Whenever I feel bloating or stomach cramping after eating a huge meal, I always brew a cup of ginger tea. This drink is my go-to natural remedy, as the ginger root is powerful enough to soothe my digestive discomfort. Recently, I learned about another variety of this warming sip that also works wonders for your digestive tract: fennel tea!
What is fennel tea, and what is it good for?
Fennel — the licorice-flavored veggie you either 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 veggie are steeped in hot water for five to 10 minutes.
But why is this drink good for tummy troubles?
“Currently, one of the most popular uses of fennel is to aid digestion by smoothing the muscles of the gastrointestinal system in order to reduce gas, bloating, and cramping,” Kylene Bogden, RD, tells RealSimple.
Research published in BioMed Research International credits this calming effect to three nutritional compounds in fennel: flavonoids, fatty acids, and amino acids. These compounds have anti-inflammatory properties, which are key to avoiding painful gut 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 medicine physician John Cunha, DO, suggests steeping one to two grams of crushed fennel seed in 150 ml of boiling water as a safe dosage of this herbal tea (Buy Traditional Medicinals Fennel Tea from Walmart, $10.10).
Anything more than that isn’t recommended. Consuming too much fennel could cause one or more of the following side effects, all of which require immediate medical attention:
- Difficulty breathing
- Tightness of chest or throat
- Chest pain
- Itchy or swollen skin
- Mild increase in menstrual flow
- Sun sensitivity
Fortunately, it isn’t common for a person to intake more fennel seeds than recommend in any form — one way to avoid these side effects unless you have an allergy.
So, what is the best way to enjoy fennel tea? Enthusiasts say that it’s delicious just as it is or with a spoonful of honey, which mellows out the drink’s strong anise flavor. I’ll definitely be making room in my tea cabinet for this flavor variety. This way, I will always have this health-boosting sip on hand!
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