Written by Pooja Srivastava Banerjee, M. Pharm | 
Article Reviewed by Dietitian Shirley Johanna, M.Sc, M.Phil on Nov 01, 2018

What are Fennel Seeds?

Fennel originated in the Mediterranean has been used in traditional medicine and culinary purposes. It is well known as Foeniculum vulgare and is widely used in mouth fresheners, toothpaste, 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 fennel seeds are used as a spice and have a sweet aromatic taste.


Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds

Cure 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:

  • Stimulating the secretion of digestive and gastric juices
  • Reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestine
  • Fennel Seeds Help in Digestion
  • Facilitating proper absorption of nutrients
  • Alleviating constipation
  • Neutralizing acids in the stomach
  • Quieting hiccups

Protects against Heart Diseases: Fennel seeds have high concentration of potassium which 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.

Fennel Seeds for Healthy Heart

Reduces Bloating: Fennel seeds are anti-flatulent innature. Another amino acid aspartic acid is present in fennel seeds, which gives it the 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 that 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 to 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.

Fennel Seeds for Cough

Healthy Liver: The cleansing properties of fennel seeds help in maintaining healthy gall bladder and liver. Fennel seed tea is good for the 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 the 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 help in the formation of milk in lactating mothers. It is a galactagogue to promote lactation.

Fennel Seeds Good for Women

Health Tips

How to Use Fennel Seeds?

Fennel seeds may be found as a powder in nutraceutical formulas meant for healing and maintaining the health of the 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 a 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 flavor.
  • Store the fennel seeds in an airtight container in a cool, dark place.
  • Use as a flavoring agent while cooking fish, meat, vegetable dishes, slices of bread or chutneys

Nutrition Facts for Spices, fennel seed

The nutritional values of "Spices, fennel seed" per 100 grams are:
Nutrition Summary
Total Calories 345
Protein 15.8 g
Fat 0.4 g
Carbohydrate 52.3 g
NutrientsAmount%Daily Value
Calcium, Ca 1196 mg 119.6 %
Copper, Cu 1.07 mg 53.35 %
Iron, Fe 18.54  mg 103 %
Magnesium, Mg 385 mg 96.25 %
Manganese, Mn 6.53 mg 326.65 %
Phosphorus, P 487 mg 48.7 %
Potassium, K 1694  mg 48.4 %
Selenium, Se ~
Sodium, Na 88 mg 3.67 %
Zinc, Zn 3.7 mg 24.67 %
Vitamin A 135  IU 2.7 %
Vitamin C 21 mg 35 %
Vitamin B6 0.47 mg 23.5 %
Vitamin E ~
Vitamin K ~
Riboflavin 0.35  mg 20.76 %
Thiamin 0.41 mg 27.2 %
Folate, DFE ~
Niacin 6.05  mg 30.25 %
Sugars ~
Fiber 39.8  g 159.2 %
Cholesterol 0 mg 0 %
Water 8.81 g
Carotene, alpha ~
Carotene, beta ~
Choline ~
Lycopene ~
View all +
Data source: USDA Nutrient Database, R25
*Percent Daily Values (%DV) are based on a 2,000 calorie reference diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower based on your individual needs.

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