Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds are considered quite useful for relieving various ailments, ranging from congestion and stomach gas to asthma and diabetes.
It is a flowering plant species in the carrot family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves.
Fennel is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.
The seeds contain powerful phytonutrients and antioxidants. The most potent of them is anethole that makes them highly nutritious and powerful. Here are 8 health benefits of fennel seeds:
1. May improve digestive health
Fennel 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. The essential of the seeds can help treat other serious digestive ailments like irritable bowel syndrome.
Some sources suggest that fennel seeds may also help treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), diarrhea, constipation, and ulcerative colitis.
2. May provide relief from asthma and other respiratory ailments
The phytonutrients in fennel seeds help clear sinuses. This may help relieve asthma symptoms. The expectorant properties of the seeds heal other respiratory ailments like bronchitis, cough, and congestion. A study explored the relaxant effects of fennel seeds on guinea pig tracheal chains. It concluded the seeds could offer bronchial relaxation.
Fennel seeds may instead cause asthmatic symptoms in some individuals. Hence, talk to your doctor if you are vulnerable to asthma.
3. May benefit breastfeeding women
Fennel seeds contain anethole. Some believe anethole mimics the properties of the estrogen hormone and increases milk secretion in women. Fennel seeds may benefit lactating women as they also are known to be galactagogues (substances that promote lactation.
4. May combat bad breath
Anecdotal evidence suggests that chewing fennel seeds may freshen your breath. The seeds have the flavor of anise (or licorice). Simply munching on 5 to 10 fennel seeds could freshen your breath.
The seeds are believed to increase the production of saliva and may wash out the bacteria that cause bad breath. The essential oil of fennel has antibacterial properties that help fight the germs that cause bad breath. The longer you chew the seeds, the more refreshing you could feel.
5. May help fight diabetes
A 2008 study found that fennel essential oil may lower blood sugar levels in diabetic rats. Fennel seeds are also a good source of vitamin C. Intake of the nutrient may lower blood sugar levels.
The beta-carotene in fennel seeds may also reduce cholesterol levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. Also, fennel seeds have a low glycemic index. Hence, they can be a good addition to a diabetes diet.
6. May increase breast growth
Fennel is a popular ingredient in most ‘bust enhancing’ herbal products. This could be because it mimics the properties of human estrogen. Talk to your doctor before using fennel seeds for this purpose.
7. May help lower cholesterol levels
The methanol extracts of fennel were found to reduce cholesterol levels in mice. They also could reduce the deposition of fats (triglycerides) in the coronary arteries.
8. May boost fertility
Fennel has estrogenic properties. Anecdotal evidence suggests that these properties may also boost fertility.
The more you understand yourself, the more silence there is, the healthier you are. —Maxime Lagacé