FENNELFennel seeds, from the bitter fennel plant (Foeniculum vulgare subsp. vulgare var. vulgare) —well known in national cuisines from India to Italy—are highly regarded for their capacity to ease uncomfortable feelings of fullness, bloating or gassiness, or as an all-around promoter of healthy digestion.*
Sweet and mildly bitter, with a distinct licorice-like taste, the bitter fennel that soothes digestion is not the same as the sweet fennel that is ubiquitous in food and flavoring. Herbalists look for bitter fennel seeds that have high essential oil content, because it is the oils which contribute to that pleasantly soothing experience. Look for little droplets of oil on the top of fennel tea as a sign of extremely high quality.