Fennel or “Foenicum vulgare” is a kind of edible herb that originates from the Mediterranean and has been popular since its cultivation along monasteries during the middle Ages. It was introduced to the Northern part of America by missionaries from Spain to grown in medicinal gardens at home. Also known as Star Anise in California, fennel was believed to contain magical powers and placed in front of doors to repel evil spirits in ancient times. The Fennel seeds were also used for blocking keyholes so that ghosts were supposedly kept from gaining access to homes. Additionally, the herb was known for its rejuvenating effect on a man’s body and how it is able to improve on one’s eyesight. Fennel and its seeds have also been used for making pickles or scented vinegar and bread, as well as a seasoning for meat and fish, because of its unique bittersweet aroma and mild minty flavor.
The Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Fennel has a rich content of minerals and vitamins such as vitamins C, E, and B3, potassium, manganese, calcium, magnesium, copper and iron. Copper is necessary to generate red blood cells, while iron is essential for their formation. The potassium content of fennel seeds is effective in lowering the blood pressure, which decreases the risk of heart attacks.
Fennel seeds contain several antioxidants, including “quercitin” and “kaempferol.” These anti-oxidants eliminate damaging free radicals that can cause infections, some types of cancers, and various disorders that accompany aging. They are also a great source of the dietary fiber that helps in increasing food mass through the absorption of water along the body’s digestive system, which relieves constipation. The fibers are also able combine bile salts that come from cholesterol, reduce the chances that they are re-absorbed in the colon, which in turn helps in lowering the levels of LDL cholesterol. The mucus membrane if the colon is also protected from cancer. The manganese content of fennel seeds is utilized as co-factor for “superoxide dismutase,” which is potent antioxidant enzyme.
Fennel treatments and other uses
Because of the cleansing and revitalizing effects of fennel, it is used as treatment for bruises, obesity, cellulitis, water retention, halitosis and mouth inflammations. It is also very helpful in relieving symptoms of a cold and reducing coughing bouts because of its alpha-pinen content.
Fennels seed mixtures are able to cure stomach pains as well as stimulate the digestive process. By blending together both the seeds and the leaves of fennel, the mixture is effective in getting rid of intestinal worms and other bacteria in children. Eye irritations are relieved and the eyesight is enhanced through the mixture too. When combined with fennel roots, fennel seeds can be used to clean out the spleen, the liver, and the billiary bladder.
Volatile oil coming from fennel seeds act as an antiseptic, carminative, expectorant, and sedative. It is great as massage oil, which can relieve pain in the joints. It is also used for making aromatic soaps as well as perfumes. Additionally, the pulverized fennels seeds can be placed in the surroundings of stables and coops, and is great in keeping fleas and insects away from the area.
Fennel seeds can also be used as flavoring or condiment to food, added onto fish and vegetable dishes, as well as cheese spreads. They are also used like caraway seed in flavoring bread, cakes, dough, cheese, and biscuits. In India, fennel seed are a part of “Bengali paanch pooran,” a curry powder.
Safety precautions with the use of fennel seeds
Taking large doses of fennel seeds must be avoided because its compounds could be neuro-toxic, which may result in a person experiencing seizures and hallucinations. Women who are pregnant are advised not to eat large amounts of fennel because it is a uterine stimulant.