Native to Southern Europe, fennel seeds are grown all over Europe, the Middle East, India, Turkey, and China. As one of the most popular spices used in food in the Mediterranean regions of the world, fennel seeds are revered as one of the nine Anglo-Saxon sacred herbs because of its amazing health benefits.
So what is a fennel seed? Also known as Saunf, fennel is a pale greenish, slightly sweet herb with a flavorful aroma that belongs to the parsley family. Many people eat them simply because they like their taste, but fennel seed benefits far outweigh their tastiness.
Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Besides being a fantastic choice to season your favorite dish, the fennel seed’s health benefits make it a nutritious addition to any diet. So if you’re still asking what is fennel seed good for, let’s go right down the list.
1. Improves Memory and Brain Function
Fennel seeds act as an overall brain booster, improving cognitive performance. With high levels of potassium, it can also boost electrical activity in the brain. Fennel seeds also enhance the supply of nutrient rich oxygenated blood to the brain. If consumed regularly, fennel seeds can even help reduce the risk of degenerative brain disorders like Alzheimer’s.
2. Boost Immunity
One of the highest natural immunity boosting vitamins is vitamin C, which the fennel bulb is very rich in. Regular consumption of fennel is an excellent way to boost immunity and help the body fight off infections, both minor and major.
3. Fennel Seeds Reduce Asthma Symptoms
Fennel seeds are packed with antioxidants, including the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, which both help to reduce inflammation in the body. Small cytokines are thought to cause autoimmune reactions in the lining of the airways to flare up. With its inflammation-fighting superpower, fennel is also useful in helping soothe symptoms for those suffering from asthma. It also contains anethole, which is a stronger anti-inflammatory flavonoid and can cure inflammation without any side-effects in humans.
4. Improves Digestion
One of fennel juice's other superpowers is its anti-spasmodic properties. This calming effect helps to soothe an irritated intestine and reduce intestinal cramps and flatulence. It is also effective in increasing the absorption of nutrients from the foods we eat. Fennel seeds also reduce bad gut bacteria and increase good gut bacteria. It stimulates the production of digestive juices in the stomach, which in turn helps to reduce stomach inflammation.
5. Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
With so much stress in our lives coming at us on a daily basis from everywhere, including work and home, it’s important to know how to maintain a healthy heart rate and blood pressure. The high level of potassium in fennel seeds also helps stabilize blood pressure levels and regulates heartbeat. As the potassium aids in maintaining proper muscle function, it reduces the risk of a heart attack and stroke. The folate found in the potassium in the fennel seeds also helps prevent the homocysteine in the heart from damaging the blood vessel walls.
6. Combats Bad Breath
Chewing on fennel seeds is a natural way to combat the embarrassment of bad breath. Fennel increases the production of saliva and can aid in fighting the germs that cause bad breath. If you have a case of the burps or acid reflux after a large meal, don’t worry. Fennel seeds will take care of that too. Instead of adding unnecessary calories popping mints and chewing gum, chew on a few fennel seeds to freshen your breath naturally.
7. Reduces Obesity
Although fennel seeds can help, we hate to be the bearers of the bad news that fennel seeds cannot magically make the pounds disappear. What they will do, however, is to boost your metabolism to help you burn the extra calories your body is carrying.
Another way it can help is to act as a natural appetite suppressant. Instead of consuming an artificial pill to help curb your appetite, opt for something natural. Chew fennel seeds every morning and evening for about 5-10 minutes to see the difference it can make in your appetite. You can also make it into hot tea, adding about one tablespoon for every two cups of boiling water that you enjoy every morning.
If you’re not much of a hot tea drinker, then soak about two tablespoons of fennel seeds in a cup of water overnight. The next morning, the water and seeds will take on a difference appearance. Drink the water and chew on the seeds for an extra boost.
8. Dietary Fiber
Fiber is essential to and aids in the regulation of our bodies’ digestive systems. Fennel seeds contain a significant amount of dietary fiber. It facilitates the breakdown of food molecules in a timely manner so that our body’s energy reactions are possible.
Most of the roughage of the seeds is metabolically inert insoluble fiber. These dietary fibers also bind to bile salts that are produced by cholesterol, and they decrease their absorption back into the colon.
9. Promotes Strength
In ancient Greek times, fennel seeds were the symbol for strength. It was believed that fennel seeds increased a person’s courage. Now, we know fennel seeds are rich in calcium, which is an essential nutrient responsible for healthy and strong bones. Drinking fennel seeds water as described in the section for obesity, will promote bone health.
10. Treats Respiratory Illnesses
Cineole is an efficient way to clear blocked nasal passages. It’s ideal for those suffering from congestion, asthma, or bronchitis. Cineole also efficiently clears and manages the formation of phlegm that can settle in the chest and nasal pathways, making life miserable. In keeping these passages clear, it helps to ease respiration.
