Fennel Tea Benefits
There is no easy way to lose weight, that much we know, however Fennel Tea may actually be able to offer a much-needed helping hand. But what else can this herbal tea do? The answer is: “quite a lot”.
Yet, aside from its marvellous ability to aid us in dropping those pesky pounds, and as well as a grand number of other incredible health benefits of Fennel Tea, plus it also tastes great too.
The plant itself, meanwhile, grows in great abundance just outside our Pluckley-based factory, nestled away in the beautiful Kentish countryside. This means it likewise has a particularly personal connection with us. Fennel is not an ingredient many might immediately associate with a herbal tea. Instead, this title, more often than not, goes to tisanes such as Peppermint, Camomile, and Ginger. Still, times are changing and so too is the herbal tea industry, which is already, as the saying goes, giving conventional tea a “run for its money”.
Fennel Herbal Tea is steadily increasing in popularity, with The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company predicting its eventual breakthrough into mainstream trade. Alas, we expect that very soon, Fennel Tea will eventually (and rightfully) rise from relative obscurity and share a prestigious title with the likes of some of the most popular herbal brews available on the market.
What is the Fennel Plant?
Have you ever eaten a carrot stick and thought it tasted identical to fennel? No, we haven’t either! Still, this plant, botanically known as Foeniculum vulgare, belongs to the very same family as the carrot plant, Apiaceae.
Fennel is as visually striking in plant-form as it is beneficial in brew-form. It is a hardy, aromatic, perennial herb with yellow flowers, feather-like leaves, and an almost unmatched versatility that enables it to grow in a variety of climates around the world.
However, it was originally native to the Mediterranean and is now most prevalent throughout temperate Europe. It can also be found growing wild in many other parts of the world upon dry soils near the coast or in close proximity to river banks. In the UK, fennel is most commonly found in North Wales, as well as both west and southeast England.
Further examining fennel’s overall appearance, the plant’s stem can actually grow to heights of 4 to 5 feet (approx 1.2 to 1.5 metres). The leaves, meanwhile, can reach 15 inches long (40 centimetres). Fennel’s appearance also captured the imagination of the 19th Century American poet, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882). He wrote the following poem, referencing many of the wonderful qualities of the Foeniculum vulgare plant, as well as its importance throughout history (we will come to that later). It reads:
Above the lower plants it towers,
The Fennel with its yellow flowers;
And in an earlier age than ours
Was gifted with the wondrous powers
Lost vision to restore.
It gave new strength and fearless mood;
And gladiators, fierce and rude
Mingled it with their daily food;
And he who battled and subdued,
A wreath of fennel wore.
What is Fennel Tea?
Like the plant itself, Fennel Tea is a beautifully aromatic infusion that entices the palate, even before the very first sip. The colour of the liquor is typically pale yellow, while the overall tone is very light. Its flavours, meanwhile, resemble that of anise, which likewise belongs to the Apiaceae family. This essentially means that the tea consists of bold, sweet notes with delicate, herbaceous undertones. Many consumers of Fennel Tea choose to add lemon or even honey to the brew. This will often bring out even more flavour.
The beverage does not contain any leaves from the Camellia sinensis plant (or ‘tea plant), and as a result, is completely caffeine free. Technically speaking, Fennel Tea should actually be referred to as a ‘herbal tisane’, although within the tea industry, it is more often recognised as simply just a ‘herbal tea’. Aside from this, many parts of the fennel plant, including the leaves, bulb, and seeds, can be used in a number of other culinary dishes, such as salads, coleslaw, gratin, and meals consisting of either fish or chicken. It is, however, predominantly (although not exclusively) the bulb used in the production of Fennel Tea.
History of Fennel and Fennel Tea
As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem suggests, fennel once had a closely knit history with the gladiators of Ancient Rome. Yet even before this period, in Ancient Egypt, fennel was believed to have been frequently used in a decoction to treat insect and even snake bites. Perhaps most famous of all, fennel was witnessed growing wild at the site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE. This decisive Greek victory over the invading Persian army was probably named after the plant, owing to the fact that the word ‘marathon’ (mαραθών) in Ancient Greek literally means “a place of fennel”. Sadly, as of present-day, fennel no longer grows on the site.
However, following the battle, a young soldier named Pheidippides ran 42 kilometres from Marathon to Athens to announce the defeat of the Persian army, thus inspiring the sporting event of the same name. Marathons later become an important component of the Olympic games of Ancient Greece, which had already been taking place since 776 BCE. Alas, fennel’s association with the marathon did not end with the battle.
In fact, Olympic athletes would commonly eat fennel seeds to increase stamina before a race, as well as to promote longevity. It then spread to other foundations of society, where Greek doctors would prescribe fennel tea to nursing mothers in order to increase breast milk, it is also said fennel tea is good for babies.
It is then no surprise, following its popularity among Greek athletes, that within the fighting arenas of Ancient Rome, gladiators would mix fennel with their food to bring them luck just before combat. The victor, meanwhile, might have also been crowned with a fennel garland, according to one Roman tradition. (A wreath of fennel wore - get it?). In the world of early Roman medicine, the renowned physician, botanist, and author, Pliny the Elder (23-79 CE) believed that serpents ate and rubbed against fennel to improve their eyesight (there is actually some evidence to support its use for eye health in humans today!). Pliny likewise recognised fennel’s ability to treat no less than 22 ailments, according to his fascinating works.
Centuries later, the Anglo-Saxons also recognised fennel as one of the ‘Nine Holy Herbs’. This was alongside Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris), Plantain (Plantago major), Watercress (Nasturtium officinalis), Camomile (Anthemis nobilis), Nettle (Urtica dioica), Crab Apple (Pyrus malus), and Chervil (Anthriscus cerefolium).
In the 12th Century, this nourishing herb was a staple in the household of the English King Edward I. It was also during this period that fennel was employed, together with St. John’s Wort and a number of other herbs, as a preventative of witchcraft and other evil spirits! It would not uncommon to see fennel hung from the doors of fearful citizens on Midsummer’s Eve to ward off these spirits. A century later, one publication of the time, known as The Book of physicians of Myddfai, asserted that:
“He who sees fennel and gather it not, is not a man but a devil”.
Today, fennel is used less for its spiritual influences and more for its medicinal qualities. This, of course, includes Fennel Tea. Like the Ancient Egyptians of ages past, this beverage can be used to combat a number of ailments prevalent in our societies. Its frequent consumption, for this reason, is further influenced by modern science, which is currently striving to uncover fennel’s true potential.
From the Greek fields of Marathon to your morning cup, Fennel Tea has survived the test of time to become one of the most important components of herbal medicine. But, after quite literally thousands of years, what can this seemingly insignificant herb offer you?
Fennel Tea Benefits
No longer is Fennel Tea’s subjected to great speculation. In the last decade alone, its health-benefits have, in fact, been predominantly proven. Still, there is a long way to go, and much more to be learnt. There are already expected to be many other medicinal qualities associated with this beverage following further research. For now, however, preliminary studies have been able to give us a very basic idea of what Fennel Tea can truly provide when it comes to health related benefits.
To begin with, it is now known that Fennel Tea contains a wealth of vitamins, minerals, and other antioxidants, including Vitamin A, B-complex, C, and D, as well as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, potassium, sodium, sulphur, and zinc. This is just to name a few. These components combined can improve digestive health, boost the immune system, lower blood pressure, and detoxify the body. Then there is, of course, Fennel Tea’s excellent weight management abilities.
Fennel Tea can Aid Weight Loss
There are many ways in which Fennel Tea can help you lose weight. First, it is important to recognise that it is a great source of dietary fibre. Meanwhile, it also has the ability to boost the metabolism, which enables the body to burn fat quicker, and more efficiently. This is in addition to reducing water retention, which is known as a common cause of temporary weight gain. This is largely thanks to Fennel Tea’s diuretic properties.
Then you have the fact that fennel can act as an appetite suppressant. This can ultimately help in keeping your portion sizes down before a meal. However, all of these potential benefits require other lifestyle changes including an exercise plan and dietary modifications.
Unfortunately, this means that Fennel Tea can’t do all the work for you, so don’t go thinking you can miss your morning jog or that stick of celery! Instead, consider Fennel Tea a helpful support as you strive for that perfect summer body. You can do it!
Fennel Tea can Lower Blood Pressure
Potassium is the key component when it comes to Fennel Tea’s amazing ability to lower blood pressure. Potassium acts as a vasodilator (‘vasodilation’ refers to the widening of blood vessels) and can reduce the risks of atherosclerosis, as well as improve overall cardiovascular health. This dietary mineral found in Fennel Tea can also counteract the effects of excess sodium intake and regulate the amount of fluid present in the bloodstream.
One preliminary animal-based study published in “Clinical and Experimental Hypertension” in 2001 examined the effects of fennel extract on blood pressure and urinary volume in rats. The results indicated that, in one group of rats, blood pressure was significantly decreased after two days of treatment, and urinary volume increased by 100%.
While further human-based studies are certainly required, these potential correlations between the frequent consumption of Fennel Tea and lower blood pressure are very promising indeed.
Fennel Tea and Colic in Infants
The University of Maryland Medical Center, USA, is just one of many reputable institutes recommending the use of fennel as a complementary and alternative therapy when treating colicky babies. As of present, the causes of colic are largely unknown, although it is suggested that it may occur due to gastrointestinal discomfort and intestinal cramping. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, fennel “helps relax the gastrointestinal tract and gets rid of gas”. Fennel also has certain antispasmodic properties which can help to relax muscles and reduce discomfort associated with the condition.
In one study published in 2003 by “Alternative Therapies”, it was reported that fennel extract eliminated colic in 65% of infant participants. This was significantly more than a second group of infants who had been given a placebo. However, despite this potential breakthrough, The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company strongly urge parents or guardians to seek consultation from a doctor or any other certified medical professional before using Fennel Tea to treat colic in infants.
Fennel Tea and Improved Eye Health
Believe it or not, Pliny the Elder was actually on to something nearly 2,000 years ago when he claimed that fennel improved eye health. However, his initial discovery is not just limited to snakes in this day and age! Fennel Tea can actually provide anti-inflammatory properties and has a high abundance of antioxidants, including Vitamin C and a number of amino acids like arginine. Combined, these constituents can aid in rejuvenating tissue and can even reduce signs of aging! (Who needs that £90 anti-aging cream, after all?).
Fennel has long been used for swollen and sore eyes. This may occur after a rough night’s sleep. Fennel Tea can be applied externally using cotton buds (delicately, we hasten to add) in order to reduce this swelling. Not only is this beneficial, but also quite refreshing, surprisingly! Furthermore, Fennel Tea’s antibacterial properties ensure that this application can likewise reduce the risks of eye infection. This includes conjunctivitis.
Fennel Tea and Improved Digestion
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has long recognised Fennel Tea’s ability to improve the immune system. This dates back thousands of years! This herbal tea is marvelled for its carminative properties, which can treat flatulence, diarrhoea, bloating, and stomach cramps. In particular, it is also thought to aid with Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).
A review published in 2012 by the “International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition” suggested that the consumption of fennel increased spontaneous gastric motility and gastric acid secretions in animal models. The author of the review, Marco Valussi, stated that further to this,
"A herbal combination including fennel eliminated intestinal pain by 95% in test subjects who had chronic, nonspecific colitis."
Meanwhile, although not in direct relation to digestion, Fennel Tea can also increase healthy urine flow through its diuretic properties which, in turn, can protect the liver from alcohol damage and reduce the risks of diseases such as jaundice. This, unsurprisingly, makes Fennel Tea an excellent choice for detoxifying the body, better know as a ‘detox tea’.
Fennel Tea and Improved Immunity
Aside from its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, Fennel Tea can also provide antiseptic and antifungal properties. These components, alongside Fennel Tea’s vitamin, mineral, and antioxidant content, could be the potential answer to the ‘sniffles’. This wonderful herbal tisane can relieve sore throats (as well as sore eyes, as we already know), reduce fevers, and treat respiratory issues, namely asthma, and bronchitis.
It can also aid with coughing fits and congestion. Yet, not only can its frequent consumption reduce the symptoms associated with colds and flu, but can likewise prevent these minor illnesses from manifesting in the first place! So, next time you are feeling under the weather, consider a nice, warm, nourishing cup of Fennel Tea.
If you are looking to start off the fast approaching new year with a detox, or perhaps you wish to once again fit into your favourite pair of jeans, then Fennel Tea could be the boost you are looking for. Maybe you are intrigued by the taste, aroma, history, or science behind this beverage?
If this is the case, look no further! Try our quality-assured Fennel Tea today. We are certain you won’t be disappointed! This herbal tea, as well as any other brew sold through The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, is always packed to fresh here at our Pluckley-based factory.