Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses of Fennel Seeds

Health Benefits & Medicinal Uses of Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds or Saunf is one of the irreplaceable ingredients in Indian Kitchens, due to its rich aromatic flavor it is widely used in Indian and Mediterranean dishes throughout the world. You can feel the sweet as well as woody taste while consuming internally, Fennel seeds are used for medicinal purposes too.

It treats indigestion, colic, diarrhea, and respiratory diseases. Chewing fennel seeds after a heavy meals aids in digestion and avoids gas formation in the stomach.

If used as a mouth freshener the toothache and gum problems will be 100% cured.

About Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are obtained from the fennel plant that is an evergreen flowering plant. It belongs to the Foeniculum Vulgare that is the similar to caraway, dill cumin, carrot, and parsley family.

This plant contains feathery leaves with white and green color, and it has yellow flowers. Fennel is an indigenous plant that is found in Mediterranean places and cultivated throughout the world near riverbank and coastal areas.

India is the largest producer and exporter of Fennel seeds. The distinct flavor of the fennel seed is the reason for the effectiveness of the powerful essential oils.

Types of Fennel

There are two types of Fennel, one is used as a herb that is Foeniculum Vulgare, and the another one is a swollen bulb-like stem that is Florence fennel used as a vegetable. The herb fennel grows 3 to 5 feet tall that has same apperance like dill with fine-textured foliage.

Common Names of Fennel Seeds

Botanical Name     : Foeniculum Vulgare
English Name         : Fennel Seeds
Tamil Name            : Perunjeeragam
Malayalam Name  : Perunjeeragam
Telugu Name         : Sompu
Hindi Name            : Saumph
Bengali Name        : Mauri

Ayurvedic Uses of Fennel

Ayurvedic medicines strongly recommend fennel seeds due to their powerful medicinal values and value in pacifying Pitta, Vata, and Kapha doshas.

It contains a cooling effect in your body and has sweet, bitter, and astringent-like taste. According to Ayurveda, cooking reduces the effects of nutrients, so it is important to get a complete benefit of fennel.

Fennel seeds are a powerful detoxifier, and it eliminates toxins (ama) from your body. Fennel seeds are mainly used in Ayurvedic medicines to cure digestive problems.

The secretolytic properties of fennel help in treating respiratory diseases, and its antispasmodic effects provide relief from abdominal cramps.

Fennel seeds are highly rich in vitamins and minerals as it protects the liver, stomach, kidney, heart, and uterus. According to Ayurveda, fennel seeds contain a cooling effect on your body.

During the summer, it is better to drink the water of fennel seeds to soothe your body heat. Apart from essential fennel oil, it has a carminative effect that is used in Ayurveda for massaging your body because it soothes your nerves, mental health, and improves mood.

Ayurvedic Properties of Fennel Seeds

Taste (Rasa)                                  : Sweet (Madhura), Pungent (Katu), Bitter (Tikta)

Quality (Guna)                               : Light (Laghu), Unctuous or Oily (Snigadh Or Sneha)

Potency (Virya)                             : Cold (Sheeta)

Quality after digestion (Vipaka) : Sweet (Madhura)

Effect on Dosha (Dosha Karma) : Pacifies Vata Dosha and Pitta Dosha

Medicinal Properties of Fennel Seeds

  • Antispasmodic
  • Appetizer
  • Antiemetic
  • Antioxidant
  • Antibacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiviral
  • Antipyretic
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti-flatulent
  • Antithrombotic
  • Antimutagenic
  • Antinociceptive
  • Antihyperlipidemic
  • Antitumor
  • Analgesic
  • Aphrodisiac
  • Apoptotic
  • Anti-vulvodynia
  • Carminative
  • Digestive stimulant
  • Secretolytic
  • Nootropic
  • Hepatoprotective
  • Neuroprotective
  • Memory enhancer
  • Cardioprotective
  • Diuretic
  • Venotonic
  • Mild Antihyperglycemic
  • Eye tonic and eyesight promoter
  • Blood circulation booster
  • Galactagogue
  • Spermatogenic
  • Stomachic
  • Ovarian stimulant

Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are mainly used to treat digestive related problems. The Secretolytic property of fennel seed helps to treat respiratory diseases.

It contains Antispasmodic that helps to relieve abdominal pain and cramps. It is more beneficial in treating problems related to intestines, stomach, brain, kidney, liver, heart, and uterus.

Fennel is able to prevent gas formation, abdominal diseases and helps in indigestion, weight loss, aging, and cancer. It enhances your strength and promotes longevity.

Improves Digestive Health

The fennel seeds contain essential volatile oil, and the goodness of oil helps to induce the secretion of enzymes and digestive juice, and it helps in the digestion process.

The fennel seeds are effective in treating many digestive problems such as heartburn, bloating, flatulence, and colic in kids. It has anethole, fenchone, and estragole which is helpful in constipation, and indigestion. Consume fennel tea regularly to maintain a healthy digestive tract.

The powerful carminative and antispasmodic effects of fennel seeds helps to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease, irritable bowel symptoms, and ulcerative colitis.

Treats Gastritis

Fennel seed is an effective remedy to treat inflammation on the stomach. The powdered form of fennel seeds is mainly used in treating gastric problems.

It changes the gastric acid secretions and calms the mucosal lining of your stomach. According to Ayurveda, it does not decrease gastric secretions, but it decreases the TIKSHNA GUNA of PITTA. Thus, it may not decrease appetite, but alternatively, it increases appetite.

For many people who have indigestion, acid reflux or GERD and gastritis problems have a loss of appetite. In these cases, it also helps to increase the appetite because of the modulation action on gastric secretions.

Take Fennel seeds with Mulethi powder, coriander seeds, and amla powder to get better results. Take all these herbs with an equal amount and mix them well. Consume one teaspoon of dosage two times per day in between the food.

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Reduces Weight

Fennel is known as a ‘Marathon’ in Greek that is derived from ‘Marino,’ which means grow thin. Fennel seeds serve as a metabolic enhancer.

It increases fat metabolism and prevents the accumulation of excess fat. It helps in weight loss for individuals.

Fennel seeds work as a gastric modulator, so it balances the secretion. The obesity effect is due to the effects of the metabolism and usability of fats.

It stimulates the burning of accumulated fat. The effects of fennel as a fat burner are not comparable with the many of the Ayurvedic herbs for weight loss.

Fresh Fennel for losing weight

Fresh fennel is a vegetable that contains high fiber, low calories, and low fat. A 100 gms of fresh fennel contains 30-35 calories and 3-4 gms of dietary fiber approximately.

This composition adds bulk to your food without increasing the whole over calories. When you consume fresh fennel, dietary fiber enters into your stomach, absorbs water, and becomes viscous, so it provides satiety and makes you feel full.

It decreases the overall consumption of food and the entry of calories to your system. Therefore, consume a big bowl of fennel salad before food that is the best way for weight loss.

Promotes Eye Vision

According to many studies, fennel seeds protect your vision. It helps to decrease the pressure of the eye and increases the risk of cataract and blindness. It is a rich source of vitamin A that is essential for healthy eyes.

The complication of hyperglycemia is diabetic retinopathy. Fennel contains an active compound called Anethole, which helps to regulate the level of blood glucose and decreases the risk of vision loss.

Moreover, Anethole improves the soluble lens protein and reduces the chances of starting cataracts. The powerful antioxidants present in fennel protect your eyes from the damage of free radicals, and it improves the overall vision.

Apart from this, fennel contains many healthy compounds that help to prevent the action of aldose reductase, so it protects your eyes and nerves from damage.

Potent Laxative

Fennel seeds powder acts as an effective laxative, and it is a great remedy for abdominal cramps, gastrointestinal maladies, constipation, and irritable bowel symptoms.

Fennel contains numerous dietary fiber that helps to stimulate intestinal functions by increasing the bile secretion and manages peristaltic movements. Thus, it regulates the normal functioning of the bowel.

Treats Respiratory diseases

Fennel seeds contain huge amounts of phytonutrients that help to cure the symptoms of asthma and clears the stuffed sinuses.

The expectorant properties of Fennels seeds help to treat respiratory diseases like cough, bronchitis, and nasal congestion. Inhale the fennel seeds in the steam that provides great relief from bronchitis and asthma. Besides this, chewing some fennel seeds helps to cure a sore throat.

Freshens Breath

Bad breath may embarrass you and the people around you, so chewing fennel seeds is an effective remedy to eliminate bad breath and freshens your breath. Fennel seeds increase the saliva secretion in your mouth, thus helps in killing the harmful bacteria. Fennel seeds are an effective home remedy in eliminating bad breath.

The sweet and slight licorice flavor of fennel seeds promotes saliva secretion and helps in eliminating bacteria. Apart from this, the antibacterial properties present in essential oil of fennel seeds help to fight against the microbes that cause bad breath.

Munching some fennel seeds for 10 minutes refresh your mouth immediately. Thus, fennel seeds are an effective mouth freshener.

Increases Breast Size

Fennel seeds contain effective anethole, which is an active compound that naturally acts as phytoestrogen and mimics the estrogen hormone role and improves breast development.

According to studies, Ayurveda stated that three months of treatment with fennel seeds increases the breast size. However, taking fennel seeds with an equal amount of Shatavari powder and Ashwagandha helps to promote the growth of breast with less regression.

Though, it is better to consider your doctor’s advice before starting treatment with fennel seeds for increasing breast size.

Prevents Cancer

According to many studies, it is found that the powerful antioxidant properties of fennel seeds helps to fight against free radicals and beat oxidative stress.

It protects your body from various types of cancers, including stomach, skin, and breast cancers. Besides this, the fennel seeds help to excrete the chemo modulatory effect.

Also Read: Best Herbs to Treat Cancer

Antacid Effects

Fennel seed is a natural herb that helps to neutralize the intestine acidity. The acidity may occur due to the lifestyle, food habits, and being overweight.

Chewing some fennel seeds after a meal effectively reduces heartburn and regurgitation. Therefore, fennel seed is the main ingredient in the anti-acidity formulations of Ayurveda.

Improves Lactation

The active compound anethole present in Fennel seeds excretes the properties of galactogenic that reflects the estrogen hormone function and improves the milk production in lactating mothers.

Thus, fennel seed is an effective addition to lactating food that ensures the breast milk flow for the newborns.

Protects against Osteoporosis

Fennel contains estrogenic property, so it is an anti-osteoporotic and osteoprotective herb. Estrogen plays an important role in the regeneration of bones.

The lower level of estrogen in the blood may lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis. Fennel protects the bones from fracture and strengthens them because it reflects the effect of estrogen.

Also Read: Best Herbs to Boost Estrogen

Therefore, fennel improves the overall health of bone and reduces the substances that cause bone tissue breakdown.

Controls Blood Pressure

According to many studies, chewing fennel seeds increases the nitrate content in saliva. Fennel seeds serve as a natural, effective remedy to manage blood pressure levels.

Additionally, particular amounts of potassium present in fennel seeds are part of cells, and body fluids help to control the acid-base balance, normalize the heart rate, dilate blood vessels, and manage blood pressure.

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Prevents Anemia

Fennel is a powerful antioxidant agent that scavenges free radicals and protects the red cells from the attack of free radicals.

Moreover, it improves the overall health of your kidney and improves the erythropoietin formation, which is an important factor in red cell production.

Lower count of red blood cells and hemoglobin in the blood may cause anemia. Fennel seeds promote the RBCs production, so it helps to prevent anemia.

Cures Polydipsia (Excessive Thirst)

Fennel seed is more beneficial to reduce excessive thirst due to its effective properties. In Ayurveda, it is an effective remedy for excessive thirst.

To get complete relief from excessive thirst, take an equal amount of fennel seeds powder and brown sugar or rock sugar with water. Alternatively, drink 60 ml of fennel seed distillate or fennel water three times a day.

Manages Diabetes

Fennel seeds contain rich amounts of essential oil and anethole, which is an active compound that helps to maintain the blood sugar levels.

Fennel seeds are the powerhouse of vitamin C, antioxidants, beta-carotene, and essential minerals that enhance the sensitivity of insulin and keep the blood glucose level under control.

Improves Skin Health

Fennel seeds contain rich amounts of nutrients and strong antimicrobial properties that make fennel seed as an excellent natural remedy to treat skin problems. Fennels are enriched with potassium, selenium, and zinc which balances the oxygen level in the bloodstream. It is used to treat skin-related ailments such as acne, rashes, and dryness.

To get fresh and smooth skin texture, take one teaspoon of fennel seeds, and boil them. Leave it to cool and filter them. Apply this on your face many times per day, and it will improve your skin glow and revitalize your skin.

