India is the largest exporter of fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare) in the world. It is a perennial plant, an aromatic herb that belongs to the family of parsley and grows to a height of 4 feet. It is also known as ‘safe’ and is available in every kitchen easily. The spice that resembles cumin is loaded with minerals like copper, potassium, folate, calcium, zinc, manganese, vitamin C, iron, selenium and magnesium. It is also a good source of dietary fiber. The seeds contain powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants especially anethole, that makes it highly nutritious and powerful herb.
Saunf was traditionally consumed after meals just to avoid bad breath and as a spice to flavor curries and breads in all cuisines. Fennel seeds contain estragole, fenchone and anethole which contributes to its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Ayurveda, fennel seeds balance all the three doshas (Vata, Pita and Kapha) and has a cooling effect on the body. The oil found in the seeds is carminative as it helps in calming the nerves. Fennel seeds have a wide range of health benefits which are listed below:
Improves digestive health and helps with stomach discomforts:
Fennel tea is known to treat a variety of gut and digestive problems like stomach aches, bloating, diarrhea and constipation because of the oils in these seeds. Fennel seed oil helps to reduce intestinal spasms and prevents stomach ulcers. Inflammation of stomach and intestines is reduced by fennel and maximum absorption of nutrients takes place. Fennel is also a good anti- flatulent and helps in getting rid of the excessive gas that causes stomach ache. Fennel seeds powder is a good laxative.
In case of Irritable Bowel Syndrome, a mixture of fennel and curcumin essential oils is very useful in decreasing abdominal pain. The volatile oils found in fennel seeds in digestion by promoting the production of gastric enzymes.
Treat Asthma and other Respiratory Ailments:
Fennel tea helps in managing symptoms of bronchitis, congestion and cough due to its expectorant properties. Fennel seeds help clear sinuses and clears mucus from the airways.
Weight loss Remedy:
Fennel is an effective natural remedy for obesity. Drinking fennel seed water or tea is an excellent way to burn body fat naturally. Being high in fiber, fennel works as a bulking agent in the digestive tract so its water improves satiety, boosts metabolism and helps in losing weight naturally. Fennel seeds also reduce fat storage by improving nutrient absorption in the body. The seed are also diuretic, which means, they help in getting rid of toxins from the body by increasing urine flow. It cures edema and also helps in loosing unwanted weight.
Prevents Anemia and Purifies blood:
Fennel is a very good source of iron and amino acids called histidine. Both these help in making hemoglobin. The essential oils and fiber in the seeds help in getting rid of toxins from the body and thereby purify the blood. Fennel seeds also reduce the formation of blood clots.
Benefits Breastfeeding mothers by stimulating milk secretion:
The compound anethole in fennel seeds is a phytoestrogen which increases milk secretion in breast feeding mothers. Lactating mothers can consume fennel to ensure a steady flow of milk. Fennel seeds also promote breast growth, promote fertility and even induce labor in pregnant women.
Induces Menstruation and improves Menstrual Symptoms:
Fennel seeds are effective in inducing or regulating menses in women of all age. Just by chewing a handful of fennel seeds help in easing menopause symptoms and also treating postmenopausal symptoms. They help with cramps and hot flashes. Fennel seeds keep the uterus from contracting thus alleviates pain.
Fennel seeds essential oil is known to regulate blood sugar levels and thus helps in fighting diabetes. The Vitamin C content helps in lowering blood sugar levels, while the antioxidants in fennel seeds, help in reducing cholesterol levels in diabetic patients. The seeds have low glycemic index.
Regulates Blood Pressure Levels and keeps cholesterol levels low:
Fennel seeds are rich in potassium and calcium which help in keeping the blood vessels toned and also help in maintaining heart rate. The seeds contain nitrites which lower the blood pressure levels. Fennel seeds are rich in fiber, which prevent reabsorption of cholesterol thus lowering the cholesterol levels and preventing risk of heart attacks, strokes etc.
Potassium in Fennel seeds also makes fennel seeds useful for improving brain function and cognitive abilities.
Fennel seeds are rich in minerals like zinc, calcium and selenium which are very useful in balancing the hormones in the body. The seeds give a cooling effect on the skin, thus leads to acne free glowing skin. Fennel seeds can also be used to tone the skin by boiling them in water, letting it cool, strain, and put some essential oil to it, dab it to the face with cotton ball to keep the skin refreshed.
Fennel seeds are effective in collecting free radicals, thus it can be useful in preventing danger health conditions like cancer (cancer of skin, stomach, and breasts). They possess chemo modulatory effect too.
Fennel seeds are a good source of Vitamin A which is needed for good eyesight. Extract of fennel seeds are very useful in improving symptoms of glaucoma.
Improve Hair Health:
Fennel seed tea can be prepared and used to rinse the hair for healthier look. The anti-oxidants and anti-microbial properties in fennel seeds help to get rid of dandruff, scalp itchiness, hair fall and hair breakage.
Fennel seeds have anti-microbial, anti-bacterial properties that help them in promoting healthy gums and keeping the mouth clean. They were used in traditional Chinese medicines for treating hernia.The seeds also help in improving quality and duration of sleep.
Stored fruits and vegetables can be protected from toxic fungal growth by applying fennel oil on them.
Fennel seeds surely give boost to the health and should be included in daily diet. Fennel seeds extracts are not same as fennel tea. Fennel tea is less processed and purer.