“What are fennel seeds?” A question everyone seems to ask on first encounter with the famous herbal and spice staples. Fennel seeds come from fennel, a perennial plant grown originally in Southern Europe. It is sometimes called sweet fennel and the fruit is popularly known as fennel seed. Technically, “fennel seeds” are not seeds at all but the dried fruit of the plant.
Scientifically known as foeniculum vulgare, fennel seeds belong to the family of parsley or umbelliferae, with other popular herb and spices members such as caraway, dill, anise and cumin. It has been traditionally used as a remedy for indigestion and to stave off hunger, increase lactation in women and increase the stamina of the men.
It was regarded as an Anglo-Saxon sacred plant because of its many health remedies. Nowadays, not only is it used widely for many different ailments, it is also widely grown in the whole of Europe, some countries in Middle East, in China, India and Turkey.
USES OF FENNEL SEEDS
Fennel seeds have many culinary and medicinal uses. Because of its aromatic smell, fennel is often used in baking and cooking many different kinds of foods. There are also many health remedies fennel seeds provide. Some of its culinary and medicinal uses include the following.
- Fennel seeds best complement fish dishes.
- Crushed fennel seeds may be mixed with spreads such as soft cheese.
- Fennel seeds may be used on vegetable dishes, broths and soups as a spice. It is especially good to include them in curry sauces.
- Fennel seeds may be chewed directly like a candy after rich meals for better food digestion. They also work like a mouth freshener.
- It aids in digestion of food, treats indigestion and cures flatulence.
- Traditionally used to increase milk lactation in women. It is also believed to increase breast fat tissue, thus today, fennel seeds are also used to increase breast size of women.
- It is a wonderful remedy for colic in babies.
- It has expectorant properties, making it an excellent cure for cough. It is also widely used to treat many respiratory ailments like bronchitis.
- It removes blockages in the intestines and flushes out harmful toxins out of the system.
- It can treat conjunctivitis and may be use as a water solution in washing infected eyes.
- It controls menopausal symptoms and relives menstrual pain in women.
- It is popularly used as a weight-loss supplement because of its appetite-suppressant properties. It can make you fell full longer, thus promoting weight loss.
Fennel seeds contain a lot of antioxidants, dietary fibers, vitamins and minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc and magnesium. It is also rich in Vitamins A, B and B complex and Vitamin C. Its active components anethole, limonene, fenchone, anisic aldehyde, chavicol, myrcene, cineole and pinene are what make fennel seeds effective in their many restorative and curative functions in different body systems like the digestive system, respiratory system and the female reproductive system.
So what are fennel seeds? It is considered by most as a wonder herb and by many women as a panacea herb because of its many uses and health benefits. So, should you have one in your kitchen? Definitely.