Benefits Of The Sweet Spice Fennel And Saunf (Fennel Seeds)
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 milk of nursing mothers.
Fennel is a herbaceous perennial plant native to the Mediterranean but grown the world over now. It has a aromatic smell and flavor. 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.
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.
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 Bcomplex 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 anethol, fenchone,limonene, pinene, myrcene, chavicol and cineole.
Nutritional Levels In Fennel Seeds
Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Infusion Of Fennel Seeds
Health Uses 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 seeds and fennel tea reduce bloating and indigestion.
- Fennel consumption is supposed to benefit in improving eyesight.
- Fennel improves milk production in nursing mothers.
- Fennel is beneficial in halitosis and mouth inflammations, 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.
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.
- 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 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.
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.
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.
Natural Remedy To Reduce Gas & Bloating With Fennel Seeds
Make Gulkand At Home
Make Your Own Gulkand
- Place rose petals and sugar in layers, in a wide-mouthed and airtight glass jar.
- Place this jar in sunlight for 6 hours everyday for around 3 to 4 weeks.
- On alternate days, the contents of the jar should be stirred with a wooden stick.
- The jar should be kept indoors once done.
Other ingredients, such as silver foil, Praval Pishti, cardamom seeds, or Muktapishti (powdered pearl) can be added to increase the cooling properties of the gulkand.
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. However, recipe to make your own gulkand is given alongside.
- 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.
Boil and simmer 10 gms fennel seeds in 500 ml water till 125 ml water remains. Strain and mix with 250 ml cow's milk and 15 gms ghee. Add sugar to taste. Drink.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
To make fennel tea, crush 2 tsp fennel seeds. Pour 1 cup water on them, cover and steep for 5 miuntes. 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.
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 the appetite and improving strenghth.
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.
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Other Links To Fennel
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- The Benefits of Fennel Essential Oil
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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.
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© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly