Are There Health Benefits to Drinking Fennel Tea?

Fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and a flavor similar to licorice. Fennel is a main ingredient in liquors such as Absinthe and toothpaste. It’s also used to add flavor to many different food products.

Fennel has been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal benefits for centuries, and modern science has begun corroborating some of the traditional claims. Fennel has been found to have the following properties:

  • Antifungal
  • Anti-aging
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti Inflammatory
  • Antiallergic
  • Hepatoprotective activity (preventing liver disease)
  • Antispasmodic activity (muscle relaxation)

Some research supports that heart disease and cancer can be prevented by fennel seeds. Meanwhile gastrointestinal diseases, diabetes, and hypertension can be treated with fennel.

All parts of the fennel plant have culinary and medicinal uses, including the flowers, bulb, and seeds. However, only the seeds are crushed and steeped to make fennel tea.

Nutrition Information

One teaspoon of raw fennel seeds contain: 

  • Calories: 7
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 1 gram
  • Fiber: 1 gram
  • Sugar: 0 grams

Fennel is a good source of: 

Potential Health Benefits of Fennel Tea

Fennel is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, and research has found a number of potential health benefits to drinking fennel tea:  

Relief From Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)

Fennel has antispasmodic and gas-relieving effects that make it an effective treatment for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). In one study, fennel combined with curcumin significantly improved symptoms and quality of life for people with IBS over a 30-day trial.

Women’s Health

Taking fennel oil by mouth has proven useful in management of painful periods, premenstrual syndrome (PMS), lack of periods, menopause, lactation, and polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) according to results of clinical studies. Topical application of fennel oil has also shown effectiveness for sexual function, vaginal dryness, and excess hair growth on women. 

Protection from Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Fennel essential oil — expressed from the seeds and present in fennel tea — has demonstrated antifungal and antibacterial properties. One study showed that fennel essential oil in combination with Mupirocin (a topical antibiotic ointment) may be considered as a natural alternative in killing antibiotic resistant bacteria strains. This combination may be able to decrease the growth rate of antibiotic resistance. Another showed fennel to be effective against candida species of fungi.

Osteoarthritis Pain Management

For people with osteoarthritis, fennel tea may be a helpful way to reduce pain. A randomized, double-blind trial indicated that fennel reduces pain and stiffness and may be an appropriate alternative for complementary treatment in women with knee osteoarthritis.

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Potential Risks of Fennel Tea

Because fennel tea has such potent ingredients, you should consult with your doctor before taking it or any other supplement. The factors that make it effective can create complications for people taking certain medications. Consider the following before preparing or drinking fennel tea:

Medication Interference

Fennel tea has no known serious drug interactions, but it may inhibit the effects of birth control pills because of its estrogen-like properties. 

Fennel has also been shown to inhibit the metabolism of acetaminophen.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on October 22, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

Brazilian Journal of Biology: “Chemical composition of essential oils from the apiaceae family, cytotoxicity, and their antifungal activity in vitro against candida species from oral cavity.”

Burns: “The effect of fennel essential Oil in combination with antibiotics on Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from carriers.”

Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice: “Effect of sweet fennel seed Extract capsule on knee pain in women with knee osteoarthritis.”

ESHA Research, Inc., Salem, Oregon: “Fennel.”

Journal of Ethnopharmacology: “Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents.”

Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases: “Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.”

Journal of Menopausal Medicine: “Foeniculum vulgare as Valuable Plant in Management of Women's Health.”

Medicinal Plants of South Asia: “Fennel.”

Phytotherapy Research: “Fennel and Raspberry Leaf as Possible Inhibitors of Acetaminophen Oxidation.”

Scientific American: “Absinthe.”

U.S. Department of Agriculture: “Fennel bulb, raw.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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