Peppermint and fennel are two herbs that can be steeped in hot water to make tea. These herbal teas may not always be available in grocery stores, although some large tea manufacturing companies do ship peppermint tea to chain stores around Christmas time. To find peppermint and fennel tea at any time of the year, try an organic or natural foods store.
Peppermint Medicinal Benefits
Peppermint helps the body to fight off and expel pathogens such as viruses and bacteria, according to Rebecca Wood in her book, ''The New Encyclopedia of Whole Foods.'' It also helps to stimulate blood circulation and lymph drainage throughout the body. In traditional Chinese medicine, forces such as heat and dampness, among others, are thought to cause a disharmony in the body. Peppermint tea is considered to have cooling properties, which make it useful to treat symptoms suggesting an overabundance of heat in the body, such as menstrual cramps and hives. Peppermint can also increase perspiration, aiding in body detoxification. Peppermint is not recommended for children or those suffering from fibroids, cysts or endometriosis.
Medicinal Benefits of Fennel
Fennel is a warming herb that is supportive of the bladder, kidneys, spleen, stomach and liver. The seeds of the fennel plant have the highest potency for medicinal applications. Fennel tea has the effect of treating indigestion and gas, and it also stimulates peristalsis, the slow contracting of the colon, therefore encouraging bowel movement. Fennel tea is also used as an eye tonic and can be used as eye drops to reduce redness and inflammation.
Making Herbal Tea
You have a number of options in making herbal tea. Herbal teas such as peppermint and fennel can be purchased loose or pre-packaged in individual tea bags.
To brew loose tea requires a special mesh locket or a tea steeper. Boil water, and let the tea steep from 2 to 5 minutes or as directed on the packaging. The longer the tea is left to steep, the stronger the flavor becomes. Distilled water is most effective at bringing out the medicinal properties of any kind of tea.
Purchasing Herbal Tea
Herbal teas are not readily available at chain stores and big box grocery stores. The highest-quality herbal tea can be found in organic and natural food stores. Tea should be stored in a dry, cool place to preserve the herbs for as long as possible.
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Peppermint
- NYU: Langone Medical Center: Fennel
- ''The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia''; Rebecca Wood; 2010
- ''Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 2nd Edition"; Michael Murray and Joseph Pizzorno; 1998
- Doc Misha's Chicken Soup Chinese Medicine: Introduction to Chinese Medicine
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