Furthermore, the powerful antioxidant properties present in fennel seeds fight against the free radicals that affect the healthy cells of your skin. It also contains an effective anti-aging properties that help to delay the premature aging of your skin and reduce fine lines and wrinkles.

To get a wrinkle-free skin tone and radiant skin, make an anti-aging face mask using fennel seeds, honey, oatmeal, and gram flour.

Make a paste and apply this as a face pack, rinse it with water after 15 minutes. Repeat this once per week, and you will get a better result.

Eases PMS Symptoms

According to many studies, fennel seed is an excellent remedy to relieve menopause symptoms. Fennel seed is phytoestrogen in nature, so it is very effective in the treatment of menstrual symptoms, hot flashes, and abdominal cramps.

Treats Heat Stroke

For heat stroke, soak a handful of fennel seeds in water overnight. Filter the water in the morning, add some salt, and drink it.

Promotes Fertility

Fennel contains rich amounts of phytoestrogen that plays an important role in inducing the female reproductive system and may ease fertility. Fennel seeds tea has been used since ancient times to normalize the menstrual cycle and flow, and it improves fertility.

Purifies blood 

The compounds in the fennel seeds purify your blood by removing the toxins from your body. Prepare a fennel tea and drink it daily.

Hirsutism (Excessive Hairiness)

In hirsutism, women have male pattern hair. It occurs due to the increased level of testosterone hormone in women.

Fennel seed contains an Anethole compound that contains estrogenic activity. It prevents converting testosterone into its active form. Therefore, it weakens the testosterone action in women and also decreases hirsutism.

Natural Gripe Water

Colic is a common problem in babies that makes them cry continuously for a long time. In this case, fennel seeds can be used as a traditional remedy by our grandma to prepare a natural gripe water. Fennel gripe water helps babies in easing gassiness symptoms or colic in babies.

Nutritional Values of Fennel Seeds (Perunjeerakam)

Fennel seed is the powerhouse of effective nutrients, vitamin C, and low calories, so it helps to improve your immune system and promotes the production of collagen. It also works as a powerful antioxidant that clears the free radicals. Fennel seeds contain rich amounts of manganese that help to trigger the metabolism, activate enzymes, strengthen your bones, and maintain blood sugar. Apart from these, it contains a particular amount of magnesium, iron, potassium, calcium, and selenium that controls blood pressure, improves your skin health, and treats anemia. Fennel seeds contain more than 87 volatile compounds, including polyphenols such as chlorogenic acid, rosmarinic acid, quercetin, and apigenin. Many studies found that rich antioxidants reduce the risk of diseases such as cardiovascular, diabetes, cancer, and neurological diseases.

Nutritional Value of Fennel Seeds Per 100 Grams

NUTRIENT VALUE
Calories 345
Total Fat 14.87 g
Carbohydrates 52.29 g
Protein 15.80 g
Sodium 88 mg
Potassium 1694 mg
Calcium 1196 mg
Iron 18.54 mg
Magnesium 385 mg
Dietary Fiber 39.8 g
Vitamin C 21 mg
Vitamin A 135 IU 
Phosphorus 487 mg
Niacin 6.050 mg
Pyridoxine 0.470 mg 
Riboflavin 0.353 mg
Thiamin 0.408 mg
Copper 1.067 mg
Zinc 3.70 mg

Fennel Seed Recipe

Fennel Tea

Ingredients

Crushed Fennel Seed 1-2 teaspoons
Water 2 cups
Honey ½ teaspoon

Preparation Method

  • Take a pan with 2 cups of water, add fennel seeds powder and boil them for 2-5 minutes.
  • Filter the tea in a cup
  • Add honey or artificial sweetener in the tea to increase the taste and flavor.

Fennel Sherbet

Ingredients

Fennel Seeds ½ cup
Powdered sugar or jaggery 1 cup
Water As per needed
Ice cube As per needed
Lemon juice 1 teaspoon

Preparation Method 

  • Soak fennel seeds in water and filter them after 3-4 hours
  • Add soaked fennel in the blender and grind finely.
  • Add the grind fennel seed in a pan, add water and sugar, stir them until the sugar dissolves.
  • Filter them, add ice cubes and pour the sherbet into the glass.
  • Add some drops of lemon juice, and the sherbet is ready.
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Dosage of Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds Powder Dosage

Chew fennel seeds or consume the powder of fennel seeds according to the dosage mentioned in the table.

