Fennel (Saunf in Hindi) is a flowering plant species in the carrot family which has medicinal as well as culinary uses. They are sweet and woody in taste and frequently used in Indian cooking. Fennel seeds have a cooling effect on the body. They are a rich source of protein, dietary fiber, vitamin B and several dietary minerals, especially calcium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Fennel is an excellent source of vitamins A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and vitamins B-complex. It contains essential oils, which relieves muscular pains; therefore, it is used in various Ayurvedic medicines. Two of its main constituents (minerals) are Anethol and Fenchone; Anethol may inhibit spasms in smooth muscles and Fenchone may be responsible for the medicinal properties. Latest studies shows that use of fennel seeds can increase the production of bile; it may also control diuretic, anti-microbial, and pain-reducing activities. (1)
Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds (Saunf):
1. Fennel Seeds for Digestion:
Fennel Seed (Saunf) is rich in dietary fiber. Therefore, it is very good for digestive problems like- gas, cramps, indigestion, and many other digestive tract maladies. In Ayurvedic medicines, it is used to reduce vata, cough and pitta dosh. Chewing saunf (2-3 gm) after every meal daily as a mouth freshener, is good for whole digestive system.
To control gastric problem, you can also use fennel tea (2-3 cups daily).
How to Make Fennel Tea:
For making fennel tea, boil a glass of water with 1 tsp of fennel seeds for 5 minutes while keeping the pot covered. Sip the mixture lukewarm after cooling. You can add 2-3 drops of ‘Amritdhara’ for getting quick relief from gas, flatulence (afara) and stomachache.
Fennel tea can also be given to infants or kids for cough and gastric problem. Method remains same but the quantity will be 2-3 tablespoon for 3 or 4 times daily.
2. Its Anti-Oxidants:
Fennel seeds also contain anti-oxidants- such as quercetin and kaempferol- which help in preventing aging and keeping skin young and fair. Therefore, include it in your daily diet either raw or cooked.
Moreover, you can use fennel oil too for face massage mixing with olive oil to prevent wrinkles.
3. Saunf for Sinus and Bronchitis:
Fennel seeds are also good to cure sinus, sore throat and bronchitis because of its properties- alpha-pinene and creosol which help in loosening congestion and releasing mucus.
Boil 2 tsp of these seeds with 1 tsp of Liquorice powder and 1 pod of black cardamom in a glass of water thoroughly. Filter it and consume lukewarm in equal 2-3 doses.
4. Good for Lactating Mother:
Fennel seeds are used for lactating mothers to improve milk since long back. Its components- estrogen, galactagogue- are believed to improve breast milk in nursing mothers. Therefore, lactating mothers should include it in her daily diet either as raw or cooked; they can even take fennel tea 2-3 times in a day. It is completely safe and has no side effects.
Fennel tea making recipe is given above; you can drink it like tea by adding mishri or candy sugar.
5. Fennel Seeds for Body Heat:
Cooling properties of fennel seeds help to keep the body cool in summers. Use it as mouth freshener or with some gulkand. Simply, make the paste by mixing fennel seed powder and gulkand in equal quantity. And consume one spoon of this paste twice a day after meal.
6. Fennel Seeds for Urine Burning:
Fennel seed is also good to treat urine burning. Soak 1 tsp seeds with 1 tsp coriander seeds into a glass of water at night. Next day morning, mash the ingredients with finger tips and filter it. Now add some mishri powder in this water and consume.
7. Fennel ‘Ark’ for Indigestion:
By taking fennel ‘ark’ (water), you can cure indigestion (badhajmi). To prepare fennel water (saunf ka ark) –
- Soak 5 -6 tablespoon seeds of fennel in a glass of water for 2- 3 hrs.
- Then filter it and keep the water aside for using later.
- Make the paste of the soaked fennel seeds and soak again into the fennel water for 3 hrs.
- Then strain the water again and keep the fennel water into the refrigerator for cooling.
- This is helpful in improving appetite and indigestion (badhajmi).
- So take 2-3 table spoons fennel water (ark) mixing with half cup of water after lunch and dinner daily.