11. Protects Against Cancers
It is thought that, if caught and treated at an early enough stage, the anti-oxidant properties of fennel seeds may be able to minimize or eliminate carcinogenic diseases. In fact, anethole, the organic substance that aids in reducing asthma symptoms, is known for its microbial and anti fungal properties.
Additionally, anethole has been found to slow the growth and spread of breast cancer cells. In some cases, it even causes the cancer cells to kill themselves. In another study, the anethole effectively stopped inflammation and the development of cancer by fighting off cytokines. These are known as tumor necrosis factors and can be the cause of chronic inflammation. If left untreated, they can lead to cancer.
Although fennel has historically been used as an aperitif, it is most effective as a natural appetite suppressant. It can help clean and maintain a healthy digestive system, removing excess water and aiding in weight loss.
13. Reduces Acidity
One of the wonders of the fennel bulb and seeds is its natural cooling and neutralizing properties. This benefit makes it ideal in the treatment of acidity in the duodenum, the portion of the intestines that is responsible for the breakdown of our food through the use of enzymes. It eases the process of absorption in the intestines, which allows the toxins to be separated from the beneficial nutrients. The toxins are then flushed out of the body. This allows the PH levels to return to normal and the acidity to diminish.
14. Great for Acne
Fennel seeds are amazing for your skin. Not only are they full of antioxidants, but they are also a natural antiseptic. These beneficial properties help to prevent acne. Another plus is that using fennel seeds as part of your skin care regiment will help delay the appearance of lines, wrinkles and dark spots. Consuming fennel seeds will reward you with flawless skin that glows.
Fennel, or saunf as it’s known in India, will leave your skin feeling cool as it soothes inflammation and skin irritations. When drank as a tea, fennel helps to improve the overall texture of your skin.
15. Fennel Tea – Constipation, Indigestion, IBS, and Bloating
There are those who swear by their nightly cup of green tea, and then there are those who claim fennel tea changed their lives. Overall, fennel has a calming effect on the intestines and the stomach. The anti-spasmodic properties of fennel help clear the digestive tract and reduce bloating, IBS, constipation, and indigestion. One cup of tea at night can provide more natural relief than all the antacid medicines you can get your hands on.
16. Prevents Neurological Diseases
So if you’re still asking, “What are fennel seeds?” we have just one word for you. Amazing. Fennel seeds are amazing with all the incredible health benefits they possess. Another is the prevention of neurological diseases. By preventing free radical reactions in the body, fennel seeds aid in keeping neurological diseases far, far away.
17. Provides Antioxidants
Here they are again–free radicals. Fennel seeds minimize unwanted free radicals in the body, which prevents diseases that can get serious in their later stages. They offer protection against many diseases, including cancer.
18. Improves Concentration
The high levels of potassium in fennel bulbs help to maintain the electrolytic balance of the brain. It is also a memory booster, so fennel ensures proper functioning of our brains by regulating potassium levels. This sharpens memory and improves your focus and concentration.
19. Growth and Development
When consuming fennel seeds, the body’s growth and development sectors are greenlit and ready to go. Fennel seeds contain zinc, which, when taken regularly, promotes growth and development on its own.
For those about to Google it, carminative means relieving flatulence. Fennel seeds help you pass gas. They cause gas to be released in the intestines and then inhibit the buildup of any further gas. When gas is released from the intestines, it helps to relieve pain in the stomach from heartburn and indigestion.
21. Eases Menstrual Cramps
One of the fennel bulb’s super powers is the ability to regulate hormonal changes in our bodies. It has analgesic properties that help to control and diminish women’s menstrual pain.
22. Rich in Nutrients
Next time you’re thirsty, fix yourself up a nice glass of fennel juice. It’s full of vitamins A, B, C, E, and beta-carotene. Need minerals? Fennel is a rich source of magnesium, potassium, iron, zinc and a few others. That’s not all. It’s also rich in antioxidants, carotenoids, flavonoids, and the powerful anethole.
23. Eases Respiratory Disorders
The cineole in fennel is an active ingredient that is believed to clear nasal passages and control the phlegm that gathers in the chest and nasal pathways.
24. Post-Menopause Benefits
Estrogen is a vital hormone for women experiencing and recovering from menopause. Phyto-estrogen is found in fennel juice and is helpful for easing the symptoms women experience as they battle to regulate the hormones waging war in their bodies.
Fennel seeds create the need for frequent urination, which in turn helps to remove toxic substances in the body and reduce inflammation that can lead to rheumatism, swelling, and kidney stones.
26. Helps Purify Blood and Regulate Blood Pressure
As a rich source of potassium, fennel acts as a vasodilator, which lowers blood pressure by relaxing the tension of blood vessels. Iron found in fennel helps to stimulate the production of hemoglobin and aids in the creation of other components in the blood.
27. Red Blood Cells
Copper is required to produce red blood cells. Fennel seeds contain copper and thereby are beneficial when rebuilding your red blood cells.
28. Prevents Cardiac Problems
The fiber contained in fennel seeds help the heart to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This can help to prevent problems with LDL cholesterol, which is a major reason for heart disease, strokes, and atherosclerosis.
Violent spasms and contractions in the organs, respiratory tract, intestines, muscles, and nerves can lead to chronic coughs, inflammation, and acute pain. Fennel is an antispasmodic agent, which relaxes these areas and provides instant relief.
30. Promotes Eye Health
Macular degeneration is a leading cause of eye-related medical issues. Antioxidants that aid in reducing inflammation, such as fennel seeds, help to slow the progress of the degeneration and improve vision. Fennel seeds were also found to increase blood vessel dilation and were found to lower pressure in the eyes. It has also been used to treat and prevent glaucoma, a vision-impairing disease which is often associated with elevated eye pressure.
31. Mental Health
Endorphins found in fennel are released into the bloodstream when it is consumed. It creates a feeling of euphoria that helps people dealing with depression. Brain health is improved by potassium found in fennel seeds, while increased oxygen to the brain aids in slowing down the onset of diseases such as dementia.
32. Oil Compounds
Fennel seeds are rich in volatile oil compounds such as cineole, myrcene, and chavicol. These aid in digestive, carminative, and antioxidant reactions in the body.
33. Reduces Inflammation
Whether internal or external, fennel seeds have a strong anti-inflammatory known as Anethole that can easily cure inflammation without side effects.
Iron and histamine rich fennel juice are a natural remedy for those suffering from anemia. It can increase the production of hemoglobin in the body and prevents the formation of blood clots in the body.
35. Relieves Water Retention
Acting as a diuretic, fennel tea can flush excess fluids from the body. To help relieve puffiness under your eyes caused by water retention, apply strong fennel tea under your eyes.
Selection and Storage
Store whole fennel seeds as you would any other seed – using a clean air sealed container in a cool, humid free, and dark place. For ground or powdered fennel seeds, place them inside the fridge in an airtight container.
Benefits of Fennel Seeds For Your Skin
Fennel seeds are a natural antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. They help your skin’s appearance to be free of acne and glowing. There are different ways fennel seeds can be used on your face.
Fennel Seed Face Mask
Yet another healthy way to use fennel as part of your skin care regime is to mix it into a mask. Infuse ½ a cup of boiling water with a teaspoon of fennel seeds. Then once it cools, add it to a mixture of oatmeal and honey. Next, mix it until it’s smooth and spread it onto your face for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with lukewarm water.
Fennel Seed Skin Toner
There are different methods of applying fennel to your skin. As a toner, first boil fennel seeds. Allow them to cool and add fennel essential oil to the water. Filter it and then dab it onto your skin with a cotton ball.
Fennel Seed Steam Facial
For a fennel seed facial, lean over a couple of cups of boiling water with about one teaspoon of fennel seeds mixed in for approximately five minutes. You can do this two times a week help your pores take in the benefits of the fennel seeds.
Benefits of Fennel Seeds For Your Hair
Don’t leave your hair out of the amazing benefits fennel seed offer. When you use this amazing seed on your tresses, it will help to treat dandruff, soothe itchiness and bumps on the scalp, prevent hair breakage, and treat shedding hair strands. Like the skin solutions, there are different ways to apply it to your hair. Here’s the method we found most beneficial.
Fennel Seed-Vinegar Solution
Boil one cup of water and pour it into a bowl where you’ve already crushed a spoon of fennel seeds. Let it sit for half an hour, and then add a spoon of vegetable glycerin and apple cider vinegar. Filter the solution then massage it into your hair and scalp. Next, allow it absorb into your hair and scalp for a while then rinse. You can store the remaining solution in a glass container and reuse it again.
Fennel and Fennel Seed Precautions
Although both fennel and fennel seeds are most likely safe when eaten in moderation, there are some safety concerns when it comes to more concentrated forms of fennel, such as supplements and extracts.
For example, fennel has very strong estrogenic properties. This means that it acts similarly to the hormone estrogen. This can be quite helpful for relieving the symptoms of menopause, but can be unsafe for women who are pregnant.
Due to the estrogen-like properties of fennel, there is some concern over its potential teratogenicity – this is the potential to disturb fetal growth and development.
A study that looked into the teratogenicity of fennel essential oil showed that, in high doses, it may have toxic effects on fetal cells.
Although eating both fennel and fennel seeds is generally safe, pregnant women should avoid the intake of any concentrated forms of fennel such as supplements, and they should also avoid ingesting the essential oil of the plant.
Fennel may also affect certain medications. This can include estrogen pills and some specific cancer medications. With this in mind, it is always important to check with your healthcare provider before taking any high doses fennel in the form of supplements, essential oil, or extracts.
Fennel Seeds: Conclusion
Fennel seeds are highly nutritious and can offer a large number of health benefits.
Adding fennel seeds into your diet can improve your heart health, suppress appetite, reduce inflammation, and can even prove some anticancer effects.
Do you have any recipes involving fennel or fennel seeds? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas. Please leave us a comment in the comments section below this article.