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Health Benefits of the Sweet Spice (Fennel and Fennel Seeds)

Updated on April 17, 2020
rajan jolly profile image

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.


Origin And General Information

Latin Name : Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel seeds are called Saunf in India.

Fennel has a history of over 4000 years of cultivation. Greeks and Romans used fennel in traditional medicine and also used it in food. Greeks used it as an aid in slimming and to increase the milk of nursing mothers.

Fennel is a herbaceous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean but grown the world over now. It has an aromatic smell and flavour. The stems or stalks of the plant are hollow, its leaves are feather-like and finely dissected with the ends thread-like. Flowers are yellow and are produced in umbels, that is, the flowers having short but equally long stalks, are borne in a cluster spreading from a common point, just like the ribs of an umbrella.

The seeds are grooved or ribbed. The plant is normally grown for its flavourful leaves and seeds. India is the leading producer of fennel seeds.

Plain water extremely sweet if it is drunk immediately after chewing and consuming fennel seeds.

Fennel Plant


Uses Of Fennel

All parts of the fennel, the bulb, stalks, leaves and the seeds are consumed in one form or the other.

  • The bulb, that is, the stalk base, is eaten raw or cooked. The bulb, stalks, leaves and seeds are used in many food preparations.
  • Fennel seeds are used as flavor for bread, cakes, biscuits, cheese etc.
  • Dry fennel seeds are used as a spice in cooking.
  • In India and Pakistan, fennel seeds are roasted and eaten, They act as a mouth freshener and digestive.
  • The seeds are one of the ingredients of curry powder and are also used in fish dishes, vegetarian dishes etc.
  • The alcoholic beverage, Absinthe, has fennel as one of its important ingredients.
  • The plant and the powdered fennel seeds are used to drive away fleas in kennels and stables, as the fleas have an aversion to the plant.
  • Fennel is also used in toothpastes.

Fennel Bulbs


Nutrients In Fennel

  • Fennel seeds are extremely rich in minerals like copper, iron, potassium, selenium, zinc, magnesium as well as vitamins A, C, E and many of the B-complex group.
  • They are rich in dietary fibre and contain flavonoid antioxidants like kaempferol and quercetin.
  • Among the many active compounds in fennel are the essential oils anethole, fenchone, limonene, pinene, myrcene, chavicol and cineole.

Fennel Flowers


Nutritional Levels In Fennel Seeds

(click column header to sort results)
Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)  
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Nutrient Value
Percentage of RDA
345 Kcal
52.29 g
15.80 g
Total Fat
14.87 g
0 mg
Dietary Fiber
39.8 g
6.050 mg
0.470 mg
0.353 mg
0.408 mg
Vitamin A
135 IU
Vitamin C
21 mg
88 mg
1694 mg
1196 mg
1.067 mg
18.54 mg
385 mg
6.533 mg
487 mg
3.70 mg

Infusion Of Fennel Seeds


Health Benefits Of Fennel

  • Fennel has carminative benefits hence it is used in laxative preparations. Gripe water contains fennel and has been famous for its use in colic, flatulence and carminative in infants.
  • Fennel consumption is supposed to benefit in improving eyesight.
  • Fennel improves milk production in nursing mothers.
  • Fennel is beneficial in halitosis and mouth inflammations and eliminates colds. Steam from boiling fennel leaves can be inhaled for relief in respiratory infections like asthma and bronchitis.
  • An infusion of fennel leaves and seeds is helpful in removing intestinal worms.
    To make the infusion, crush 1 tsp fennel seeds in a cup of water or milk. Boil and drink when cool enough. Consume 2 to 3 cups of this daily.
  • The dietary fibre in fennel helps in lowering LDL cholesterol, protects from colon cancer and removing constipation.
  • Fennel's folate content converts the dangerous homocysteine into other harmless molecules and prevents damage to the blood cell walls thereby preventing stroke and heart attacks.
  • Fennel helps to lose weight, increases bile production, is an anti-bacterial and reduces pain. Fennel seed oil eases joint pains when massaged.
  • Fennel seeds and fennel tea reduce gas, bloating and indigestion. My video below shows how you can easily and quickly prepare this fennel tea decoction at home.

Natural Home Remedy For Gas, Bloating and Indigestion

Uses Of Fennel In Specific Health Conditions

For Diarrhoea With Cramps And Mucus

Take equal quantities of roasted fennel seeds and candy sugar. Grind and take 2 tsp every 2 hours with cold water. It benefits in mucus and stomach cramps during diarrhoea.

For Mucus In Stools

Put 5 drops of fennel oil on 1/2 tsp sugar. Take 4 times daily for relief.

In Diarrhoea

  • Take 3 gms raw fennel and 3 gms roasted fennel. Grind it with some candy sugar and take for relief.
  • In small children suffering from diarrhoea and colic make fennel water as follows.
    Add 6 gms fennel seeds to 80 ml water. Boil and simmer till 40 ml water remains. Add 1 gm black salt to this. Cool and give 10 ml of this water 3 times a day.

For Easy Dentition

Boil 1 tsp fennel seeds in the required quantity of cow's milk, strain and fill it in a bottle. Give 1 tsp 4 daily.

For Bloating Of The Stomach In Small Children

Soal 1 tsp fennel seeds in 1/2 a cup of water at night. In the morning squash the seeds in this water and then strain the liquid. Add this water to the child's milk before giving to drink. This relieves bloating, gas and colic.

For Itching

Grind equal quantities of fennel seeds and coriander seeds. Add 1 and 1/2 times ghee and twice the amount of sugar. Keep this firmly capped in a bottle. Take 30 gms in the morning and 30 gms at night. It relieves all types of itching.

For Distension & Heaviness Of Stomach

Soak some fennel seeds in lemon juice. After meals, eat about a tsp of this. It increases appetite too and removes constipation.

To Improve Eyesight

Make it a habit to eat 1 tsp fennel seed after every meal. It improves digestion and eyesight.
Grind fennel seeds. Mix 1/2 tsp of this with 1 tsp sugar and take it with some milk. This also improves eyesight.

In Colds

Boil and simmer 15 gms fennel seeds and 3 cloves in a litre of water till about 250 ml water remains. Mix brown sugar or sugar. Stir and drink in sips.

Make Gulkand At Home

To Prevent Miscarriage

  • On getting pregnant, take 60 gms ground fennel and 30 gms gulkand (It is a sweet preserve of rose petals). Mix in water and drink once daily.
    Gulkand is easily available in Indian stores abroad.
    Check out the recipe video above to make your own gulkand at home. It is really easy.
  • During the entire period of pregnancy, drink saunf (fennel) ark. Saunf ark or fennel ark is available in Indian stores abroad.

For Excessive Sleep

Boil and simmer 10 gms fennel seeds in 500 ml water till 125 ml water remains. Add a little salt and drink in the morning and at night for 5 days. It removes lethargy too.

To Get Rid Of Smoking Habit

Roast fennel seeds in some clarified butter or ghee. Bottle it up. Whenever you get the urge to smoke chew 1/2 a tsp of this. It will stop the inclination to go for a cigarette for sure.

In Insomnia

Boil and simmer 10 gms fennel seeds in 500 ml water till 125 ml water remains. Strain and mix with 250 ml of cow's milk and 15 gms ghee. Add sugar to taste. Drink.

For Constipation

  • Boil and simmer 4 tsp fennel seeds in 200 ml water till 100 ml water remains. Drink for relief.
  • At bedtime, take 1/2 tsp ground fennel seed with hot water.
  • Take fennel seeds, myrobalans and sugar, 1/2 tsp of each with hot water.

In High Fever

Boil fennel seeds in water and take 2 tsp at frequent intervals. It lowers fever.

In Non-Bleeding Piles

Grind equal quantities of fennel seeds and candy sugar. Take 1/2 tsp of this with milk.

In Bleeding Piles

Take 1 tsp each of fennel seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds. Boil and let simmer in 250 ml water till 125 ml water remains. Add 1 tsp pure ghee to this. This relieves.

For Stomachache

Take 2 tsp fennel seeds and rock salt to taste. Grind and take with hot water.

For Mouth Ulcers

Chew fennel seeds regularly after meals if you are prone to mouth ulcers.

As A Digestive

Roast equal quantities of fennel and cumin seeds. Chew 1 tsp of this mixture after meals, regularly.

In Cough

Take 2 tsp fennel seeds and 2 tsp carom seeds, also called thymol seeds. Boil these in 500 ml water. Add 2 tsp honey and strain this mixture. In children's cough, give them 3 tsp every hour.

To Improve Memory

Crush fennel seeds lightly so as to remove the internal matter. Add an equal quantity of candy sugar to this and grind. Take 1 tsp of this in the morning and at night with cold water or hot milk. It cools the brain too.

Fennel Tea

To make fennel tea, crush 2 tsp fennel seeds. Pour 1 cup water on them, cover and steep for 5 minutes. Strain and drink.

Fennel tea stimulates the digestion, relieves gas, bloating and pain.
It is helpful in removing worms , regulates menses and eases menstrual spasms.
It benefits in digestive system of cancer patients undergoing radiation and chemotherapy.
It benefits in respiratory tract infections like coughs, colds, sore throat,asthma and bronchitis. Can be used as a gargle.

Fennel Oil

It is a volatile oil with a slightly spicy aroma and is extracted from the crushed seeds by evaporative distillation.

It contains pinene, fenchone, myrcene, anethol, chavicol, limonene, cineole compounds as its components.
The oil is antiseptic, removes phlegm, controls spasms, reduces nausea and vomiting, hiccups and is a sedative.
It tones the liver and spleen and increases milk.
It is also used in soap and perfume making.


As a vapour therapy, it can be used for stimulating appetite and improving strength.

Blended in other massage oils or added to bath oil it can fix digestive complaints and reduce cellulite.

In creams and lotions it can clear and tone skin, heal bruises, reduce skin oiliness, wrinkles, cellulite, ease joint pains and swelling.


The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements.

Fennel Soup Recipe

FennelSlaw Thanksgiving Recipe

© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly


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    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      Navsheen I'm glad you realize the importance of moderation in what one eats. I hope this helps. God bless!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      thnku sir for ur advice......I hope it wil help me to limit the saunf frm 50grms to 2 tsp per day

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      5 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      navsheen, anything in excess, even good food, is bad and can cause some problem. Hence moderation is always advised in what we eat. This applies to saunf too.

      Though saunf raises hemoglobin it is best to limit it to 2 tsp per day, one after each meal. It'll help digest food and prevent indigestion.

    • profile image

      navsheen kaur 

      5 years ago

      hii sir....frm past 6 years I am eating saunf....I love eating saunf and I am edicted to it.. everyday I eat 50grams of saunf.....I also heard that excess of eating saunf can decrease the per my hemoglobin is is it due to eating excess amount of saunf per day or it is my internal health issue....waiting for ur rply,,,,,,



    • profile image

      navsheen kaur 

      5 years ago

      hii problem is I am edicted of eating saunf very badly...everyday I eat 50grams of green I heard that excess of eating saunf can decrease the hemoglobin and can cause hemoglobin is very low nd its due to the fennel that m eating or its my internal prblm....could u plz suggest me

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing it gkaakbfddded

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      suffering from constipation and pile mass occured.... If roasted fennel seed powder can be taken at bed time with luke warm water can be cure constipation permanantly and reduce pile mass

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      thanks, so many doubts cleared.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Can we use fennel seed power (memory / eye sight improve ) for girl child of about 9 yrs old on a daily basis ?

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      jalice, Clove is a s[ice. You can check it out on wikipedia. You need to take 3 individual pieces of it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      what do you mean with 3 cloves and what is that? Explain pls. and thank you.


      In Colds

      Boil and simmer 15 gms fennel seeds and 3 cloves in 1 liter water till about 250 ml water remains. Mix brown sugar or sugar. Stir and drink in sips.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      6 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      joy, fennel seeds regulate blood pressure.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Frm fews days m taking fennel seed and candy sugar with water in early morning...but frm last two days m suffering frm low blood pressure...its happn why..

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      So informative........i had no idea funnel had sooooo many advantages.....:-):-)

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      alocsin, I'm sure you will like the fennel sausages and benefit fom the healthy fennel too. Thanks for the read and comments. I appreciate your vote up and sharing.

    • alocsin profile image

      Aurelio Locsin 

      8 years ago from Orange County, CA

      I've never even considered fennel in cooking. But now that you've pointed out some of its advantages, I think I'll try the sausages. Voting this Up and Useful. Thanks for SHARING.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ bri36. Thanks for all the nice words. I appreciate your being here and I hope the fennel sausages taste as good. Thanks for the vote.

      @ robie2. Thanks for being so kind. Thanks for the vote, bookmarking and visiting.

    • robie2 profile image

      Roberta Kyle 

      8 years ago from Central New Jersey

      I had no idea fennel had so many positive medicinal uses. I've never liked it much cooked as a vegetable as I am not fond of licorice, but I do like it sliced and chopped up raw as a slaw or salad. Think I need to eat more of it. Thanks for the information-- much appreciated. Bookmarking and voting this up.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This hub is really great! thanks for all the cool videos I liked the Fennel sausages with lemon potatoes this will definitely make it to the dinner table in our house. yes I voted^

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      8 years ago from Space Coast

      You are the man Rajan Jolly. Glad to know you.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ WD Curry 111. Thanks for all this information which is so relevant. Thanks for your visit.

      @ BeYOUtifulLife. I am sure you will benefit with its regular use. Thanks for all the accolades. Thanks for the visit.

      @ cebutouristspot. I wish you well and with regular use you should definitely feel better. Thanks for being here.

      @ Lady_E. Sure, fennel in any form is better than not having it at all. I hope you like it. Thanks for the read. I value your visit.

    • Lady_E profile image


      8 years ago from London, UK

      Thanks. I have often seen these but have never used them. I love the Fennel sausages Recipe. Wouldn't mind starting with that. :)

    • cebutouristspot profile image


      8 years ago from Cebu

      Thank you for sharing this. I will now start to use this on my cooking. I have cholesterol problem and I see this can help me back to healthy status

    • BeYOUtifuLife profile image


      8 years ago from USA

      I have never used fennel and was not aware of its curative properties. Your hub is well written and useful. I will begin using this in my diet. I appreciate your style. Thank you Rajan Jolly.

    • WD Curry 111 profile image

      WD Curry 111 

      8 years ago from Space Coast

      I am always amazed at your thorough studies. I must get your permission to print all of your hubs for my library (bookshelf). What if the grid goes down? How will I ever remember all of this? So many of the plants that you mention grow around here. Many were cultivated by the Native Americans, who were mistakenly called Indians (wishful thinking on the part of Europeans). Now they are wild. We use wild fennel in salads, soups, as a spice, and sometimes a vegetable. The bulbs are small. I am glad to know it's benefits. Thank you, sir.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      thumbi7, thanks for your input. Thanks for reading, voting and sharing.

    • thumbi7 profile image

      JR Krishna 

      8 years ago from India

      We use fennel regularly in cooking but was not aware of the many good properties it has. Voted up and sharing.

    • rajan jolly profile imageAUTHOR

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      8 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA.

      @ KimberlyLake. Glad that this was informative to you. Thanks for visiting, voting it up and sharing it. I apperciate your input.

      @scottrights. That's healthy news. Fennel and mint are two amongst other Asian spices that are regularly used in Indian cooking and they are healthy. I'm happy you like the write up. Thanks for being here and leaving your appreciation.

    • scottrights profile image


      8 years ago from San Diego

      I go to several Indian restaurants that have a dish with mints and fennel on the way out. It's great stuff and I enjoy the flavor. Thanks for an interesting article.

    • KimberlyLake profile image

      Kimberly Lake 

      8 years ago from California

      Great information, I learned a lot from this hub. Thanks! Voted up and socially shared.


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