FENNEL- FOENICULUM VULGARIS
Fennel is well known in the culinary world for its anise-like flavour, but also has natural sources of vitamins, minerals and fibre. It is renowned for its power to combat digestive discomforts. Fennel seed contains anethole, a compound that has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. The volatile oils in the seeds are known to increase the secretion of digestive enzymes in the stomach, which in turn promotes better digestion and nutrient absorption. It also acts as a mild laxative and has anti-oxidants that leap in to defend the body from free radical damage. The seed can be chewed to relieve heart burn and freshens the breath
Here is a list of amazing benefits:
Anaemia: Iron and histidine are both in treatment of anaemia and is the chief constituent of haemoglobin; histidine stimulates production of haemoglobin and also helps in the formation of various other components of the blood.
Indigestion: It is a common practice, particularly on the Indian Subcontinent, to chew fennel seeds after meals. This is done to facilitate digestion and to eliminate bad breath.
Some of the components of the essential oils in fennel are stimulants and they stimulate secretion of digestive and gastric juices, while reducing inflammation of the stomach and intestines, and facilitating proper absorption of nutrients from the food. Furthermore, it can eliminate constipation and thereby protect the body from a wide range of intestinal troubles that can stem from being blocked up. It also has anti-acidic properties and is extensively used in antacid preparations. In culinary applications, it is also used as an ingredient of focal point of many appetizers.
Flatulence: Fennel is very popular as an anti-flatulent, due to the carminative properties of the aspartic acid found in fennel. Its extract can be used by everyone, from infants to the elderly, as a way to reduce flatulence and to expel excess gas from the stomach. It is commonly used in medicines to reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia and flatulence in infants and young children.
Constipation: Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas it’s stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhoea, Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.
Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fibre, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fibre provides, it also helps to maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the blood stream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart disease, and strokes.
Cancer: The raw vegetable itself hasn’t been extensively studied in regards to cancer protection, but the fennel seed extract has, and the findings regarding cancer protection are quite impressive. It shows that the extract can not only inhibit the growth of tumours, thanks to its concentrations of flavonoids, alkaloids, and phenols, but that it can even be somewhat chemo-protective against the harmful effects of radiation during cancer treatment. Fennel seed extract has been found to be preventative of various breast cancer and liver cancer strains.
Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Also, for diabetic patients, blood pressure issues can make management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult, and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications. A cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet will pump you full of potassium and all the benefits that come along with it.
Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. 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.
Diarrhoea: Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhoea if it is caused by bacterial infection, because some components of the essential oil in fennel such as anetol and cineole 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 diarrhoea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhoea.
Immune System: 1 cup of fennel bulb contains almost 20% of the daily requirement of vitamin-C, which makes fennel quite a rich source of this beneficial element of our diet. Vitamin-C improves general immune system health, produces and repairs skin tissue, helps to form collagen, and also protects the blood vessel walls as an antioxidant against the harmful effects of free radicals that can frequently lead to heart disease!
Menstrual Disorders: Fennel is also an eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.
Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation, as well as helping to reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin-C and amino acids like Arginine which are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of fennel leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied on 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.
Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of Cineole and Anetol which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help to break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and build up of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body and quicker recovery from respiratory conditions.
Other Benefits: Fennel is diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. Fennel also increases production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory and has a marvellous cooling effect in summer.