Is Fennel Good for You?

The health benefits of fennel are many and may include relief from anemia, indigestion, flatulence, constipation, colic, diarrhea, respiratory disorders, and menstrual disorders. It may also aid in eye care. Fennel, which has the scientific name Foeniculum vulgare miller, or its essence, is widely used around the world in mouth fresheners, toothpaste, desserts, antacids, and in various culinary applications.

Fennel ( Foeniculum vulgare ) is an aromatic herb that originated in the Mediterranean region and has many culinary and medicinal uses. Apart from the uses of fennel already mentioned, there are numerous medicinal uses and health benefits, mainly due to the components of its essential oils , which are summarized below.

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, fennel bulb is a source of energy, vitamin C , dietary fiber , potassium and other essential minerals like calcium , phosphorus , and sodium . Vitamin C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissues, helps form collagen , and protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart diseases. Some of the components in the fennel essential oil are probably the stimulants as they encourage secretion of digestive and gastric juices, reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines, and facilitate proper absorption of nutrients from the food.

Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, are thought to act as a possible laxative, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine . Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

This means that it can stimulate the elimination of damaging LDL or bad cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart diseases, atherosclerosis , and strokes. However but the fennel seed extract has been explored a bit more, and the findings of one study regarding cancer protection were quite impressive. It shows that, in animal subjects, the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but it even has the potential to be chemoprotective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment.

Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which can be an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes as per a report published in the Journal of Hypertension . High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Also, for diabetics, blood pressure issues can make the management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications.

Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it can facilitate increased electrical conduction throughout the body. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality. Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea caused by bacterial infections, as it may have some components such as anethol and cineole which may have disinfectant and antibacterial properties.

Fennel being rich in many nutrients including vitamin C helps boost the immune system and protects the body against infections and damage caused by free radicals. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of consumer products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women. This is due to the abundance of antioxidants (vitamin C and amino acids like arginine are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers, and stimulants.

Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons. Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such as congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of cineole and anethole, which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues.

Fennel seeds and powder can help break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body to ensure quick recovery from respiratory conditions. Certain components of the fennel essential oil such as anethol, and a few other chemicals present in the plant itself can be dangerous if ingested in too large a quantity.

What does fennel do to the body?

Fresh fennel bulb is a good source of vitamin C, a water-soluble vitamin critical for immune health, tissue repair, and collagen synthesis ( 2 ). Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant in your body, protecting against cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals ( 3 ).

What are the side effects of fennel?

difficulty breathing..tightness of chest/throat..chest pain..nausea..vomiting..hives..rash..itchy or swollen skin.

Is fennel healthier raw or cooked?

Fresh (raw or cooked) fennel offers the most nutritional value. (4,12) The possible benefits of fennel supplements, teas, and essential oils are less certain.

Is eating too much fennel bad?

They can cause side effects if you use too much. An research study on animals in 2015 found that high amounts of fennel seed oils raised female hormones in mice. It isn’t known if fennel seeds have the same effect on people or how much you would need to eat. It’s also possible to be allergic to fennel seeds.

Fennel is one of those vegetables that may be less familiar than, say, broccoli or zucchini. But this bulbous fall veggie and its seeds deserve to be part of your regular vegetable rotation. Here are some of fennel‘s nutrients and potential health benefits, what it tastes like, and how to incorporate it into raw and cooked dishes.

Rely on the guidance and supervision of a physician to determine if you can benefit from an oil, which formulation to buy, and how to use itas well as to monitor any potential interactions, allergic reactions, or other side effects. A 2020 study, published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice , looked at the effect of fennel in people with knee osteoarthritis.

Patients were randomly assigned to receive either capsules containing powdered fennel extract, or a placebo, twice a day for two weeks. When shopping for fresh fennel, look for a small- to medium-size heavy, intact white bulb that’s unbruised, with bright green firm stalks and feathery leaves.

Both the crunchy bulb and the seeds of the fennel plant have a mild, licorice-like flavor. Yet, the flavor of the seeds is more potent due to their powerful essential oils.

Vitamin C also acts as a potent antioxidant in your body, protecting against cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals ( 3 ). Both the bulb and seeds contain the mineral manganese , which is important for enzyme activation, metabolism, cellular protection, bone development, blood sugar regulation, and wound healing ( 4 ).

