Fennel originated in the Mediterranean and has been used in traditional medicine and culinary purposes. Known as Foeniculum vulgare, fennel seeds find widespread use as mouth fresheners, toothpastes, desserts, antacids and in cuisines.
Fennel is an aromatic herb belonging to the Parsley family. The plant grows up to 7 feet tall, bears yellow flowers and all the parts of the plant including fruit, roots, leaves and stem contain phytochemicals with medicinal properties. It is rich in amino acids
, essential oils and minerals such as potassium and vitamins like folate and vitamin C. The fennels seeds are used as a spice and have a sweet aromatic taste.
Health Benefits of Fennel SeedsCure for Anemia: Fennel seeds have an amino acid called histidine and iron which are helpful in the treatment of anemia. The use of fennel seeds not only enhances the formation of hemoglobin but also increases the formation of other components of the blood.
Helps in Digestion: Chewing fennel seeds after meals is a common practice and it helps in digestion and eliminates bad breath. Fennel seeds have some essential oils which play a role in:
Protects against Heart Diseases: Fennel seeds have high concentration of potassiumwhich is responsible for its vasodilator action and hence relax the tension of the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. Fennel is also a great source of fiber, and is beneficial in controlling cholesterol enhancing the elimination of low density lipids. It offers protection against heart diseases, atherosclerosis and strokes.
- Stimulating the secretion of digestive and gastric juices
- Reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestine
- Facilitating proper absorption of nutrients
- Alleviating constipation
- Neutralizing the acid in the stomach, hence used in antacid preparations
- Quieting hiccups
Reduces Bloating: Fennel seeds are antiflatulent innature. Another amino acid aspartic acid is present in fennel seeds which give it carminative properties. Fennel extract is safe to be used in children to reduce flatulence and expel gases from the stomach.
Fennel seeds are used in medicines given to alleviate symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.
This carminative, (an herb or preparation that prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract or facilitate the expulsion of said gas) herb is useful in the treatment of colic, gas, bloating, abdominal pain, indigestion, intestinal disorders, assimilation, nausea, cholera and flatulence. The presence of a phytochemical called fenchone in fennel seeds helps digestion.
Prevents Cancer: Studies have shown that fennel seed extract has cancer protective effect due to the presence of flavonoids, alkaloids and the phenols. It can inhibit the growth of tumors, and also protects against the harmful effect of radiation therapy in cancer. Fennel seed has protective action against breast cancer and liver cancer.
Good Remedy for Colic: The essential oils found in fennel seeds have a chemical component is used to treat renal colic. In addition, antispasmodic properties of fennel also make it an appropriate choice for relaxing smooth muscles and alleviate discomfort related with colic. Fennel seed emulsions are given to infants to alleviate the symptoms of colic.
Treatment for Cough: Fennel seeds are widely used in the treatment of upper respiratory tract infections, coughs and bronchitis. It is a natural expectorant and found in many natural cough remedies. Fennel seeds help in eliminating the mucus and phlegm from the lungs.
Healthy Liver: The cleansing properties of fennel seeds are also used in maintaining healthy gall bladder and liver. Fennel seed tea is good for liver.
Treatment of Gout: Another health benefit of fennel seeds is their use in the treatment of gout. Fennel seeds can break down the kidney stones and uric acid in the tissues.
Natural Antioxidant: Fennel seeds’ strong antioxidant properties reduce inflammation, and soften skin. It also has anti-aging properties.
Good for Women: Fennel seeds relieve menstrual problems owing to its emmenagogue properties. It ensures an adequate menstrual flow. The phytochemicals present in fennel are responsible for treating premenstrual syndrome and menopausal problems.
Fennel seeds also helps in the formation of milk in lactating mothers. It is a galactagogue to promote lactation.
Health TipsHow to Use Fennel Seeds?
Fennel seeds may be found as a powder in nutraceutical formulas meant for healing and maintaining the health of colon. Whole seeds can be chewed as a breath freshener or aid to digestion. Sugar coated fennel seeds are also available easily to be used as mouth freshener after a meal. Use fennel seeds to garnish your salad recipes.
Fennel Seed Tea
Fennel tea is recommended to be taken daily as it improves the overall texture of the skin. Fennel seed tea also helps in curing acne. Make your own fennel seeds tea by adding crushed fennel seeds to boiling water.
Fennel Seed Uses in Kitchen
- Fennel seeds are used in spice mixes such as Chinese ‘five spice’ and Indian ‘panch foran.’
- Grind fennel seeds or dry fry them to get an enhanced flavour.
- Store the fennel seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
- Use as flavouring agent while cooking fish, meat, vegetable dishes, breads or chutneys