Fennel is an herb which is rich in phytoestrogens (also known as dietary estrogens) and it is used for a host of health problems including wind, colic and irritable bowel. Fennel benefits your kidney, lungs, spleen, liver, digestive system, urine flow and milk flow.
It's also commonly used for suppressing appetite, breast enlargement, promoting menstruation, amenhorrea, angina, asthma, anxiety, depression, heartburn, water retention, lowering blood pressure, boosting sexual desire and libido, coughs and respiratory congestion.
Fennel is also one of a few herbs which can be used to naturally and safely enlarge the breasts, and it is most likely known for this health benefit.
Originating in the Mediterranean, fennel is an aromatic plant and can be sweet or bitter in taste. It has been used for many centuries in both culinary and medicinal reasons. In fact, fennel is one of the main components of the alcohol absinthe – although it has no hallucinogenic properties.
Benefits of Fennel
Some of the main fennel benefits are:
- Treating anemia. Iron and an amino acid called histidine are both found in fennel and both are useful in the treatment of anemia. Iron is an essential element for blood production and 70% of your body's iron is found in the red blood cells. More iron is obviously beneficial for those suffering from anemia (low blood cell counts) and histidine can help to stimulate the production of hemoglobin alongside iron. Fennel benefits anemia by helping to increase the blood cell count by providing your body with these essential nutrients.
- Easing indigestion. Many cultures, particularly in India, will chew fennel seeds after their means. The reason for this is that the herb is known to aid and improve the digestive system. Also, chewing fennel can eliminate bad breath.
The essential oils in fennel act as stimulants to promote the secretion of digestive and gastric juices, further aiding digesting. They also help to reduce inflammation in the intestines and stomach to facilitate absorption of the nutrients found in food. Also, fennel can reduce constipation, protecting the body from a host of intestinal issues stemming from this.
- Treating flatulence. One of the more popular benefits of fennel is it's use as an antiflatulent. Aspartic acid found in the fennel plant has carminative properties which can reduce flatulence and expel gases from your stomach. Commonly, fennel is used in medicine to reduce the symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in young children and infants.
- Reducing constipation. As mentioned, fennel can be used to reduce constipation and fennel seeds in powdered form can be used as a laxative. This keeps the bowels clear and stimulates proper peristaltic motion of the intestines. You will also find fennel in medicines used to treat diarrhea, IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), abdominal pain and other intestinal issues.
- Reducing the risk of heart disease. Fennel is rich in fiber, which helps to promote and maintain healthy levels of good cholesterol in the blood stream, which can help to prevent heart disease, strokes and artherosclerosis.
- Protects against cancer. There are limited studies on using fennel as a cancer protection, but the studies that have been done show that the fennel seed extract may be able to inhibit the growth of tumors because of its concentrations of alkaloids, phenols and flavonoids. Fennel may also be helpful in protecting against harmful chemotherapy radiation during cancer treatment.
- Reducing blood pressure. Another mineral fennel is rich in, potassium, is used in the body for a number of important processes. One of these processes is as a vasodilator – relaxing the tension of blood vessels. This reduces high blood pressure and can prevent heart attack, strokes and artherosclerosis. For those with diabetes, blood pressure makes it difficult to manage insulin and glucose levels correctly and a daily dose of fennel can help to prevent this.
- Boosting brain function. Because potassium is an electrolyte it can improve electrical conduction throughout the body. The potassium found in fennel can improve brain function, as well as cognitive abilities, and since fennel is a vasodilator more oxygen can reach the brain, allowing neural activity to work at the optimum level.
- Treating colic. There is a component of the essential oil in fennel known as anethole. It's a phytoestrogen which is useful in the treatment of renal colic. Fennel also has antispasmodic properties which relaxes the muscles and can ease the discomfort associated with colic.
- Improving the immune system. A single cup of fennel has around 20% of the recommended daily amount of vitamin C – making fennel not only a rich source of one of the most important vitamins available, but also to improve overall immune system health. Vitamin C can also repair skin tissue, fight free radicals that lead to many health problems and to promote the formation of collagen to slow the effects of ageing.
Fennel side effects
For most people taking fennel for its health benefits, it is considered to be safe. However, you may need to seek medical advice if you:
Are pregnant or are breast-feeding. Not enough is known about fennel and its use with pregnant women or breast-feeding women.
Have an allergy to celery, carrot or mugwort. Fennel might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to these plants.
Suffer from a hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Fennel might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use fennel.
|Latin name||Common names||Properties||Uses|
|Foeniculum vulgare||Large fennel, sweet fennel, wild fennel, finocchio, carosella, Florence fennel, Fennel||Warming, carminative (an aromatic which tends to expel wind from the alimentary canal, or to relieve colic, griping, or flatulence), Antispasmodic, Antidepressant, Promotes milk-flow in nursing mothers, Stomachic, pectoral, diuretic, diaphoretic, aromatic, Anti-microbial, Pain reducing, fever reducing.||Colic, Wind, Irritable bowel, Increase urine flow, Breast enlargement, Promotes menstruation, Improves digestive system, Improves milk flow, anxiety, depression, arthritis, water retention, appetite suppressant, amenhorrea, angina, asthma, heartburn, lower blood pressure, boost libido, respiratory congestion, coughs|