USE OF FENNEL SEEDS IN AYURVEDA
Fennel or Sauf has been part of our diet in India for so long that we don’t think much about it. But fennel is not just a mouth freshener. It has manifold health benefits and is literally a treasure trove of nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and minerals like Calcium, Magnesium, Zinc, Potassium, Selenium, and Iron. It also contains antioxidants such as polyphenol and is a rich source of fiber.
Fennel seeds or Foeniculum vulgare is native to South Asia and the Mediterranean region. They belong to the same family as cumin, coriander, and parsley.
Here are some of its therapeutic benefits:
Combats bad breath
The most commonly known use, munching a teaspoon of fennel seeds, can give you fresh breath instantly. Fennel boosts the production of saliva in the mouth while its anti-bacterial properties fight bacteria. It is also said to contain aromatic oils which combat bad breath.
Every restaurant would have a tray of sugar-coated Sauf seeds, right? That is because the seeds aid digestion after a heavy meal. The enzymes in the seeds boost the secretion of digestive juices, while the anethole, fenchone, and estragole in it arrest bloating, flatulence and heartburn by acting as antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory agents. The fibre content in the seeds, on the other hand, prevents constipation and regulates bowel movements. Fennel is also considered a natural antacid.
Regulates blood pressure
Fennel is said to have vasodilatory and vasoprotective properties. The potassium and nitrite in it act as a blood pressure stabilizer, regulating the heart rate. Drinking fennel water is also said to slow down blood clotting and protect the heart. You can prepare fennel tea by boiling the seeds in water and consuming it daily, with additives of your choice—lime or ginger.
Boosts fertility and promotes lactation
While pregnant women are not advised to take fennel, lactating women are encouraged to since the anethole aids milk secretion by mimicking the properties of the oestrogen hormone. The anethole also helps regulate the menstrual cycle and boost fertility in women. This property of fennel also prevents the onset of early osteoporosis in women by strengthening the bones.
For a glowing skin
The antioxidant properties of fennel slow down free radicals which age the skin, giving it a youthful appearance. The minerals present in it, like potassium and zinc, can also balance the oxygen in your bloodstream. Regular consumption of fennel water is recommended for skin ailments like acne and rashes.
Vitamin A in the seeds is also considered to improve eyesight and slow down the onset of diseases like cataracts.
How to consume?
Fennel seeds can be consumed in any form, as sugar-coated Sauf or in roasted form after meals. We can also add it to all kinds of daily dishes—even salads and sherbets. Ideally, add a few crushed seeds to your drinking water. Alternately, add roasted fennel seed powder to warm water and drink on an empty stomach. Since fennel can relax your muscles, you can also have a drink before going to bed.