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Fennel Seeds

Fennel Seeds

“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.


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.

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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.

Fennel Seeds

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  1. Caitlin

    When I was a MUCH younger, married woman, I had an experience using fennel seeds. I was visiting my grandmother at the time and was very worried that my period was 2 weeks late. My grandmother, born in 1898, a known rural healer and midwife since the early 20′s, sensed something was wrong. When I told her, she asked if I was ready to have my first child. Having just started my career, no substantial funds or insurance, I told her no; we wanted to wait a bit. She then told me to get fennel seeds, crush them, and steep them in boiling water for a tea and take before I went to sleep that night. She said that this would help my period “come down” and when I got through having my babies, keep my “female parts” working right. As usual, I laughed at her witch doctoring, but did what she said thinking no harm could come from it as fennel seeds were used in everything from bread to stews. To my surprise, the next morning I awoke with my normal period, which lasted my regular 3-4 days. Following my period, I tested negative for pregnancy. Afterwards, whether I tried her remedies or not, I no longer dismissed her “witch doctoring.” I listened with respect. She often spoke of healing techniques that were used during the Great Depressions when she was just a rural farm girl. She told me that money for medicine wasn’t an option and people, especially women, doctored themselves and their families with what the land provided. These remedies were passed down for generations. She had the accumulated knowledge of the old South with its wild herbs and that of her slave parents and people from rural Africa. After she died, 3 months from her 94th birthday, I now see that so much of the teas, herbs (and advice) she recommended are coming back & being given to us in synthetic pills; we just pay an arm and a leg for it now. Years after her death, I value her wisdom, and even follow a lot of the advice she gave like “air out” frequently. I also now take responsibility for my health by heavily researching what I do for my health. I don’t first give that responsibility to my doctor which is so much easier to do in this century. (Please note: I’m not recommending anyone take fennel or its seeds for any health reason without consulting their doctor. I’m just relating an experience from my life)

  2. StephPyke

    WE use fennel all the time now, after reading a book called Dropping Acid, which is a diet for people with acid reflux. I recommend not only the seeds, but the whole fennel plant. you can buy it at the store, and you can eat it and use it like celery. It has a pleasant mild, sweet anise taste. I substitute fennel for celery in just about every soup recipe now. My husband, who suffers badly from reflux, chews a stalk when his stomach flares up. then he belches once or twice, and he is good for the night. He used to wake up choking on his own bile and acid. So, if you are bloating, or if your stomach is giving you fits, fennel is awesome, both the seed and the plant. You can get the plant in the store too, fennel, florintine fennel,or sometimes mislabeled as anise, it’s got a white bulb at the bottom and green celery-like stalks with leaves that look like dill. Good for the tummy, good for fiber. Lots of vitamins and minerals. It’s a super plant.

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