prescribes you with any medication, it is important that you let your doctor know that you are drinking fennel tea. If you decide to start drinking fennel tea after your doctor has prescribed you with certain medications, do not stop taking it or reduce the prescribed dosage unless you have been instructed to do so by your doctor. There are no reported serious interactions associated with prescription medications. The following drugs mildly interact with fennel:
- Devils claw
Experts advise that you do not drink fennel tea in large quantities or for long periods of time.
What is the Fennel Dosage?
The fennel dosage is dependent upon the way you are taking it. Here are a few methods of taking fennel and their dosages:
- Fennel Tea: 1-2 grams of fennel seeds crushed in 150 ml of water
- Fennel Oil: 0.1 – 0.6 ml for a maximum of two weeks
- Tincture: 5.75 grams orally daily
- Capsules: 480-960 mg in 1-2 capsules three times a day
The health benefits of fennel tea are still being researched and new developments are constantly being released. For the majority of people, fennel tea is an effective and safe remedy for conditions such as insomnia and digestive problems. Experts advise that if you want to start drinking fennel tea, you introduce it into your daily routine slowly, making sure that you pay attention to any side effects that you might experience.