Fennel tea for pregnant women, infants and children under 4 years

Swissmedic’s preliminary recommendation


Fennel is traditionally attributed anti-flatulent and cramp-relieving properties. Fennel tea and other medicinal products containing fennel are often consumed by pregnant women and given to infants.

Fennel naturally contains estragole. The latest studies indicate that high quantities of estragole may be harmful to health. The relevance of the currently available data to humans has not yet been conclusively clarified and is the subject of further research.

Exact dosage of the active substance is not possible in teas. Factors such as the temperature and amount of water used or the brewing time affect the quantity of the ingredients that are released and therefore consumed.

Swissmedic therefore recommends the following:

  • Use for children under 4 years only in consultation with a healthcare professional
  • Not to be used during pregnancy and breastfeeding

Swissmedic is in contact with the marketing authorisation holders of the products concerned and will take measures if necessary (e.g. revision of the package leaflet). There are currently eight authorised medicinal products that contain fennel.

Estragole is contained naturally in many plants that are consumed as foodstuffs. There are also fennel teas that are sold as food products. However, these products do not fall under Swissmedic’s area of responsibility.