Fennel is sweet aromatic seeds of plant Foeniculum vulgare and used as kitchen spice. Many of us sometimes use this for curing digestive troubles. New mothers are given fennel water for increasing breast milk. Children and babies are given fennel tea in small amount to cure colic. This aromatic herb is useful in abdominal gas, burning syndrome, vomiting, low appetite etc. It is also chewed as a mouth freshener after having meals. Chewing fennel also stimulates bile flow and helps in better food digestion. Here is given the information about fennel plant, seeds, its medicinal uses, the way it should be used and some other details.
Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Vernacular names of Fennel
- Sanskrit: Satapuspa
- Assamese: Guvamuri
- Bengali: Marui, Panmauri
- English: Fannel Fruit
- Gujrati: Variyali
- Hindi: Saunf
- Kannada: Badisompu, Doddasompu
- Kashmiri: Sanuf, Badnai
- Malayalam: Kattusatakuppa, Parinjaeragum
- Marathi: Badishop
- Oriya: Panamadhuri
- Punjabi: Saunf
- Tamil: Shombu
- Telugu: Sopu
- Ayurvedic: Mishreya, Mishi, Madhurika, Madhura, Shatapushpa, Shataahva.
- Unani: Baadiyaan, Saunf.
- Siddha/Tamil: Sombu
Fennel plant is aromatic perennial, erect, glabrous, 1-2 m high plant which is cultivated extensively throughout India up to 1830 m and also sometimes found wild. It is native to Southern Europe and Mediterranean region but now has become widely naturalised in many parts of the world.
The plant has feathery leaves and green-yellow flowers. The fruits are dry seed and 4–10 mm long. As spice the seeds of plant are used. The fruits ripen in September, stems are cut with sickles and put up in loose sheaves to dry in sun. On drying, fruits are beaten out in a cloth in sun, cleaned by winnowing and collected. Dried fennel seeds are aromatic, anise-flavoured spice, brown or green in colour when fresh and slowly turns dull grey as the seed ages.
Ayurvedic Properties and Action of Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are tonic that improves body immunity and removes toxins. As mentioned in Ayurveda, It has following properties and action.
- Rasa (Taste): Madhura/Sweet, Katu (pungent), Tikta/Bitter
- Guna (Characteristics): Laghu/Light, Ruksha/Dry
- Virya (Potency): Sheet/ Cool
- Vipaka (Post Digestive Effect): Madhura/Sweet
- Action: Anulomana/carminative, Balya (increase strength and are tonifying), Dipana (Digestive stimulant), Vata-pitta-hara (Balances Vata and Pitta), Amadosha-hara (removes toxins)
- Therapeutic uses – Pain, Agnimandya/digestive weakness, Kasa/Cough, Pravahika, Raktadosha, Arsha
Medicinal uses of Fennel seeds
Fennel seeds are used traditionally for treatment of digestive problems. Its internal use gives relief in gas, bloating, colic, nausea, inflammation and cough. The seeds also have ability to stimulate breast milk and is a useful remedy for breastfeeding mothers. Fennel gives relief in bronchitis and cough. Fennel stimulates movements of the digestive system, and the transit of the contents within it. It also stimulate bile flow from the liver. Fennel seeds contains fixed oil from 15 to 30% and a volatile essential oil up to 12%. The fruit also contains flavonoids, iodine, kaempferols, umbelliferone and stigmasterol and ascorbic acid, traces of aluminium, barium, lithium, copper, manganese, silicon and titanium. Fennel contains aroma active compounds anethole which is an active estrogenic agent. Below is given, how to use fennel seeds for treatment of many common ailments.
Digestive weakness: For improving digestion, soak 25 grams of fennel seeds in 250 ml water for two hours. Filter and use the macerate at short intervals.
Diarrhoea, dysentery: Take 3-6 grams powdered seeds, add in glass of buttermilk and drink twice a day.
Abdominal pain, colic: In case of pain in abdomen, take 3-6 gram seeds powder and 2 gram Saindhava (rock-salt) with water thrice daily. Or chew 3-6 grams fennel.
Bad breath, mouth freshener: Chew 1 teaspoon fennel.
Hyperacidity: Fennel seeds in combination with Poha (Rice flakes) are useful in managing hyperacidity. Take poha and fennel in equal proportion and reduced them to powder. Take 30g of this powder and soak in one litre of water overnight. Next day this liquid is to be taken during the day whenever thirsty. Or take 3-6 grams seeds powder with coconut water or water two times a day.
Nausea, vomiting: If you are suffering from nausea, vomiting then boil 5 gm fennel in 250 ml milk. Filter, add some sugar and drink.
Constipation: In constipation, add Gulkand and fennel in one glass milk and drink before going to bed.
Insomnia, headache: In insomnia and headache add 5 gm in glass of water and drink.
Glowing skin, antioxidant, improving immunity: For glowing skin eat 6 gm fennel, two times daily in morning and evening.
Burning sensation: To get relief from burning sensation, mix equal quantity of coriander seeds and fennel seeds. Grind both to make fine powder. Add some misri/sugar candy and eat 1 spoon after meal with water.
Headache: For pain in head fennel can be used externally. Make paste of fennel with chandan and apply on forehead.