I LOVE tea.
Or as I recently learned from tea aficionados, I love “herbal infusions.” If you are in the company of tea experts, the word “tea” is used exclusively for brews coming from the tea plant (think white tea, black tea, and green tea).
But personally, if I infuse plants in water, I call the resulting liquid…tea. Tomayto, tomahto…am I right?!
One of my favorite self-care activities is to open up my herb & spice cabinet and concoct tea blends. Sometimes I create magic, and sometimes I create disasters.
But this particular combination I am sharing with you today is one of my favorites.
Not only is it helpful for aiding digestion, but it also tastes delicious!
It’s made with:
- Fennel seeds
Rooibos is a plant native to South Africa.
It has the following properties and health benefits [1,2]:
- Rich in vitamin C
- Cancer prevention
- Improved cholesterol levels
Rooibos pairs well with spices commonly used in chai (such as ginger and cloves) and can be used in place of black tea to make a caffeine-free chai blend.
Allspice is native to Jamaica. It grows from a tree with light gray bark and dark green leaves. The allspice berries are picked from the tree when they are green and then dried in the sun where they turn brown.
Allspice grown in Jamaica is known for being more potent than that grown in other countries. Specifically, it is known for containing a higher content of essential oils.
Traditional uses of allspice include: colds, menstrual cramps, dyspepsia (upset stomach), sore joints, muscle aches, respiratory congestion, toothache, poor circulation, headaches, stress, depression, fatigue, high blood pressure, and obesity.
Allspice berries are abundant in an antioxidant known as Eugenol. Eugenol is known for its ability to promote production of digestive enzymes.
They also contain quercetin, gallic acid, and ericifolin. Quercetin acts as a mast cell stabilizer which can be helpful for those with histamine intolerance. These antioxidants are also known for having anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and anti-viral properties.
The clove tree is native to Indonesia.
Similarly to allspice, cloves are rich in eugenol which can aid digestive enzyme production. They are also rich in a variety of other beneficial compounds such as gallic acid and flavonoids.
Cloves have the following properties and health benefits:
- Antioxidant rich- among the highest antioxidant content of all spices
- Antibacterial– research shows it has antibacterial activity against all food-borne pathogens!
- Antifungal– a mouse model showed promising effects for cloves in the prevention and treatment of vaginal candidiasis
- Pain relieving
- Antiviral– due to the presence of eugenol
I’ve covered the health benefits of cinnamon in depth in a previous post (Simple Antimicrobial Pho), so I will skip that here.
But as it relates to digestion, cinnamon has been used traditionally for the following:
Ginger is another spice that I have covered extensively in other posts. Check it out here:
Fennel seeds have a history of use for the following conditions :
- Irritable colon (now known as irritable bowel syndrome)
- Abdominal pain
- Liver pain
- Gum disorders
- Eye blurriness or itching
Are you ready for a simple and delicious way to get these healing spices into your diet? Here we go!
- 2 Tbsp loose leaf rooibos
- 1 tsp whole dried allspice berries
- 6 whole dried cloves
- 2 dried cinnamon sticks
- 3 inch chunk fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
- 1 Tbsp dried fennel seeds
- 12 cups water
- Spices should be available in the bulk section of well-stocked natural food stores.
- I recommend purchasing organic ginger as I have noticed it has a more robust color and flavor which indicates more potent healing properties.
- Feel free to use additional ginger if you are a big ginger fan!
 Sasaki M, Nishida N, Shimada M. A Beneficial Role of Rooibos in Diabetes Mellitus: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Molecules. 2018;23(4)
 Mckay DL, Blumberg JB. A review of the bioactivity of South African herbal teas: rooibos (Aspalathus linearis) and honeybush (Cyclopia intermedia). Phytother Res. 2007;21(1):1-16.
 Zhang L, Lokeshwar BL. Medicinal properties of the Jamaican pepper plant Pimenta dioica and Allspice. Curr Drug Targets. 2012;13(14):1900-6.
 Cortés-rojas DF, De souza CR, Oliveira WP. Clove (Syzygium aromaticum): a precious spice. Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2014;4(2):90-6.
 Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology. Biomed Res Int. 2014;2014:842674.