Learn how you can use fennel tea for babies and why is it advisable to include it in your baby’s diet!
Fennel is a perennial aromatic herb that is grown in temperate regions all over the world. Traditionally, fennel fruits were used in traditional herbal medicine in Europe and China since ancient times. It also finds a place in many Ayurvedic medicinal formulations. Gripe water, the popular over the counter remedy for colicky babies, contains fennel as one of its ingredients. In addition to its medicinal uses, it adds flavor and aroma to food. Read on to know the composition and the various properties of fennel and whether or not it’s safe to consider fennel tea for babies!
- Fennel is rich in phytonutrients and minerals like Manganese, Calcium, Zinc, Sodium, Potassium, Copper, Magnesium, Selenium, and Iron.
- Vitamins A, B6, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiamine, and Vitamin C are present in significant amounts.
- Contains protein, carbohydrates, water, and lipids and has good fiber content.
Effects on general health
- Has an anti-inflammatory property
- Has a diuretic effect and also regulates blood glucose levels and aids in lowering blood pressure.
- The antioxidants help boost immunity and keep seasonal flu, cough, and cold at bay. Furthermore, vitamin C content fights the damaging effects of free radicals in the body.
- It functions as an analgesic and relieves pain.
- Prevents the formation of blood clots and exhibits an estrogenic effect.
- Fennel maintains hydration of the body and is hence, a good alternative to caffeinated beverages.
- Acts as a detoxifying agent, helping to clear toxins from the body, especially from the liver.
Effects on digestion
- Antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties help prevent and treat bacterial infections that cause diarrhea, dysentery, and indigestion.
- Fennel helps soothe digestion, aids food assimilation, treats abdominal bloating, cramps, colic, flatulence, and rectifies internal hormonal imbalance.
- Eating fennel after a rich meal helps digestion and also helps treat dyspepsia (indigestion) in babies by stimulating bile production; it increases gastrointestinal motility and relieves constipation.
- Boosts metabolism and aids in regulating appetite, and is, therefore, an effective agent for weight loss.
- Anti-spasmodic property helps relax muscles and relieve painful spasms of the GI tract. As it relaxes muscles, it also has a calming and soporific effect on babies.
Effects on eyesight and the oral, respiratory systems
- Phytonutrients and compounds present in fennel help clear sinus and chest congestion by clearing mucus from the airways.
- Fennel seeds, when chewed, instantly freshens breath.
- Improves your eyesight and potentially treats glaucoma.
How Safe is Fennel?
Considering the health benefits of fennel, it is a very economical and easy to use natural remedy for health issues. Apart from adding it to our food, fennel can be steeped in hot water to make ‘Fennel Tea’. The tea is useful in getting relief from common health problems both in babies and adults.
Fennel tea is pure, less processed, safe to use, and well tolerated even by infants. It has been classified as GRAS (generally recognized as safe) by the FDA. Fennel seed tea is used as a standard medicinal tea for dyspepsia in Germany.
Fennel Tea for Babies – Recipes
- 2 tsp fennel seeds
- roots or leaves
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp honey
- Crush the fennel in a mortar and pestle to release the essential oils.
- Boil water at low temperature and let it simmer.
- Add the crushed fennel seeds and let it slow boil for 10 minutes. [Do not boil on high flame as the essential oils will evaporate.]
- Strain and add sugar or honey.
- Let it cool down and feed it to your baby in small quantities throughout the day.
- If stored for long, the infusion might lose volatile oils. Therefore, consume the tea fresh.
- Avoid adding honey when giving it to babies under one year of age as there is a possibility of contamination of honey by clostridium bacteria, which can cause infant botulism.
- Honey 1 tsp
- Dandelion leaves 1 tsp
- Water 1 cup
- Fennel seeds 1 tsp
- Boil a cup of water.
- Take the dandelion leaves and crushed fennel in a bowl and pour the boiling water on them.
- Now, heat the mixture on low flame for 10 minutes. Strain and add honey.
- Give 2-3 tablespoons of the infusion twice a day to children over 1 year of age.
- Use mortar and pestle to crush one tsp of fennel seeds.
- Add hot water and allow it to steep before straining it.
- Feed a tablespoon of the water to your baby after meals.
- Breastfeeding mothers can directly drink the water instead of giving it to the baby.
- For bottle-fed babies, add 3 tbsps of the tea to the bottle.
For Indigestion and Cough
- One inch piece of ginger
- 1 tsp fennel seeds
- 2 cups of water
- 1 tsp honey (optional)
- Peel and chop the ginger and crush the fennel seeds.
- Boil the ginger and fennel seeds in 2 cups of water for about 10 minutes on a low flame.
- Strain the tea and let it cool. Now, add honey and give a tbsp to your baby.
This tea relieves constipation, cold, and cough.
Now that you have a good insight into the benefits of fennel, it is important to be aware of the possible side-effects as well.
Using fennel is remarkably safe for your babies as long as the quantity is in control. However, you must keep in mind certain side effects and precautions before giving it to your baby.
- Some babies might be allergic to fennel; hence it is better to take a doctor’s advice before giving it to your baby.
- Always initiate consumption by giving a minimal amount, wait for two days, and then continue if there are no allergic reactions.
- Possible side effects include rashes, inflamed skin, nausea, chest pain, itchy skin, vomiting, and breathing difficulty.
- Do not give fennel tea to your baby before or after any medical procedure.
- Avoid using it if your baby is on any antibiotics or any other medication.
- Do not give it to your babies if they are sensitive to carrots, mugwort, or celery.
- Fennel should be avoided if your child suffers from seizures or epilepsy.
- Always use small quantities and for a short period.
- Estragole, a natural ingredient in fennel fruit, has been found to have a carcinogenic effect when isolated and administered to rats and mice in a study. More studies are needed to evaluate the metabolism of fennel in humans.
- Never give whole fennel seeds to your babies as they might cause choking.
Equipped with adequate knowledge about the myriad of benefits of fennel tea for babies, cautiously introduce it in your baby’s diet and let us know your feedback in the comments!