Aside from manganese, fennel and its seeds contain other minerals vital to bone health, including potassium, magnesium, and calcium ( 5 ). Finally, the plant compound limonene helps combat free radicals and has been shown to protect rat cells from damage caused by certain chronic diseases ( 9 , 10 ). Summary All parts of the fennel plant are rich in powerful antioxidants like chlorogenic acid, limonene, and quercetin all of which may benefit health.

That said, another study in 47 women found that those who supplemented with 300 mg of fennel extract daily for 12 weeks gained a small amount of weight, compared to a placebo group. Fennel and its seeds also contain nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and calcium, which play important roles in keeping your heart healthy ( 14 ). For example, including rich sources of potassium in your diet may help reduce high blood pressure, a risk factor for heart disease ( 15 ).

The wide array of powerful plant compounds in fennel may help protect against chronic diseases, including certain cancers. Although these results are promising, human studies are needed before fennel or its extract can be recommended as an alternative treatment for cancer. Research suggests that specific substances found in anethole, such as dianethole and photoanethole, are responsible for the galactogenic effects of the plant ( 6 ).

Negative side effects, such as poor weight gain and difficulty feeding, have also been reported in infants whose mothers drank lactation teas containing fennel ( 21 , 22 , 23 ). Studies show that fennel extract inhibits the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and yeasts, such as Escherichia coli , Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans ( 24 ). A review of 10 studies noted that fennel may improve sexual function and satisfaction in menopausal women, as well as relieve hot flashes, vaginal itching, dryness, pain during sex, and sleep disturbances ( 27 ).

Its important to note that many of these studies used concentrated doses of the plant, and its unlikely that eating small amounts of fennel or its seeds would offer the same benefits. Summary Fennel has antibacterial properties and may improve mental health, relieve menopausal symptoms, and reduce inflammation. A study that evaluated the teratogenicity of fennel essential oil showed that high doses may have toxic effects on fetal cells ( 28 ).

Although eating fennel and its seeds is likely safe, pregnant women should avoid taking supplements or ingesting the essential oil of this plant. Summary Although eating fennel and its seeds is likely safe, consuming higher doses in supplement form may react with certain medications and is unsafe for pregnant women. Both the flavorful, crunchy bulb and aromatic seeds of the fennel plant are highly nutritious and may offer an abundance of impressive health benefits.

Fennel is a perennial herb with yellow flowers and a flavor similar to licorice. Fennel is a main ingredient in liquors such as Absinthe and toothpaste. Its also used to add flavor to many different food products.

Fennel has been cultivated for its culinary and medicinal benefits for centuries, and modern science has begun corroborating some of the traditional claims. In one study, fennel combined with curcumin significantly improved symptoms and quality of life for people with IBS over a 30-day trial.

Topical application of fennel oil has also shown effectiveness for sexual function, vaginal dryness, and excess hair growth on women. A randomized, double-blind trial indicated that fennel reduces pain and stiffness and may be an appropriate alternative for complementary treatment in women with knee osteoarthritis. Fennel tea has no known serious drug interactions, but it may inhibit the effects of birth control pills because of its estrogen-like properties.

Sources Brazilian Journal of Biology: Chemical composition of essential oils from the apiaceae family, cytotoxicity, and their antifungal activity in vitro against candida species from oral cavity. Burns : The effect of fennel essential Oil in combination with antibiotics on Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from carriers. Journal of Gastrointestinal and Liver Diseases : Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome.

What is Fennel?

Fennel (Apart from the uses of fennel already mentioned, there are numerous medicinal uses and health benefits, mainly due to the components of its essential oils, which are summarized below.

Fennel Nutrition Facts

According to the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, fennel bulb is a source of energy, vitamin C, dietary fiber, potassium and other essential minerals like calcium, phosphorus, and sodium. It provides small amounts of iron, magnesium, zinc, niacin, and vitamin K. It also contains B-vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin A, flavonols.

Health Benefits of Fennel

Let us look at the top health benefits of fennel in detail:

Possibly Rich source of Vitamin C

One cup of fennel bulb is known to contain almost 20 percent of the daily requirement of vitamin C, making it quite a rich source of this beneficial vitamin of our diet. Vitamin C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissues, helps form collagen, and protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart diseases.

