Taste (Rasa): Sweet, Bitter
Energetics (Virya): Cooling
Doshic Effects: Balancing for Vata and Pitta
Benefits & Use: Fennel seed is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs and bronchitis as it contains creosol and alpha-pinene, chemicals that help to loosen congestion and make coughs more productive. For women, fennel increases the flow of breast milk, promotes menstruation, eases the birthing process, and increases sex drive. Additionally, fennel water alleviates colic pain and indigestion in newborns.
Additional Uses: Aperitif; mental focus; acidity; water retention
In the Kitchen: Fennel seed can be used whole or ground up, and are used in both sweet and savory recipes. When choosing to use them whole, be sure to crack the seeds slightly using the heel of a chef's knife or bottom of a frying pan to release the fragrant oils. Fennel seed is also a common ingredient in loose tea blends (like this calming tea) and can also be steeped in hot water and enjoyed on its own.
Recipe: After-Dinner Belly Soothing Tea
- 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
- 1 tsp dried peppermint leaves
- 1 1/2 tsp fennel seeds, lightly crushed
- 1/2 tsp dried cut ginger pieces (not ground)
- 8 oz. boiling water
- honey to taste (optional)
Combine the chamomile, fennel, ginger, and peppermint in a tea pot or mug. Pour boiling water over. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain tea, then sweeten with honey, if desired.