8. Refresh Body and Brain:
If you take fennel seeds with green cardamom (elaichi) and mishri, it will help to refresh body and brain. Simply, grind all the three ingredients in equal quantity and keep the powder into an air tight jar.
Dosage: 1 tbsp twice a day with water or milk.
9. Saunf for Pregnant Ladies:
Fennel seed controls nausea and purifies blood, therefore it is good for pregnant ladies too. As per belief of elderly ladies, it also affects the color of the baby. Take fennel seeds with mishri after every meal as mouth freshner during pregnancy.
10. Fennel Seeds for Vision:
Fennel seeds contain Vitamin C, flavonoids, amino acid, and magnesium which help to maintain and improve vision (eyesight). Consume it with mishri in equal ratio (1 tbsp) daily at night along with milk for healthy vision. Fennel water or ‘saunf ka ark’ is also very good for eyes. You can see the positive effects after 5-6 months.
Another formula to improve weak vision is use of fennel seeds with coriander and mishri;
- Grind 100 gm of seeds and sieve it to remove the wastage; put aside the powder.
- Now mix coriander powder and mishri powder in equal quantity to remaining fennel seeds powder.
- Likewise, grind 10 gm of cardamom after removing outer layer.
- Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and store into a jar.
- Ingest 1 tsp of this powder with lukewarm milk twice a day (morning and evening).
11. Good to Control Dysentery:
Fennel seeds can treat stomach infection like- loose motion, stomach cramps (marod) and mucus (aanv) in stools. In case of such type of infection in your stomach, take 50 gm fennel seeds and roast it in a pan (tawa) over heat. Then mix 50 gm plain fennel seeds in it and grind into mixer grinder. Consume 2 tbsp of this powder with water three times in a day. As per the findings of some researches, ground fennel seeds in solution were effective against bacteria that cause diarrhea, dysentery and indigestion.(2)
Fennel seed can treat even chronic Amoebiasis or Amoebic dysentery. If someone is suffering from this problem and goes to toilet for 5-6 times a day, try this home remedy.
Fennel Seeds (Saunf) 20 gm
Coriander Seeds (Dhania) 20 gm
Cumin Seeds (Jeera) 20 gm
Dry Ginger Powder (Sonth) 20 gm
Belgiri Powder 20 gm
Roast fennel seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds in a pan over heat. Then grind all the three to make fine powder. Now mix all the ingredients powder including dry ginger and belgiri powder thoroughly. Consume 1 tsp of this powder three times in a day with water.
12. Good for Memory:
To improve your memory, take fennel seeds with almonds (badam) and sugar candy (mishri) daily –
- Collect all the three ingredients in equal quantity.
- Roast the fennel seeds slightly on a pan and grind.
- Likewise, grind almonds and mishri too.
- Mix all the three well and keep into a jar.
- Now ingest 1-2 tbsp of this powder daily with milk at night.
- This home remedy gives very good results and works like a natural memory booster.
13. Fennel Seeds for Migraine:
Fennel seeds with coriander and mishri can control headache due to migraine. Take all the three ingredients in equal quantity and grind them. Whenever you have headache due to migraine, ingest 1 tbsp of this powder three times in a day with lukewarm water.
14. Good for Loose Motion:
If someone is suffering from loose motion, take fennel seed with Terminalia chebula (chhoti harad).
- Roast fennel seed and chhoti harad (20 gm each) with some pure ghee in a pan.
- Then grind them in mixer-grinder to make fine powder.
- Now mix 40 gm of mishri (candy sugar) in it and store into an air tight jar.
- Whenever needed, ingest 1 spoon of this powder with curd or buttermilk 2-3 times in a day. Especially, it is an excellent remedy to control loose motion due to heat; you will get relief in 1 or 2 dosage.
Side Effects of Fennel Seed:
Usage of fennel seeds in small quantity (less than 15 gm) is safe. Though there is no scientific proof on fennel usage, it is used in home remedies to treat various diseases successfully since thousands of year back. It is believed to be safe while using in raw or crude form instead of oil or extract form.
But it is possible that someone is allergic to its usage as medicine, so if it does not suit you, stop immediately or consult your physician. Above mentioned remedies are not guaranteed; results may vary person to person.