Children 50 to 100 mg per Kg body weight
Adults 3 to 6 grams (optimum dosage: 3 grams)
Pregnancy 1 to 2 grams
Geriatric (Old age) 2 to 3 grams
Maximum Possible Dosage 18 grams Per Day (in divided doses) 

Consume this along with warm water 2-3 times per day after food. The maximum dosage of fennel seed powder is a common value, but you should not consume more than 9 grams per day. Some times, it can be used frequently, but it can be up to 18 grams per day.

Dosage of Fennel Tea, Fennel Seed Water & Fennel Distillate

Infants (Age: Up to 12 Months) 1 to 5 ml
Children 5 to 20 ml
Adults 20 to 60 ml
Pregnancy 10 to 20 ml
Geriatric (Old age) 10 to 20 ml
Maximum Possible Dosage 180 ml Per Day (in divided doses)

Drink this 2-3 times per day after food for digestive problems and before food for appetite problems. Basically, take this anytime without worrying about food, especially in the conditions of cramps, abdominal pain, uterine cramps, and other types of spasmodic pains.

Dosage of Fennel Oil

Infants (Age: Up to 12 Months) Not recommended
Children (Age: up to 5 years) Not recommended
Children (Age: above 5 years) 1 drop per 15 Kg body weight
Adults 4 to 10 drops
Pregnancy Not recommended
Geriatric (Old age) 3 to 5 drops
Maximum Possible Dosage 20 drops Per Day (in divided doses)

Take Fennel oil along with lukewarm water for 1-2 times per day after food.

Side Effects of Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are safe to consume in food amounts or less than 18 grams per day. Natural or crude form of fennel seeds is safer than fennel extracts or fennel oil. Fennel water, fennel tea, fennel distillate, and fennel infusion are also safe.

The natural form of fennel seed did not cause any side effects when consumed in the proper dosage. The overdosage of fennel seeds can increase the skin sensitivity for sunlight, and the increased sensitivity may increase the risk of sunburn.

Pregnancy

Generally, Fennel seeds and its traditional formulations are safe to use in the treatment of indigestion, nausea, belching, loss of appetite, vertigo, and abdominal pain during pregnancy. In such conditions, fennel seeds are very effective.

The high dose of fennel extract is not safe during pregnancy. Actually, fennel seeds improve menstruation by decreasing menstrual pain and cramps.

Consuming a higher dosage of fennel seeds may lead to emmenagogue action and stimulate bleeding. This action occurs only based on the dosage.

Lactation

Fennel seeds are mainly used for the galactagogue action. It increases the supply of breast milk and stimulates milk secretions.

It is also used for infants to treat common digestive problems and abdominal pains. Fennel seeds are safe to consume for lactating mothers. There are no side effects that occur in lactating mothers and breastfeeding babies when consuming fennel seeds.

Fennel Allergy

People who are sensitive to celery, mugwort, carrots and peach may also be allergic to fennel seeds. The common allergic symptoms of fennel are:

  • Skin rashes
  • Swelling of the lips, throat, and tongue
  • Itching in the mouth
  • Hives
  • Tingling sensation in the mouth

How do I store fennel seeds?

Knowing the health benefits of fennel seeds is not enough it’s significant to have an idea about how to store it.

  • To Store Fresh fennel – In case if you need to store the fresh fennel then wrap it in a nice paper bag which keeps it fresh for 2-3 days. If the sealing is perfect then there are chances of being fresh for 7-12 days, just move it to the refrigerator for prolonged use.
  • To Freeze & Store Fresh fennel – This is quite simple just cover the fennel fronds and freeze
    Fennel seeds or saunf – Whenever you store fennel seeds remember to put them into a tightly sealed airtight container.
  • Fennel seeds powder or Saunf powder – I’d prefer to buy fennel seeds rather than powder in case if you’ve bought the powder store it in a tightly sealed box and keep it in the fridge.

It’s good to store and use for a limited period if not the aroma or flavor will be missed while preparing culinary dishes or whatever!

Conclusion

Fennel seed is a flavorful and aromatic herb that contains numerous nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and minerals like calcium, manganese, zinc, iron, etc. Fennel seed is a powerhouse of antioxidants and volatile oils that effectively reduce inflammation, improve heart health, improve weight loss, and promote digestion. To get the goodness of this excellent herb, consume dried fennel seeds in your daily food.

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