Fennel plant health benefits

Contents

Why is fennel good for you?

The nutrients in fennel are linked to a range of health benefits.

Bone health

The vitamin and mineral content in fennel contributes to building and maintaining bone structure and strength in the following ways:

  • Phosphate and calcium are both important in bone structure.
  • Iron and zinc are crucial for the production and maturation of collagen.
  • Bone matrix formation requires the mineral manganese.
  • Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.

Vitamin K is important for health, as it modifies bone matrix proteins, improves calcium absorption, and may reduce the excretion of calcium in urine.

Blood pressure

Share on PinterestThe nitrates in fennel can help moderate blood pressure.

Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential for lowering blood pressure, but increasing potassium intake may be just as important because of its role in vasodilation, the dilation and contraction of blood vessels.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), fewer than 2 percent of American adults meet the daily 4,700 mg recommendation for potassium.

In addition, there is evidence that potassium, calcium, and magnesium decrease blood pressure naturally. All of these are present in fennel.

Dietary nitrates present in fennel and other foods have vasodilatory and vasoprotective properties. Because of this, they help lower blood pressure and protect the heart.

One 2014 study found that blood pressure levels were lower after taking nitrate supplements.

Heart health

The fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrient content in fennel, coupled with its lack of cholesterol, all support heart health.

Fennel contains significant amounts of fiber. Fiber decreases the risk of heart disease as it helps reduce the total amount of cholesterol in the blood.

Potassium appears to promote heart health. In one study, people who consumed 4,069 mg of potassium per day had a 49 percent lower risk of death from ischemic heart disease compared with those who consumed around 1,793 mg per day.

Vitamin B-6 and folate prevent the build-up of a compound called homocysteine by converting it into a different compound, methionine. When excessive amounts of homocysteine build up, it can damage blood vessels and lead to heart problems.

Cancer

Selenium is a mineral in fennel but not most other fruits and vegetables (as it is primarily found in Brazil nuts and animal proteins). It contributes to liver enzyme function and helps detoxify some cancer-causing compounds in the body. Selenium can also prevent inflammation and decrease tumor growth rates.

Fiber intake from fruits and vegetables like fennel are associated with a lower risk of colorectal cancer.

Vitamin C, vitamin A, and beta-carotene are powerful antioxidants that can help protect cells against damage from free radicals.

Fennel contains folate, which plays a role in DNA synthesis and repair. This might help prevent cancer cells from forming because of mutations in the DNA.

Immunity

The selenium found in fennel appears to stimulate production of killer T-cells. This suggests that it can improve the immune response to infection.

Inflammation

Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in fennel that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory.

It also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.

Metabolism

Fennel is a source of vitamin B-6, which plays a vital role in energy metabolism by breaking down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids. These smaller compounds are more easily used for energy within the body.

Digestion and regularity

The fiber content in fennel helps to prevent constipation and promotes regularity for a healthy digestive tract.

Weight management and satiety

Dietary fiber is an important factor in weight management and works as a “bulking agent” in the digestive system.

These compounds increase satiety and reduce appetite, making an individual feel fuller for longer and so lowering overall calorie intake.

Increasing iron absorption

Iron deficiency is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, affecting around 2 billion people globally. It is also a leading cause of anemia.

Pairing high-vitamin-C foods, such as fennel, with iron-rich foods can improve the ability of the body to absorb iron.

Estrogen

Estrogen occurs naturally in fennel. It plays a central role in regulating the female reproductive cycle, and it can also determine fertility.

A study on mice conducted by The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that estrogen also plays an important role in controlling factors that contribute to body weight, such as appetite, body fat distribution and energy expenditure.

Menopausal women have lower estrogen levels which are associated with more abdominal weight gain.

Premenstrual syndrome

Some research has suggested that fennel extract may reduce the effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS).

Skin

Raw fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential to collagen, the support system of the skin, and also works as an antioxidant to help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke.

Vitamin C also promotes the ability of collagen to smooth wrinkles and improve the overall texture of the skin.

15 Impressive Benefits of Fennel

The health benefits of fennel are many and include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and menstrual disorders. It also aids in eye care. Fennel, which has the scientific name Foeniculum vulgare miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpaste, desserts, antacids, and in various culinary applications.

What is Fennel?

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an aromatic herb that originated in the Mediterranean region and has many culinary and medicinal uses. It has not been spread and naturalized as an herb around the world, but still primarily grows in coastal climates and on riverbanks. It is one of the main components of the alcohol absinthe, although the plant itself does not have the hallucinogenic properties for which the liquor is known.

Apart from the uses of fennel already mentioned, there are numerous medicinal uses and health benefits, mainly due to the components of its essential oils, which are summarized below.

Complete your platter with a handful of fresh fennel seeds. Photo Credit:

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, fennel bulb is a source of energy, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and other essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and sodium. It provides small amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin K. It also contains B-vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin A, flavonols.

Health Benefits of Fennel

Let us look at the top health benefits of fennel in detail:

Rich source of Vitamin C

One cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, making it quite a rich source of this beneficial vitamin of our diet. Vitamin C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissues, helps form collagen, and protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart diseases.

Prevents Anemia

Iron and histidine, an amino acid found in fennel, are both helpful in the treatment of anemia. Whereas iron is the chief constituent of hemoglobin, histidine stimulates the production of hemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood.

Relieves Indigestion

It is a common practice, particularly in the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This has been done for many years as it is thought to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.

Some of the components in the fennel essential oil are stimulants as they encourage secretion of digestive and gastric juices, reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines, and facilitate proper absorption of nutrients from the food. Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. It also has anti-acidic (basic) properties and is extensively used in antacid preparations. In culinary applications, it is also used as the main ingredient in many appetizers.

Reduces Flatulence

Fennel is very popular as an antiflatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in it. Its extract can be used by many, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medications to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.

Treats Constipation

Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, is thought to act as a laxative, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote excretion. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

Reduces Heart Diseases

Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream, according to research conducted, in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This means that it can stimulate the elimination of damaging LDL or bad cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart diseases, atherosclerosis, and strokes.

Anticancer Potential

The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied with regards to cancer protection. However but the fennel seed extract has been explored a bit more, and the findings of one study regarding cancer protection were quite impressive. It shows that, in animal subjects, the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but it even has potential to be chemoprotective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. According to the same study, fennel seed extract exhibits anticancer potential against breast cancer and liver cancer.

Regulates Blood Pressure

Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes as per a report published in the Journal of Hypertension. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Also, for diabetics, blood pressure issues can make the management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications. Incorporating a cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet can increase your potassium levels and all the benefits that come along with it.

Improves Brain Function

Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This is according to research published in the Yale University School of Medicine in 1939. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.

Effective Diarrhea Remedy

Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea caused by bacterial infections, as some components such as anethol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.

Alleviates Symptoms of Colic

There are studies that suggest that herbal tea made using various herbs including fennel and fennel oil have the potential to relieve symptoms of colic. Fennel has certain antispasmodic qualities which also help it relax muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with the colic. Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of renal colic. Such polymers, also called phytoestrogens, are found in anethole, a component of the fennel essential oil. However, more scientific research is required to investigate the benefits and effects on humans.

Boosts Immunity

Fennel being rich in many nutrients including vitamin C helps boost the immune system and protects the body against infections and damage caused by free radicals.

Regulates Menstruation

Fennel is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it is thought to ease and regulate menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of consumer products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.

Eye Care

Incorporating fennel into meals can help protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as help reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the abundance of antioxidants (vitamin C and amino acids like arginine are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers, and stimulants. They are specifically found in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of its leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied to the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue.

Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.

Treats Respiratory Disorders

Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such as congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of cineole and anethole, which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body to ensure quick recovery from respiratory conditions.

Other Benefits & Uses

Fennel is a diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. It is also touted as increasing the production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers; since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby, as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory, and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer. This can be achieved if the pale, greenish-yellow water, in which it is soaked, is ingested with a bit of sugar and black salt.

Words of Caution: You must remember that often, too much of anything is harmful. Certain components of the fennel essential oil such as anethol, and a few other chemicals present in the plant itself can be dangerous if ingested in too large a quantity. You must remember that the compounds which can kill bacteria and microbes in low doses can be harmful to you too. Excess use of fennel can cause difficulty breathing, increased palpitations, irregular heartbeat, and various neural problems. So, enjoy fennel’s impressive benefits in moderation. If you have any questions, speak with a healthcare professional.

19 Amazing Benefits Of Fennel Seeds For Skin, Hair, And Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla Hyderabd040-395603080 August 22, 2019

Fennel seeds are considered quite useful for relieving various ailments, ranging from congestion and stomach gas to asthma and diabetes. The seeds contain powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants, the most potent of them being anethole, which makes them highly nutritious and powerful. Also called semillas de hinojo in Spanish, graines de fenouil in French, and budhur alfianal in Arabic, the seeds are too beneficial to ignore. Read on to find out more on the health benefits of fennel seeds.

Table Of Contents

  • What Are The Benefits of Fennel Seeds?
  • What Are The Nutrients In Fennel Seeds?

What Are The Benefits of Fennel Seeds?

1. Improve Digestive Health

Among the uses of fennel seeds, this one is quite popular. The seeds are used to treat an array of digestive ailments, including heartburn, intestinal gas (and infant gas), bloating, and even colic in infants. The seeds have antispasmodic and carminative effects, which can help treat other serious digestive ailments like irritable bowel syndrome (1).

Though there is less information, some sources suggest that fennel seeds might also help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diarrhea, constipation, and ulcerative colitis.

2. Treat Asthma And Other Respiratory Ailments

The phytonutrients in fennel seeds help clear sinuses – and this can relieve asthma symptoms. And their expectorant properties heal other respiratory ailments like bronchitis, cough, and congestion.

However, some studies suggest that fennel seeds might cause asthmatic symptoms. We recommend you talk to your doctor in this regard.

3. Benefit Breastfeeding Women

Fennel seeds contain a compound called anethole, which is a phytoestrogen that mimics the properties of the estrogen hormone and increases milk secretion in women. So, fennel seeds benefits lactating women.

Talking about pregnancy, we don’t have enough information to suggest if fennel seeds can be helpful during this period.

4. Combat Bad Breath

Chewing fennel seeds can freshen your breath. They have anise (or licorice) flavor. Simply munching on 5 to 10 fennel seeds freshens your breath. The seeds increase the production of saliva – thereby washing out the bacteria. The essential oil has antibacterial properties that help fight the germs that cause bad breath.

The longer you chew the seeds, the more refreshing they are.

5. Help Fight Diabetes

A 2008 study found that fennel essential oil might lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Fennel seeds are also a good source of vitamin C, the high intake of which was also found to lower blood sugar levels. Beta-carotene, another antioxidant in fennel seeds, has also been linked to reduced cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Also, since fennel seeds are low in glycemic index, they can be a good addition to a diabetes diet.

6. Increase Breast Growth

We have already seen that fennel can mimic the properties of human estrogen, which is why it can promote breast growth. However, due to limited information, we suggest you talk to your doctor before using fennel seeds for this purpose.

7. Help Lower Cholesterol Levels

The fiber in fennel seeds prevents the reabsorption of cholesterol. It achieves this by binding the bile salts, which consequently prevents heart-related ailments.

8. Cure Edema

Edema is the swelling of tissues in the body due to excess of fluid. Though there are no concrete studies, anecdotal evidence supports the efficacy of fennel seeds in curing edema. Anethole, one important compound in fennel seeds, can control blood pressure and flush out the excess water from the body. In addition, the seeds also improve kidney function, ultimately helping in flushing out toxins.

9. Boost Fertility

This might be true with fennel tea. Given its estrogenic properties, it might promote fertility and even induce labor in pregnant women.

However, there is lack of concrete research. We advise you to consult your doctor before using fennel for this purpose.

10. Regulate Blood Pressure Levels

One reason fennel seeds work wonders on blood pressure levels is their potassium levels. This mineral counteracts the ill effects of sodium and regulates the fluid amount in the bloodstream.

The seeds are also rich in calcium, another mineral imperative for optimum blood pressure. It helps keep the blood vessels toned – and even helps maintain heart rate. And the fiber in fennel seeds has also shown to regulate blood pressure levels.

Fennel seeds also contain nitrites (in fact, the highest amongst other seeds), compounds known to lower blood pressure levels. They are also rich in magnesium, which, as per some studies, can cut the risk of high blood pressure in women (2).

11. Aid Hernia Treatment

Some sources mention the use of fennel seeds by traditional Chinese medicine for treating hernia (3). However, we need more research to confirm if they can be used in mainstream hernia treatment.

12. Enhance Liver Health

In one 2011 study, fennel seeds inhibited liver cancer cells and increased the activity of certain antioxidant cells in the liver. Fennel seeds are rich in selenium, which improves the function of the liver enzymes and detoxifies some harmful compounds in the body.

Some sources suggest that fennel seeds might even help relieve urinary tract infection – but we need more research on this.

13. Can Promote Weight Loss

Being rich in fiber, fennel seeds can aid weight loss and keep hunger pangs at bay. The seeds also are said to decrease fat storage as they improve nutrient absorption.

Also, fennel seeds have diuretic properties. They increase urine output and flush out the excess fluid from the body (we already saw this). This also might contribute to weight loss. But there is something to be kept in mind – most often, the weight loss induced by fennel could be a direct consequence of water loss, and not fat loss.

One Korean study proved that intake of fennel tea could suppress appetite in overweight people (4).

14. Ease Morning Sickness

Fennel seeds can be used to calm the stomach and offer quick relief from morning sickness. Chewing fennel seeds or having fennel tea can help achieve this.

Fennel seeds also prevent stomach gas and encourage the expulsion of gas. This can help treat nausea, especially if it is caused due to digestive issues like flatulence or intestinal gas.

15. Improve Menstrual Symptoms

Preliminary studies have confirmed that fennel is safe and effective for easing menopause symptoms. Other studies have also confirmed the effectiveness of fennel in treating postmenopausal symptoms (5).

Interestingly, the phytoestrogenic properties of fennel seeds can also help treat menstrual symptoms like cramps and hot flashes (6).

16. Enhance Sleep Quality

Some sources suggest that the magnesium in fennel seeds can improve the quality and duration of sleep. The mineral also treats sleep disorders like insomnia.

17. Treat Candida

The antioxidants in fennel seeds can help treat candida. The seeds also possess antibacterial and antifungal properties – and can hence be effective against E.coli and Candida albicans, both of which cause candida.

In fact, fermented fennel seeds are far more powerful than the unfermented ones – when it comes to offering antifungal benefits. Taking a tablespoon of fennel seeds along with breakfast can help ease the symptoms. You can crush them and add to your breakfast. You can also consume fennel tea by steeping the seeds in hot water and taking the infused tea in the morning.

18. Tone And Improve Skin Appearance

We already spoke about the antimicrobial properties of fennel seeds – which also make them a wonderful remedy for skin problems.

For toning your skin, you can take a handful of fennel seeds and add them to boiling water. Allowed it to cool down. Then, add a few drops of fennel essential oil to the mixture. Filter it. Dab it on your face with the help of cotton balls as many times as you can throughout the day. Your skin will feel toned and thoroughly refreshed.

You can also use fennel seed steam facial for enhanced skin texture. Add a tablespoon of fennel seeds to one litre of boiling water. Lean over it and cover your head and neck with a towel for 5 minutes. Do this twice a week to clean the pores and make your skin glow.

You can also use a face mask, which is quite easy to prepare. Prepare a fennel seed infusion by adding a tablespoon of fennel seeds to half a cup of boiling water. Wait for 30 minutes and add a tablespoon each of oatmeal and honey to it. Make a smooth paste and apply it to your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes. Wash off with lukewarm water.

19. Improve Hair Health

The antioxidants and other antimicrobial properties in fennel seeds help treat a host of hair ailments. Some of these include dandruff, scalp itchiness, hair breakage, and hair fall. There are two ways you can use fennel seeds for boosting hair health.

One is fennel seed tea. You can pound three tablespoons of fennel seeds. Alternately, you may choose to invest in readymade fennel seed powder. Boil two cups of water and add it to the powdered seeds. Keep the solution aside for about 15 minutes. Use it as the last rinse after you have shampooed and conditioned your hair. This will boost hair health and prevent hair breakage and hair fall.

The other way is using a fennel seed-vinegar solution. You can use apple cider vinegar and glycerin along with fennel seeds to prepare a solution to treat an itchy and dry scalp. Boil a cup of water. Pour it over a spoon of crushed fennel seeds placed in a small bowl. Wait for 30 minutes. Add a spoon of vegetable glycerin and apple cider vinegar. Filter the solution with a cheesecloth. Massage it into your scalp and hair and leave it on for some time. Rinse it off. The best part is that this tonic can be stored in a glass container for weeks.

That’s with the list of benefits of fennel seeds. All of this wouldn’t be possible without the powerful nutrients in the seeds. Which is what we will look at now.

Back To TOC

What Are The Nutrients In Fennel Seeds?

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size 87g

Amounts Per Selected Serving
Calories 27 Calories from Fat 1
% Daily Value
Total Fat 0 g 0%
Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
Sodium 45 mg 2%
Total Carbohydrate 6 g 2%
Dietary Fibre 3 g 11%
Protein 1 g

Vitamins

Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Vitamin A 117 IU 2%
Vitamin C 10.4 mg 17%
Vitamin D ~ ~
Vitamin E (Alpha Tocopherol) ~ ~
Vitamin K ~ ~
Thiamin 0.0 mg 1%
Riboflavin 0.0 mg 2%
Niacin 0.6 mg 3%
Vitamin B6 0.0 mg 2%
Folate 23.5 mcg 6%
Vitamin B12 0.0 mcg 0%
Pantothenic Acid 0.2 mg 2%
Choline ~
Betaine ~

Minerals

Amounts Per Selected Serving %DV
Calcium 42.6 mg 4%
Iron 0.6 mg 4%
Magnesium 14.8 mg 4%
Phosphorus 43.5 mg 4%
Potassium 360 mg 10%
Sodium 45.2 mg 2%
Zinc 2.5 mg 1%
Copper 0.2 mg 3%
Manganese 0.1 mg 8%
Selenium 0.6 mcg 1%
Fluoride ~

Back To TOC

Conclusion

Though research is lacking in some aspects, overall, fennel seeds can give a boost to your health. Include them in your routine, and you will see the difference.

And tell us how this post on the benefits of fennel seeds has made your life better. Simply leave a comment below.

Expert’s Answers For Readers’ Questions

How much fennel can I consume in a day?

Five to seven grams of fennel seeds or 0.1 mL to 0.6 mL of the oil would do.

What can I substitute fennel seeds with?

Anise seeds can be a good substitute as they also have a licorice flavor. And since anise seeds have a stronger flavor, you can use them in small amounts.

Which part of fennel can we use?

The white fennel bulb and the green fronds are usually used. Fennel stalks are quite tough and generally not consumed.

  1. “Curcumin and fennel essential oil…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  2. “Magnesium”. University of Maryland Medical Center.
  3. “Fennel”. Purdue University.
  4. “Fennel…”. US National Library of Medicine.
  5. “Study confirms benefits of fennel…”. ScienceDirect.

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Ravi Teja Tadimalla

Ravi Teja Tadimalla is a Senior Content Writer who specializes in writing on Health and Wellness. He graduated from SRM University, Chennai, and has been in the field for well over 4 years now. His work involves extensive research on how one can maintain better health through natural foods and organic supplements. Ravi has written over 250 articles and is also a published author. Reading and theater are his other interests.

Fennel

The following monograph on fennel is an excerpt from the forthcoming book The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine.

Family Name: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)

MEDICINAL USES

Fennel seed is one of the most effective digestive aids, having carminative, smooth muscle antispasmodic, and stomachic properties. It is highly beneficial to reduce digestive cramping, gas, and bloating. The volatile oils contained in the seed stimulate the mucus membranes in the digestive tract, encouraging motility and peristalsis. The aromatic oils also exert smooth muscle antispasmodic and carminative actions. The seed tincture or tea is effective for treating intestinal spasms that result from conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, leaky gut syndrome, Celiac’s disease, and intestinal candidiasis. Fennel’s properties pass through breast milk, reducing infant colic. Fennel seed has anti-nauseant properties, aiding recovery from stomach flu, food poisoning, digestive infections, and hangovers. It anesthetizes pain resulting from a hiatal hernia and indigestion. Fennel decongests the liver and is a useful adjunct for conditions arising from liver stagnation.

Fennel seed complements cathartic laxative and purgative compounds, as well as digestive bitter and cholagogue formulas. It reduces griping caused by the more potent purgative and laxative herbs used for treating constipation. It also prevents cramping that result from cooling bitter herbs that stimulate excretion of bile from the gall bladder, such as Cheladonium (celandine), Cynara (artichoke leaf), Gentiana (gentian), or Berberis (Oregon grape). Fennel seed tincture can be combined to modify the harshness of cooling, bitter, antimicrobial herbs when treating digestive infections such as stomach flu, food poisoning, and giardia.

The seeds have moderate expectorant and antitussive properties; however, the antitussive actions are not as potent as anise, fennel’s cousin. While anise seed is preferred for treating respiratory conditions, fennel can be incorporated into compounds for treating dry, hacking coughs, bronchitis, pneumonia, and asthma.

Fennel seed has mild diuretic properties that reduce edema. This is likely one of the reasons it is included in weight loss formulas, though it was also used historically as an appetite suppressant.

Fennel seed has galactogogue actions, increasing the supply of breast milk. Additionally, the carminative properties pass through the breast milk and may be used to reduce infant colic.

A decoction of fennel seed, strained through a fine cloth or paper filter, may be used as eyewash for sore, strained, or bloodshot eyes, or with other anti-infective agents for conjunctivitis.

Fennel is used as a flavoring agent and a harmonizer in blends; however, some individuals despise the “licorice-like” flavor. To encourage compliance, it’s important to assess whether a patient enjoys the taste before including it in herbal compounds.

Fennel Essential Oil

The aroma of fennel seed essential oil is revitalizing, energizing, and helps to increase self motivation. It’s useful to reduce sluggishness and lethargy, and to improve energy levels. Incorporated into facial creams for mature skin, it refines the complexion. Fennel essential oil has long been included in soaps, detergents, creams, lotions, and perfumes.

The essential oil or spirits may be used internally with caution, in a one- to two-drop dose range. It has spasmolytic and mucolytic actions for the digestive and respiratory tract. It also reduces nausea, gas, and bloating.

CONTRAINDICATIONS

Fennel seeds are very gentle, but there are rare cases in which fennel causes allergic reactions in the skin and respiratory tract. Fennel seeds are not considered dangerous; however, the essential oil can be toxic in high doses.

Fennel seed essential oil use should be avoided during pregnancy. It has been reported to have estrogen-like activities; therefore, internal consumption of the essential oil should be avoided by individuals with estrogen-sensitive conditions (reproductive cancers, tumors, or cysts). Internal use of the essential oil should be avoided by lactating women and children under the age of ten. The essential oil can overexcite the nervous system, and may cause convulsions in sensitive individuals. Avoid use with existing nervous system conditions such as epilepsy, Parkinson’s, or multiple sclerosis. An overdose of the essential oil can cause skin irritation, allergy, nausea, vomiting, seizures, or pulmonary edema.

DESCRIPTION

Part(s) Used:The fruits (seeds) are used as medicine. The bulb and leaves are used for culinary purposes

Habitat and Locality: Fennel is native to the Mediterranean, and is cultivated throughout Europe, Asia, India, Australia, and North America. The herb is a biennial or perennial grown in temperate climates, and an annual when grown in colder climates. Italian fishermen were reputed to introduce fennel to California where it naturalized (or became an invasive weed). Fennel has spread through the coast of California and into Oregon, growing in dense colonies on roadsides and disturbed sites. Once planted, it is difficult to eradicate.

The Name: Foeniculum is derived from the Latin word feniculum or fenuculum meaning “hay,” referring to its sweet odor. The epithet vulgare originates from the Latin word vulgaris meaning “of or pertaining to the common people, common, or vulgar”.1 During the Middle Ages, Feoniculum was corrupted to fanculum, which evolved into the common name fenkel. The ancient Greeks named the plant Marathron, derived from mariano, meaning “to grow thin.” This refers to the plant’s use as an appetite suppressant for weight loss or times of famine.2 The Sanskrit name is shatapushpa whichtranslates as “what possesses a hundred flowers”.3 The following Latin names correspond with the common names: Foeniculum vulgare (common or wild fennel), F. vulgare var. ruburum (bronze fennel), F. vulgare var. dulce (sweet fennel), F. vulgare var. vulgare (bitter fennel), and F. vulgare var. azoricum (finnochio or Florence fennel).

Historical Uses: Fennel has been employed as food and medicine throughout the world and is used today in India, China, Europe, and North America. Ancient Romans cultivated fennel for its succulent edible shoots and fruits. Pliny, a Roman naturalist and historian, listed medicinal uses for fennel. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed fennel bestowed strength, courage, and longevity. In Medieval times, fennel and St. Johnswort were hung over doors on Midsummer’s Eve to ward off evil spirits and prevent witchcraft. Emperor Charlemagne (742-814 A.D) was credited for introducing fennel cultivation to Central and Northern Europe, where it was grown on his imperial farms. Fennel seeds were utilized as medicine for conditions of the lungs, kidneys, digestion, liver, spleen, and gallbladder. In Europe, fennel water, also known as la gripe water, was a household remedy for infant colic. Fennel leaves or seeds were boiled in barley water and consumed by nursing mothers to increase the flow of breast milk and impart strength to the infant. Fennel seeds were added to purgatives to prevent griping pain. Fennel seeds are still used as an ingredient in cordials and liqueurs; they are consumed as an aperitif or digestif. It was a common practice in Europe to boil fish with fennel leaves to reduce the odor and improve digestion of fatty fish. Fennel was believed to restore vision and strengthen the eyes. Water-based preparations of fennel were used to treat eye infections. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, fennel was used as a powder poultice for slowly healing snakebites. Powdered fennel sprinkled throughout kennels and stables was said to ward off fleas.2(p293-297),4,5

Anethole structure

Medicinal Properties:Aromatic, carminative, stomachic, antispasmodic, antitussive, expectorant, diuretic, galactagogue, and harmonizer.

Energetic Properties: Warm, sweet, bitter, and acrid. However, Ayurvedic practitioner Vasant Lad lists the seeds as slightly cooling.3

METHODS OF PREPARATION AND DOSAGE

Tincture: Fresh seed or dry seed ; consume 15-60 drops, up to three times a day.

Glycerite: Fresh ;consume 15-60 drops, up to three times a day.

Capsules: Consume two “00” capsules, up to three times per day.

Tea: The seeds can be prepared as a standard infusion, cold infusion, or a decoction. Consume up to 32 ounces per day of the tea. Fennel decoction has a richer flavor and creamier consistency than the infusion. A fennel milk decoction can be prepared by simmering the crushed seeds in milk for 10 minutes on a low temperature.

Honey and Syrups: One option is to make infused syrup. Decoct fennel seeds to half the original volume, strain the seeds, and sweeten to taste with honey, maple syrup, or simple syrup. Consume one teaspoon, up to four times a day. Store the syrup in the fridge for up to one month. Another option is to add one to two drops of the organic essential oil to a teaspoon of honey or simple syrup, and mix thoroughly. Consume or add to a cup of hot water or herbal tea.

Culinary Uses: The seeds and essential oil have long been used as a flavoring agent in beverages, condiments, and foods. Add the seeds to breads, cookies, and other baked goods. Prepare a delicious digestive chew by combining fennel seed, anise seed, cardamom seed, orange peel, and chopped, crystalized ginger. Or consume the seeds following a meal to enhance digestion and as a breath freshening agent. Dry roast the seeds to enhance the aromatics.

The finely chopped fresh leaves are a lovely addition to salads, root vegetable dishes, vinaigrettes, marinades, soups, herbal butters, cream sauce, fish or chicken dishes. The tender bulbs are edible in the fall of the first year, but they can become very fibrous after that season. Fennel bulbs are delicious sautéed with a little butter, cream, sherry, onions, salt, and pepper.

Preparations Using the Essential Oil: Fennel spirits can be made by adding one part by volume of fennel essential oil to ten parts by volume of organic alcohol. Consume one to two drops of the spirits, one to three times a day. Place one to two drops of fennel seed essential oil on a sugar cube or in one teaspoon of honey; dissolve into one cup of warm water and drink. Place 2-4 drops of the essential oil into one teaspoon of base oil and massage into the belly (for adults); for children, only use one drop diluted in base oil and massage into the belly.

WORKS CITED

The aroma of this crunchy, licorice-like herb can be found emanating from a cup of tea or even your stovetop. Fennel is a spice used for both culinary and medicinal purposes, which makes it a household staple. Not to mention, it contains vitamin C, potassium, and fiber, among other nutrients, but what does it do for your health?

Fennel is generally safe to consume due to its long history as a spice. While it’s not recommended for pregnant women, typical daily doses of fennel are 5 to 7 grams of the seed or 0.1 to 0.6 milliliters of the oil. Similar to most plant-based foods, its benefits can be enjoyed by adding it to dozens of foods, such as sprinkling it on breads or cakes before baking, add-ons in fruit salads, sautéed vegetables, or chewing fennel seeds after meals.

The crunchy superfood has been used in alternative medicine as an effective aid in treating a variety of ailments. Mary Czarnecki, a wellness advocate with doTERRA, told Medical Daily in an email the benefits of fennel date back to ancient times when “Roman warriors were said to have consumed fennel to make them strong and ready for battle. Fennel is best known for its distinct licorice aroma and taste, yet its ability to ease digestive troubles and monthly menstrual cycles are equally noteworthy.”

Learn how fennel can be beneficial not just in the kitchen but nutritionally as well by providing natural relief of these health conditions:

1. Protects Against Aging

Fennel is a natural aid for skin care. Fennel seeds, stalks, bulbs, and leaves are all packed with nutrition and are an excellent source of B vitamins. These vitamins, including vitamin C, are essential for maintaining good skin health and even promote collagen synthesis to keep the skin firm and tight. Cindy Jones, CEO of Colorado Aromatics, uses fennel extract in her Springtide Anti-aging face cream, part of her natural skin care line. “Fennel extracts have long been known to be great for the skin and are used as an anti-aging ingredient,” she told Medical Daily in an email.

A 2012 study published in the journal Die Pharmazie found a cream containing fennel extract contained anti-aging effects on the skin. It improved skin texture and skin moisture. Fennel extracts are valuable as an anti-aging ingredient in many other skin care products.

2. Protects Against Cancers

Fennel contains several nutrients that play a vital role in protecting you from cancer. The herb contains an anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called anethole, which occurs naturally in fennel, known to have anti-cancer effects by stopping breast cancer cells from growing. A 2012 study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer found anethole has been shown to reduce NF-kappa B — a gene-altering and inflammation-triggering molecule — along with tumor necrosis factor (TNF) — a cancer-signaling molecule.

Moreover, diets rich in fiber, says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDE, registered dietitian, nutritionist, and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, have been associated with a decreased risk of colorectal cancer.

“Since one fennel bulb provides about 7 grams of fiber, this is another reason why fennel is considered to be good for cancer prevention,” she told Medical Daily in an email.

3. Soothes Colicky Babies

Colicky babies are characterized by crying constantly and hard at about the same time each day for at least three days a week. Although nothing can be done to help them feel better, breastfeeding mothers can sip on fennel tea to calm the digestive tract and help relieve gas and symptoms of colic.

“Fennel may act as a carminative, which is a substance that prevents the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, helping colic in babies,” Beth Warren, a registered dietician and nutritionist in Brooklyn, N.Y., told Medical Daily in an email.

A 2003 study published in the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine found the use of fennel oil emulsion eliminated colic in 65 percent of the infants in the treatment group compared to the 24 percent of infants in the control group. This provides proof fennel seed oil can reduce intestinal spasms and increase motility of the small intestine. It alleviates gastric pain and discomfort associated with indigestion, abdominal bloating, nausea, belching, and flatulence.

4. Relieves Menstrual Cramps

Stress and a poor diet can affect a woman’s regular menstrual cycle. Women often report menstrual cramps and in some cases dysmenorrhea, which is known as painful menstruation. Fennel can help relax the muscles in the body and contains nutrients that are anti-inflammatory, antioxidants, and antispasmodic, which can help reduce and alleviate these symptoms.

A 2012 study published in the journal Ayurveda found a capsule of 30-milligram fennel extract alleviated menstrual pain when administered four times a day for three days at the start of their menstrual period. It’s important to remember because fennel is antispasmodic, it not only causes muscular relaxation, it can also significantly increase the risk of menstrual bleeding. Those with a history of excessive bleeding are advised to be cautious and consult with their doctor first.

5. Reduces Obesity

The consumption of fennel helps suppress appetite by creating a feeling of satiety. Fennel is a good source of dietary fiber. It boosts your metabolism while breaking down fats and reducing water retention, which are known to be the common cause of temporary weight gain.

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Animal Physiology and Animal Nutrition found fennel can help regulate overeating. Fennel also helps dissolve fat deposits in the bloodstream and allows it to be used as an energy source. The herb is also known as a natural diuretic that aids in the formation and secretion of urine, reducing water retention.

6. Prevents Osteoporosis

The fennel bulb contains several nutrients, including, iron, phosphorous, calcium, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and vitamin K, which contribute to building and maintaining strong bones. A 2012 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine found eating fennel seeds had a beneficial effect on loss of bone mineral density and bone mineral content in post-menopausal bone loss and osteoporosis. The fennel worked by reducing osteoclast — cells that break down weakened bone — differentiation and function. This offers a protective effect on the bones.

The next time you pick up fennel from your grocery store, remember its use goes beyond the culinary realm and can provide an array of medicinal benefits that promote overall well-being.

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9 Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds

India’s love affair with fennel needs no introduction. The seed spice dominates a variety of our preparations. Did you know that India happens to be the largest exporter of fennel seeds, widely known as saunf. A common practice in most Indian households is to have few fennel seeds or saunf at the end of every meal. This practice you might think is to freshen the mouth, but think again. A concentrated source of minerals like Copper, Potassium, Calcium, Zinc, Manganese, Vitamin C, Iron, Selenium and Magnesium, the age old practice does much more than simply beat bad breath. From regulating blood pressure to water retention, fennel seeds pack a bevy of nutrients that make it a must have in your kitchen. In size and shape they resemble cumin or zeera, but fennel is a different spice altogether. Having sad that, without much ado, let’s learn about fennel seeds benefits.

Here are some 9 great fennel seed benefits:

1. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure:
A study published in the Journal of Food Science, found that chewing on fennel seeds helped increased the nitrite content in saliva, making it a great natural way to keep a check on blood pressure levels. Apart from this, fennel seeds are also a very rich source of potassium and since potassium is an essential component of cells and body fluids, it helps control your heart rate and blood pressure.

(Also Read: Blood Pressure: 6 Foods For Managing Blood Pressure)

Fennel seeds help regulate blood pressure.

2. Reduce Water Retention :
Drinking fennel tea, regularly helps flush out excess fluids as it works as a diuretic. In addition, fennel seed helps remove toxins and reduces the risk of urinary tract problems. It also has diaphoretic properties that stimulate perspiration.

3. Fennel Tea for Constipation, Indigestion, IBS & Bloating:
The tea is considered very useful to help indigestion, bloating and constipation because of the oils found in these seeds. Fennel seeds contain estragole, fenchone and anethole, which contribute to the plant’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. For those with IBS, the volatile oils found in fennel seeds can help kick start digestion by promoting the production of gastric enzymes. For its multitude of gastrointestinal benefits, fennel tea is sure to help the digestive tract be healthy and happy.

4. Fennel Seeds Reduce Asthma Symptoms :
Fennel seeds and their phytonutrients help clear sinuses. Sinus is a condition in which the cavities around the nasal passages become inflamed. They make a great tea to aid with bronchitis, congestion and cough as they have expectorant properties.
(Also Read: World Asthma Day 2016: Home Remedies to Treat Asthma)

Fennel seeds are known to reduce asthma symptoms.

5. Helps Purify Blood:
The essential oils and fiber in these seeds are considered very useful to flush out toxins and sludge from our bodies, thus helping to cleanse the blood. It is very important to include foods in your diet that help cleanse your blood, to ensure there is smooth absorption of nutrients.

6. Improves Eyesight:
A handful of these seeds could do wonders for your eyesight too. Fennel seeds contain Vitamin A, which is important for eyesight. In ancient India, extracts of these seeds were used to improve the symptoms of glaucoma.

7. According to Ayurveda:
Fennel seeds reduce all 3 Trodosha (Vata, Pita, Kapha). The seeds have a cooling effect on the body. It is a good idea to consume a fennel seed drink during the scorching summer, to relieve heat from the body. The oil found in the seeds is carminative in nature, hence it is used in massage blends, especially in Ayurveda to calm the nerves and promote mental clarity.

Fennel seeds have a cooling effect on the body.

8. Great for Acne:
When fennel seeds are eaten on a regular basis, they provide the body with valuable minerals like zinc, calcium and selenium. These minerals are very helpful to balance hormones and in helping up the oxygen balance. When consumed, fennel has a cooling impact on the skin, hence giving a healthy glow.

9. Keeps Cancer Away:
The seeds also have very powerful free radical scavenging properties that help beat oxidative stress and protects the body from various cancers of the skin, stomach and breasts. Fennel seeds have a very potent chemo modulatory effect too.

In Ayurveda, fennel seeds are considered very auspicious. They were extensively used in various recipes in ancient India. The age-old secrets of health can be found in the simplest ingredients in our kitchens. We just need to unveil them.

Fennel seeds may keep cancer away.

Although, research is lacking in some aspects, but, fennel seeds may give a boost to your health. Add them to your daily diet and you will see the difference!
About the Author:Shilpa Arora ND is a renowned Health Practitioner, Nutritionist and certified Macrobiotic Health Coach. She has to her credit Doctorate in Natural Medicine. She is currently based in Delhi NCR region, successfully running her Nutrition Studio with individual consultations, offering life style programs supported by the most up-to-date clinical research.

Disclaimer:

The opinions expressed within this article are the personal opinions of the author. NDTV is not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, suitability, or validity of any information on this article. All information is provided on an as-is basis. The information, facts or opinions appearing in the article do not reflect the views of NDTV and NDTV does not assume any responsibility or liability for the same.

Five benefits of fennel tea

Share on PinterestFennel tea has long been enjoyed for its flavor, though many choose to drink it for its purported health benefits.

Through the ages, many health claims have been made for fennel, and drinking fennel tea is an established practice in traditional medicine throughout the world.

Although Western science has not verified all these benefits, humans have used fennel to:

  • relieve flatulence
  • encourage urination
  • boost metabolism
  • treat hypertension
  • improve eyesight
  • prevent glaucoma
  • regulate appetite
  • clear mucus from the airways
  • stimulate milk production in nursing women
  • speed digestion
  • reduce gas
  • reduce stress
  • detoxify the body

Share on PinterestFennel tea may aid healthy digestion, and treat bloating, gas, or cramps, and may also act as a diuretic.

According to herbalists, fennel seed is an effective aid to digestion. It can help the smooth muscles of the gastrointestinal system relax and reduce gas, bloating, and stomach cramps.

In fact, tinctures or teas made from fennel seeds can be used to treat stomach muscle spasms caused by irritable bowel syndrome, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and other conditions affecting the gastrointestinal system.

Fennel may also be used in combination with other herbal remedies to modify the side effects of herbal formulas used as laxatives, or other treatments for digestive problems.

1. Painful periods

Painful periods or dysmenorrhoea are a common problem for many women, who often use over-the-counter medications, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to treat the pain.

However, roughly 10-20 percent of women who suffer from severe cramping and discomfort during their period do not find relief through this approach.

Many turn to alternative or complementary treatments instead, and a 2012 study suggested that fennel can be helpful in this regard.

Researchers speculate that fennel helps keep the uterus from contracting, which is what prompts the pain reported by women with dysmenorrhea.

2. Colic

One of the significant benefits of fennel is its anti-spasmodic qualities. Because of this, some people believe that fennel tea may also play a role in reducing the symptoms of colic in infants.

3. Regulating blood sugar

Many herbalists and complementary healthcare practitioners recommend fennel tea as a way to regulate blood sugar.

A study in Bangladesh, in which mice were treated with an extract made from mentholated fennel seeds, found that, at some dosage levels, this extract reduced blood glucose levels at a rate comparable to that of standard antihyperglycemic medications.

4. Pain relief

Fennel is also considered helpful for pain relief. The same study from Bangladesh found that fennel extract reduced indications of pain at a level close to that provided by aspirin.

5. Hydration

Staying well hydrated is important for overall health, so one of the more direct benefits of fennel tea is that it provides individuals with a tasty, caffeine-free beverage.

Fennel tea or fennel extract?

Extract of fennel seeds is not the same thing as fennel tea. Fennel tea is less processed and more likely to be pure; and the measurable, beneficial impacts of fennel tea suggest multiple reasons for drinking it. The U.S. Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) do not monitor supplements and extracts of herbs.

Also, some people simply find fennel tea delicious.

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