Thursday, February 24, 2011

Fennel Tea

Fun Facts about Fennel Tea

Fennel tea has acquired almost a mythic reputation as an effective herbal cure-all. Are all the claims made about fennel true? Does the crunchy herb found in the produce aisle really have all those medicinal properties?

The answer is ‘yes.’! Fennel seed, derived from the plant in which all parts are edible, has wide spread historic and geographic credentials as an ingredient that helps the body deal with digestive and respiratory illnesses. So, when this seed is crushed and added to boiling water to make fennel tea, that tea acquires those attributes. By letting the seed steep in the water, the resultant herbal tea becomes a power-packed drink.

Fennel, which is endemic to the Mediterranean region, has been part of cuisines around the world from India and China to Egypt and Greece. The Puritans are said to have used it as part of their diet also. The fennel tea is a way of getting the benefit of the seed in a simple an easily manageable way:

Fennel tea is good for gastro-intestinal problems. So patients suffering from irritable bowel syndrome, or those struggling with flatulence and bloating, are said to find fennel tea very soothing.

Fennel tea is supposed to help stimulate milk production in nursing mothers. The tea seems to function like estrogen in this situation and this quality of the tea makes it a good addition to the diet of premenopausal and menopausal women.

Fennel tea is said to be good for dealing with eyes related problems and some advice a few doses of fennel tea for conjunctivitis. There are also some who believe that applying a cold compress of fennel tea to the eye will help but this is not scientifically established.
Fennel tea helps with respiratory illnesses as it is effective in countering mucus and it can provide relief from cough and sore throat also. Moreover fennel is supposed to be rich in Vitamin C and so it is a good immunity booster as well.

Anethole, a substance found in fennel, is known to reduce inflammations and so fennel tea is a good drink for those suffering from arthritis. This substance also helps fight recurrence of cancer.

Fennel tea is good for those trying to fight high cholesterol.

Fennel tea is a good diuretic. While drinking a liquid to rid the body of excessive fluids seems counter intuitive, the stimulant in fennel works well in this regard.

All these properties of fennel, transmuted through the steeped tea, make it a great medicinal drink. However, it is worth noting that in the case of the fennel tea there can be too much of a good thing. So, avoid drinking excessive amounts of fennel tea. Three cups a day seems optimal for most body types. The stimulants in the fennel can induce adverse physical reaction if taken in amounts well in excess of this. Stomach cramping, over-excitement, hallucination and muscle spasms are known to appear in persons who have consumed excessive amounts of fennel tea.

However, as long as you practice moderation the benefits far outweigh the risks. So here is a quick recipe for fennel tea:

Boil a cup of water and add two spoons of crushed fennel seeds. (Fennel seeds are available in a wide variety of stores these days and you can look for them in your local health foods store if you are unsure where to start.) Cover the container and let it sit for a good 10 minutes. Then drain the water and you can have this drink three times a day. Having it warm will help you enjoy the taste the most.

Pour the tea into a cup and sit down with your feet up – enjoy the moment and savor the flavor. Fennel tea is good for the mind and the body!