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Fennel: Freshen Up!
Foeniculum vulgaris • Sanskrit: Shatapushpa • Hindi: Saunf
Fennel is a gentle home remedy useful for many stomach and intestinal discomforts. It can be used safely by children and the elderly for gas, cramps, indigestion, abdominal pains and gastrointestinal spasms. It is an indispensable herb for nursing mothers and babies because it both promotes lactation and soothes colic. At Indian restaurants, one usually encounters a bowl of roasted fennel seeds at the exit so that after indulging, a spoonful can be chewed to aid digestion and help prevent gas formation. You can easily roast your own at home and keep them out to munch any time to gently warm your digestive fire. Simply dry roast the seeds in a skillet until they are slightly browned and you begin to smell the medicinal aroma. Fennel makes a delicious after-dinner tea, on its own or with a little fresh ginger.
Fennel is an amiable component to add to just about any masala chai recipe because it offers a delicate hint of licorice flavor that will never overpower. And because fennel is not hot, like many other chai spices, it is the perfect flavorful addition to a summer chai or a children’s masala. It has become a mainstay in our house chai since the birth of our daughter to help keep “mother’s milk” flowing. The seeds are soft, so you can either toss them into your masala whole, or crush them a little in a mortar with a pestle to unlock the flavor.
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