Q. I am 68 years old and have a lot of trouble with gas. You suggested using fennel seed tea.
I have had success with that, but fennel tastes a lot like licorice. I have heard that licorice is not good for your health. Does fennel create the same problems?
A. The ingredient in licorice that can raise blood pressure is a sweet-tasting compound called glycyrrhizin. But the licorice-like flavor shared by anise, fennel and licorice is created by a natural compound called anethole, which does not affect blood pressure. In fact, anethole, along with a number of other spice-derived nutraceuticals, shows promise as an anti-inflammatory compound (Nutrition and Cancer, online Dec. 9, 2011).