The History of Fennel Tea
The Fennel plant has a long history of varying uses, most of which are culinary and medicinal, although the myths associated with this plant are just as interesting. People once hung fennel over their doorways on Midsummer’s night in the Middle Ages, to ward off evil spirits.
It was even believed by the ancient Romans and Greeks to have properties that enhanced the chances of living a longer life, giving strength to those who consumed the plant.
Incorporated into traditional rituals, Fennel was considered symbolic of nature and was used in associated festivals and celebrations.
Fennel was brought to Europe by Emperor Charlemagne around 812 AD. Due to his fervent love of the plant, he grew it in his garden estates.
In ancient China, Egypt and India, this tea was used in the treatment of insect and snake bites. Fennel was also considered one of the nine holy herbs by the Anglo-Saxons.
Today Fennel is used as a tea, a spice, raw or fresh in cooking and can be found in food and dishes such as sausages and even ice cream.
How to enjoy Fennel Tea
It’s easy to enjoy Fennel tea as there are many products on the market, such as tea bags or loose tea. Place the tea bag in your cup and after boiling the water, wait a couple of minutes and then pour into the cup, to ensure the vital ingredients are not boiled away.
If using loose leaf Fennel tea, place in the tea pot or strainer, using one teaspoon per cup, according to taste. You might like to try using fresh Fennel leaves, but you’ll need more than a teaspoon and will need to steep for a longer time, up to twenty minutes.
If using the dried seeds, you can grind them either with a mortar and pestle or use a spice grinder or other kitchen tools, such as two spoons. Place a teaspoon or two of the ground fennel in a tea ball or strainer and pour hot water into the cup.
Let it steep for at least five minutes before enjoying and sweeten with honey or other sweeteners, according to taste. As with most tea, you might want to taste it before adding anything else.
The Aromatic Element of Fennel Tea
Prepare yourself for a delicious and powerful licorice punch when enjoying Fennel tea. Related to anise and star anise, the stimulating flavor of licorice or aniseed can be potent, depending on the amount you use, so start with a lighter brew to accustom yourself.
Some say that the aroma and scent of Fennel tea is relaxing, with a slightly bitter aftertaste. The hue of this delicious tea ranges from light yellow to golden.
Precautions and Possible Side Effects
If you have an allergy to celery or carrots, you might want to avoid Fennel tea, as it comes from the same plant family. Symptoms could include itching, swelling or hives, so check with your doctor before consuming it.
Also ask your doctor about possible interactions with any medication you’re taking, as it could enhance or alter the effects.
Take Fennel tea in moderation if you have issues with blood clotting. Some people advise that pregnant or nursing mothers should either avoid or drink this tea in moderation as the properties could harm the endocrine system of the baby.
Cancer patients might also be well-advised to avoid Fennel tea, depending on the doctor’s opinion.
The Benefits of drinking Fennel Tea
With a long history of use in treating digestive problems, Fennel tea can help deal with bloating, flatulence, heartburn and stomach upsets. A cup of this tea is useful after a heavy meal and it can reduce bad breath and relieve gum problems, due to its antibacterial properties.
Fennel Tea supports:
- The Digestive system – considered an antispasmodic, this tea has relaxing properties and relieves gas as well as the conditions associated with irritable bowel syndrome and diarrhea.
Fennel tea can also help with hiccups and assists in getting rid of intestinal bacteria and worm infestations.
- Treating heartburn – when you feel the burning sensation and pain of indigestion, a warm cup of Fennel tea can alleviate the symptoms and with regular use, can reduce the intake of antacids and other related medications.
- Blood Cleansing – assisting with increasing healthy urine flow, this tea can apparently protect the liver from alcohol damage and deals with issues related to jaundice and kidney function.
Along with the general cleansing of the blood, Fennel tea can relieve arthritis and pain associated with joint pain and gout.
- Weight Loss – Fennel tea can apparently assist with boosting the metabolism, alleviating water retention, regulating the appetite and even reducing cellulite.
- Women’s Health – due to the volatile oils, which are likened to the qualities of estrogen, Fennel tea is used for hormonal issues in Chinese medicine and can boost the libido.
Also used to help bring on menstruation and to relieve menstrual cramps, this tea is thought to alleviate menopause and increase milk-flow for lactating mothers, but again, check with your doctor first.
- Children’s health – Fennel tea is considered safe for children, in smaller doses, and can relieve colic due to the actions of the tea on the intestinal tract.
- The Immune System – with actions such as reducing fevers, fighting colds, viruses and bacteria, Fennel tea is also considered useful in combating upper respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis, by getting rid of congestion. This tea also relieves a dry, sore throat.
- Healthy Eyes – the antibacterial properties found in Fennel tea can help with conjunctivitis, when a cotton ball is soaked in the cooled tea and applied for ten minutes. This also helps reduce puffiness and alleviates sore eyes.
- Heart Health – Fennel tea is rich in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, which help with cleansing the blood and lowering cholesterol levels. This also assists with hypertension and therefore supports a healthy heart.