May Help Prevent Anemia

Iron and histidine, an amino acid found in fennel, are both helpful in the treatment of anemia. Whereas iron is the chief constituent of hemoglobin, histidine stimulates the production of hemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood.

May Relieve Indigestion

It is a common practice, particularly in the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This has been done for many years as it is thought to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.Some of the components in the fennel essential oil are probably the stimulants as they encourage secretion of digestive and gastric juices, reduce inflammation in the stomach and intestines, and facilitate proper absorption of nutrients from the food. Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. It also has anti-acidic (basic) properties and is extensively used in antacid preparations. In culinary applications, it is also used as the main ingredient in many appetizers.

May Reduce Flatulence

Fennel is very popular as an antiflatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in it. Its extract can be used by many, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medications to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.

May Treat Constipation

Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, are thought to act as a possible laxative, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote excretion. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

May Reduce Heart Diseases

Fennel can be a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream, according to research conducted, in the

May Have Anticancer Potential

The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied with regards to cancer protection. However but the fennel seed extract has been explored a bit more, and the findings of one study regarding cancer protection were quite impressive. It shows that, in animal subjects, the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumors, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but it even has the potential to be chemoprotective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. According to the same study, fennel seed extract exhibits anticancer potential against breast cancer and liver cancer.

May Regulate Blood Pressure

Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which can be an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes as per a report published in the

May Improve Brain Function

Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it can facilitate increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This is according to research published in the Yale University School of Medicine in 1939. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.

Possibly Effective Diarrhea Remedy

Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea caused by bacterial infections, as it may have some components such as anethol and cineole which may have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.

May Alleviate Symptoms of Colic

There are studies that suggest that herbal tea made using various herbs including fennel and fennel oil has the potential to relieve symptoms of colic. Fennel has certain antispasmodic qualities which also help it relax muscles and reduce the discomfort associated with the colic. Polymeric and heavy molecules are useful in the treatment of renal colic. Such polymers, also called phytoestrogens, are found in anethole, a component of the fennel essential oil. However, more scientific research is required to investigate the benefits and effects on humans.

May Boost Immunity

Fennel being rich in many nutrients including vitamin C helps boost the immune system and protects the body against infections and damage caused by free radicals.

May Regulate Menstruation

Fennel is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it is thought to ease and regulate menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of consumer products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.

May Aid in Eye Care

Incorporating fennel into meals can help protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as help reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the abundance of antioxidants (vitamin C and amino acids like arginine are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers, and stimulants. They are specifically found in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of its leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied to the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue.Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.

Fennel is rich in health-protective nutrients

According to a review inOne cup of raw fennel slices contains just 27 calories, with nearly 3 grams of fiber. It packs 17% of the daily goal for immune-supporting vitamin C and 10% for blood pressure-regulating potassium, plus smaller amounts of manganese, calcium, iron, and B vitamins.

Fennel has specific benefits for women’s health

For women, the health benefits of fennel are primarily tied to its oil. A recent paper, published in theThe report cites one study in which women taking 100 milligrams of fennel oil daily for eight weeks improved their scores on a menopause rating scale, compared with women on a sunflower oil placebo.However, I don’t recommend using essential oils on your own, either orally, topically, or even via aromatherapy. Rely on the guidance and supervision of a physician to determine if you can benefit from an oil, which formulation to buy, and how to use it—as well as to monitor any potential interactions, allergic reactions, or other side effects. This is especially true if you‘re pregnant or trying to conceive. Fennel supplements may also interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills.

Fennel seeds can aid digestion

The seeds from fennel plants are commonly used as a type of spice to season food. Medicinally, fennel seeds have also been used to treat bloating and gas, via a tea made from a small spoonful of the seeds and hot water, steeped for 20 minutes and sipped a half hour after a meal.

What fennel tastes like

Fennel has a licorice-like aroma, but the fresh bulb is light, bright, and mild. The taste is slightly sweet with a hint of perfumy flavor, but it’s delicate and not at all overpowering.When shopping for fresh fennel, look for a small- to medium-size heavy, intact white bulb that’s unbruised, with bright green firm stalks and feathery leaves. Fennel seeds have a stronger anise flavor that’s warm and sweet. This is why they’re typically used as a seasoning, rather than popping them like sunflower or pumpkin seeds.

Potential Health Benefits of Fennel Tea

One teaspoon of raw fennel seeds contain:Fennel is a good source of: