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23 Nov 2018 | 10:24 AM (IST)
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Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds are popularly known as Saunf in Hindi. It is an ancient Indian spice with culinary uses. Usually, spices are hot in nature but Fennel is an exception. It is a cooling spice, with sweet-bitter taste. Chewing a few seeds of Fennel is extremely good for digestion because of the presence of anethole. Fennel seeds contain anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber and helps in managing bloating, colic, constipation, menstrual cramps and some respiratory problems[1][2].

What are the synonyms of Fennel Seeds?

Foeniculum vulgare Miller. , Shaleen, Madhurika, Missi, Badi sauf, Panamadhuri, Badi sopu, Sabbsige, Variyaali, Valiaari, Pedhyajilkurra, Sohikire, Shoumbu, Mouri, Panmori, Sompu, Badi sepu, Perumjikam, Kattusatkuppa, Madesi saunf, Bitter fennel, Common fennel, Indian sweet fennel, Ejiyanaj, Aslul ejiyanaj, Razianaj, Rajyana, Chatra, Saunf, Mishreya, Mishi, Madhura, Soumbu, Sopu, Badi shep, Mauri, Rajiyanaj, Shalya[9].

What is the source of Fennel Seeds?

Plant Based

Benefits of Fennel Seeds

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Flatulence (gas formation)?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds are used to manage flatulence. Fennel seeds have carminative property by which it regulates the movement of the smooth muscles of the intestine. This allows the trapped gas to dissipate thus relieving flatulence[2]. Apart from this, Fennel seeds might also be useful to get rid of digestive problems like indigestion and bloating.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Fennel seeds (Saunf) can manage flatulence due to its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
Tips:
1. Take 1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds.
2. Crush them using a mortar and pestle.
3. Now take 1 glass of water in a pan and add the crushed Fennel seeds.
4. Boil till it comes to a rolling boil.
5. Simmer until the water becomes half.
6. Strain and let it become warm from hot.
7. Add 1 teaspoon of honey to it.
8. Drink this once a day.
9. Continue this for at least 1-2 months for better results
Or,
1. Take 1/2 teaspoon of Fennel seeds after meals twice a day.
2. You can have it with mishri (rock candy) for a better taste.

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Constipation?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds might help control constipation. Fennel seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber which is important for proper functioning of the digestive system. The fiber increases the bulk of your stool and pushes the stool smoothly, thus relieving constipation[10].
Tip:
1. Take 1 cup of Fennel seeds.
2. Dry roast it in a pan for 2-3 minutes.
4. Grind it to a smooth powder and store the powder in an air-tight container.
5. Now, take a glass of lukewarm water.
6. Mix 1 teaspoon of the Fennel powder.
7. Drink it before going to bed.
8. Repeat this daily for at least 1 month for better results.

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Menstrual pain?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds might ease the cramping pain during menstruation.
A study says that Fennel seeds have estrogenic property, because of which, it can reduce the frequency of uterine contractions induced by the hormone prostaglandin[2].

ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Fennel seeds (Saunf) help to reduce menstrual pain in women by balancing the Vata Dosha.
Tip:
1. Take 1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds.
2. Crush them using a mortar and pestle.
3. Now take 1 glass of water in a pan and add the crushed Fennel seeds.
4. Boil till it comes to a rolling boil.
5. Simmer until the water becomes half.
6. Strain and let it become warm from hot.
7. Then add 1 teaspoon of honey to it.
8. Drink this once a day for the first 3-4 days of menstruation.

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Colic?

scientific
Scientific View
Colic is a severe pain in the abdomen caused by accumulation of gas in the intestines, especially in breastfed babies. Fennel seeds have spasmodic activity due to the presence of anethole. It relaxes the intestinal smooth muscles allowing the trapped gas to dissipate. Thus, Fennel seeds help manage the colic pain in babies[4]. However, it is advisable to consult your doctor before giving Fennel seeds to your baby.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Fennel seeds have the properties of Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) due to which it provides relief from colic in babies.
Tip:
1. You can give Sauf ark (Ayurvedic preparation) with added water 45 minutes after food to your baby.
2. Repeat twice a day.

