You’ve written before that fennel tea is good for gas and bloating.
I’ve seen it as a vegetable in my grocery store, but how do I make it into a tea?
Is fennel good for anything else?
–H.S., Crystal River, Florida
Fennel can help ease gas, stomach cramping, spasms, bloating and other irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) symptoms. (Although eliminating food allergies is often the ultimate cure.)
One reason fennel works so well is because it stimulates the production of bile which helps you digest food, particularly fats.
Fennel is a flowering plant in the carrot family. And yes, as you mentioned you can pick up fennel in the produce aisle. Fresh fennel is crunchy and has a delicious slightly-sweet licorice-like flavor. It’s often used in traditional Italian cooking.
Fennel is brimming with good-for-you nutrients
Fennel is packed with nutrients. It contains…
- B vitamins and
- vitamin C,
- folic acid
- and carotenes.
With that kind of resume it shouldn’t surprise you that fennel can do so much more than soothe your tummy.
8 MORE great reasons to use fennel in your meals
Following are eight great reasons to add fennel on your shopping list…
1. Fight Inflammation & Pain:
A compound in fennel called “anethole” suppresses high levels of an inflammatory chemical called “TNF alpha.” That means that it could relieve pain if consumed regularly.
It may even help with arthritis, fibromyalgia or any TNF-driven pain syndrome.
2. Boost Immunity:
Caretonoids, anetholes, vitamin C and rutin are a few of the powerful antioxidants you find hidden in fennel.
Antioxidants help support your immune system and can help reduce your risk of cancer and dangerous infections.
3. Dial Down Allergies:
Fennel may help reduce the frequency of asthma attacks or allergic reactions.
4. Support Heart Health:
Fennel contains certain antioxidants including “caffeoyl quinic acids” which studies have shown may help prevent or reduce the formation of atherosclerotic plaques in your arteries.
5. Boost Your Libido:
The active compounds in fennel have a mild estrogen-like activity which may help improve libido.
6. Promote Lactation:
The estrogen-like activity in fennel may also help promote milk production. (But don’t use if you’re pregnant, it could stimulate uterine contractions.)
7. Reduce Blood Pressure:
Fennel has mild diuretic properties so it may be able to help lower blood pressure.
8. Lose Weight:
Fennel is also a mild appetite suppressant which can help you slim down if you use fennel on a regular basis.
How to use fennel
A I mentioned earlier fennel is available in the produce section of most grocery stores. This delicious crunchy vegetable belongs to the same class of vegetables as celery, and looks very similar with its big white bulb at the bottom and long green stalks.
When you use fennel in your favorite dishes it will impart the flavor of anise the basis for licorice. Fennel is often added to soups and vegetable recipes. You just chop it and use in your soup, or stir-fry.
You can also buy ready-made tea bags of fennel, or steep your own. To do that, buy fennel seeds and steep them in boiling water for about 5 minutes. Strain and add honey if desired. This is a morning tea because it is makes you more alert and in many people, it acts as a mild diuretic.
A couple of words of caution. Like any potent herbs (or medication) there are some safety considerations to keep in mind when using concentrated forms of fennel. You shouldn’t supplement with excessive amounts of fennel because it can cause psychiatric problems (even hallucinations) at extremely high levels. And as I mentioned earlier, if you’re pregnant avoid fennel because there’s small chance it could stimulate contractions.
In addition to writing a syndicated column on health which reaches 20 million people each week, Suzy is the author of a number of books on natural health.
You may have seen Suzy on The Dr. OZ Show (6 different appearances), The View, The Doctors, Good Morning America Health and hundreds of morning shows. Quotes from Suzy, as well as her articles, have also appeared in major publications including Woman’s Day, Reader’s Digest, OK Magazine!, First for Women, Fitness, Natural Health and Better Homes & Garden and dozens more.
Read more from Suzy at suzyCohen.com
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