Whenever I feel bloated or have stomach cramps after eating a big meal, I still prepare a cup of ginger tea. This drink is my natural remedy of choice, because the ginger root is powerful enough to soothe my digestive discomforts. Recently, I discovered another variety of this warming sip that also works wonders for your digestive tract: fennel tea!
What is fennel tea and what is it used for?
Fennel – the licorice-flavored vegetable you love or hate – has a unique appearance. Its bulbous base and vibrant green fronds make it hard to miss in the produce aisle. To brew fennel tea, the dried seeds of the vegetable are steeped in hot water for five to 10 minutes.
But why is this drink good for stomach problems?
“Currently, one of the most popular uses of fennel is to aid digestion by smoothing the muscles of the gastrointestinal system to reduce gas, bloating, and cramping,” says Kylene Bogden, RD. RealSimple.
Research published in BioMed Research International attributes this calming effect to three nutritional compounds in fennel: flavonoids, fatty acids, and amino acids. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which are essential for avoiding painful bowel issues.
If you’re like me, drinking two or three cups of tea a day will become a regular habit. However, fennel tea should be ingested in smaller doses to avoid negative side effects.
What are the possible side effects of drinking fennel tea?
Board-certified emergency physician John Cunha, DO, suggests steeping one to two grams of crushed fennel seeds in 150 ml of boiling water as a safe dosage for this herbal tea (Buy Traditional Medicinals Fennel Tea by Walmart, $10.10).
Anything more than that is not recommended. Consuming too much fennel can cause one or more of the following side effects, all of which require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest or throat tightness
- Chest pain
- Itchy or swollen skin
- Slight increase in menstrual flow
- Sun sensitivity
Fortunately, it’s not common for a person to consume more fennel seeds than recommended in any form – one way to avoid these side effects, unless you have an allergy.
So what’s the best way to enjoy fennel tea? Fans say it’s delicious on its own or with a dollop of honey, which sweetens the drink’s strong aniseed flavor. I will definitely be making room in my tea cabinet for this variety of flavors. That way, I’ll always have that healthy sip on hand!
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