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Bronchitis?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds might be useful for patients suffering from bronchitis.
A study states that Fennel seeds have bronchodilatory property due to the presence of anethole. Regular consumption of Fennel seeds relaxes the muscles in the lungs and widens the airway. This might help you breathe easy[2].
Tip:
1. Take 1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds.
2. Crush them using a mortar and pestle.
3. Now take 1 glass of water in a pan and add the crushed fennel seeds.
4. Boil till it comes to a rolling boil.
5. Simmer until the water becomes half.
6. Strain and sip it slowly without letting it become cold.
7. Drink it twice a day to get maximum relief.

What are the benefits of Fennel Seeds for Respiratory tract infection?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seed might help reduce the risk of upper respiratory tract infections. Fennel seed has expectorant activity due to the presence of anethole in it. A study states that anethole helps in clearing mucus from the respiratory tract thus reducing congestion and helping you breathe easy[2].

How effective is Fennel Seeds?

Likely effective
Colic
Insufficient evidence
Bronchitis, Constipation, Flatulence (gas formation), Menstrual pain, Respiratory tract infection

Precautions when using Fennel Seeds

Advice from Experts
scientific
Scientific View
In some epileptic patients, consumption of Fennel seeds might cause a seizure. So, it is generally advised to consult a doctor while using Fennel seeds along with anti-epileptic drugs[7][8].
Other Interaction
scientific
Scientific View
Some birth control pills contain estrogen. Fennel seeds have estrogenic properties. Therefore, taking Fennel seeds along with birth control pills might decrease its effectiveness. So, in that case, it is generally advised to use an additional form of birth control such as a condom[3].

Recommended Dosage of Fennel Seeds

  • Fennel Seeds Seeds - ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day.
  • Fennel Seeds Powder - ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day
  • Fennel Seeds Capsule - 1 to 2 capsule twice a day
  • Fennel Seeds Ark - 2-4 teaspoon for children (above 6 years) and 6-10 teaspoon for adult twice a day.

How to use Fennel Seeds

1. Dry Fennel seeds (Saunf)
Take ½-1 teaspoon of dry Fennel seeds and chew them to help in digestion[2].

2. Fennel seeds Powder
a. Take ½-1 teaspoon of Fennel seeds powder.
b. Mix it in 1 glass of lukewarm water.
c. Drink it twice a day.
d. Continue for 2-3 months for better results.

3. Fennel seeds Capsule
a. Take 1-2 Fennel seeds capsule.
b. Swallow it with water after food twice a day.

4. Fennel seeds (Saunf) Ark
a. For children (above 6 years): Give 2-4 teaspoons of Saunf ark added in the same quantity of water twice a day.
b. For adults: Give 6-10 teaspoons of Saunf ark with the same quantity of water twice a day.

5. Fennel seeds Tea
a. Put 1.5 cups of water in a pan and add 2 teaspoons of Fennel seeds.
b. Now add some crushed ginger to it.
c. Boil on a medium flame for 5-7 mins.
d. Strain and drink to manage intestinal gas.

6. Fennel seeds Infused Water
a. Take 1 glass of water in a pan and bring it to a boil
b. Now pour this water into a glass and add 2 teaspoons of Fennel seeds to it.
c. Let it sit overnight.
d. Drink this water as soon as you get up in the morning to facilitate weight loss and regulate metabolism[2].

Frequently asked questions

Q. How do you make Fennel seed tea?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seed tea can be prepared in the following ways:
1. Take one teaspoon of Fennel seeds and crush it gently in a mortar and pestle.
2. Scoop the seeds out of the mortar and pestle and place it in a cup.
3. Pour boiling water over them and cover the cup.
4. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
5. Add honey to improve the taste.

Q. Are Fennel seeds and Anise same?

scientific
Scientific View
No, Fennel seeds and anise are not the same. Although, anise and Fennel seeds are more or less similar look wise and both are used as a flavoring spice but anise is from a different plant. The flavor of anise is more pungent as compared to Fennel seed. Chewing Fennel seeds after food can be good in terms of taste and digestion but since anise is a stronger spice chewing anise wouldn’t be a good choice.

Q. Can Fennel seed aid in weight loss?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, Fennel seeds might help in weight loss by improving your digestion. An improved digestive system enables your body to better absorb nutrients. As a result of which it leaves you feel more satiated and help ward off your hunger pangs. Thus, by keeping a control over your appetite, Fennel seeds can aid in weight loss to some extent[11].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Fennel seeds help in managing weight if an increase in weight is due to Ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion) in the body. Fennel seeds reduce Ama by its Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties.
Tip:
1. Take 1 cup of Fennel seeds.
2. Dry roast for 2-3 minutes.
3. Grind it and store it in an air-tight container.
4. Take 1/2 teaspoon of the Fennel powder in1 glass of lukewarm water twice a day.
5. Continue this for at least 2-3 months for better results.
Or, Just chew few Fennel seeds after every meal to help speed up your digestion.

Q. Can Fennel seed (Saunf) increase breast milk?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds (Saunf) have been traditionally used to improve breast milk secretion in lactating mothers. Anethole in Fennel seeds has galactogenic activity which increases the milk-secreting hormone called prolactin. Thus, it not only increases the quantity and quality of milk but also improves the flow of milk in breastfeeding mothers[2]. It is generally advised to consult your doctor before starting Fennel seeds during lactation.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Fennel seeds (Saunf) help improve milk production in lactating mothers due to its Balya property.
Tip:
1. Take 2-3 teaspoons of Fennel seeds.
2. Boil it in 1/2 to 1 litre of drinking water.
3. Boil till for at least 5-6 minutes.
4. Cool the mixture and add 1 teaspoon of mishri (rock candy) powder for better taste. Stir well.
5. Take 2-3 cups of this water daily.

Q. Can Fennel seed help in breast enlargement?

scientific
Scientific View
Fennel seeds might help in improving the overall size of the breast to some extent. Some studies state that Fennel seeds contain a large amount of estrogenic substance- called phytoestrogens. These phytoestrogens are proven to mimic the properties of female hormones so it can promote the growth of breast tissue. But not enough evidence is present to strongly support this statement[5][6].

Q. Is Fennel seed good for baby?

scientific
Scientific View
Yes, Fennel seeds (Saunf) might be good for babies as it acts as a digestive aid to relieve flatulence[4].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Due to Deepan (appetizer) and Pachan (digestive) properties, Fennel seeds (Saunf) ark is widely used in children to relieve flatulence.
Tip:
For children (above 6 years): Give 2-4 teaspoon of Saunf ark added in the same quantity of water twice a day.

Q. Can Fennel seeds be taken by someone with hormone sensitivity?

scientific
Scientific View
In case you are suffering from hormone-sensitive conditions like breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids, it is advisable to avoid Fennel seeds. Fennel seeds have estrogenic properties and might worsen your existing condition[3].

References

  1. Bakhru HK.Herbs That Heal.Orient Paperbacks.1990.
  2. Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH.Foeniculum vulgare Mill: A review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology.Biomed Res Int.2014;2014:32.
  3. WebMD: Fennel: Uses, Side effects, Interactions, Dosage [Internet]. Atlanta [last updated in 2016].
  4. Saini N, Singh GK, Nagori BP. Spasmolytic potential of some medicinal plants belonging to family Umbelliferae:A review.Int J Res.Ayurveda Pharm.2014;5(1)74-83.
  5. Fugh-Berman A.“Bust enhancing" herbal products.Obstet Gynecol. 2003;101(6):1345-1349.
  6. Rather MA, Dar BA, Sofi NS,et al.Foeniculum vulgare: A comprehensive review of its traditional use, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and safety.Arabian Journal of Chemistry.2016;9(2):1574-1583.
  7. Ulbricht CE.Natural Standard:Herb and Supplement Guide, An Evidence Based Reference.Elsevier;2010.
  8. Medscape.Fennel (Herbs/Suppl) [Internet] New York.2018
  9. Balkrishnan A.Saunf.Ayurved Jadi Buti Rehsya. Danik Bhaskar.2017.
  10. Kazem YMI, Abdel-Moaty M, El Shebini SM, et al.Constipation, oxidative stress in obese patients and their impact on cognitive functions and mood, the role of diet modification and foeniculum vulgare supplementation.Journal of Biological Sciences.2017;17:312-319.
  11. Bae JY, Kim JE, Choue R, et al.Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) and Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) tea drinking suppresses subjective short-term appetite in overweight women.Clin Nutr Res.2015;4(3):168–174.
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.