The Fennel herb is a traditional element of Chinese, Arab, Indian and Western pharmacopoeias. It had been such due to the observed health benefits that it had imparted over the centuries.
Meanwhile, fennel seeds are a common cooking spice worldwide, popular with fish and curries. Fennel is an element of Chinese five spice powder, and is part of innumerable traditional Mediterranean, Arabic, Iranian, Indian and European recipes. Fennel’s sweet earthy taste enhances meat dishes, fish, breads, pickles and vinegar.
The main active constituents of fennel, which include the terpenoid anethole, are found in its volatile oil. Anethole and other terpenoids may have mild estrogen-like activity, which inhibit spasms in smooth muscles, such as those in the intestinal tract.
In fact, fennel was formerly an official drug in the United States and was listed as being used for indigestion.
Fennel seeds are usually ground or crushed and steeped in boiling water to produce tea for internal use.
The following are some of the health benefits that fennel tea has been observed to possess:
- Can aid in treatment of dyspepsias such as mild, spastic gastrointestinal afflictions, fullness and flatulence;
- Can fight catarrh of the upper respiratory tract;
- Helps in stimulating milk flow in women;
- Acts as an antispasmodic;
- Has been shown to possess diuretic, choleretic (bile-producing), pain-reducing, fever-reducing, and antimicrobial actions.