Scientific Name: Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel Herbal Properties: Antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, stimulant.
Fennel is an herbal plant that looks like celery (both vegetables are member of the parsley plant family) with a fat bulb. If you like the taste of licorice you will also like fennel. The sweet, licorice like flavor of fennel is similar to that of anise; in fact, although it is unrelated to this herb fennel is sometimes called anise.
Fennel Seeds: Fennel fruits are commonly called as seeds, they are so tiny about 4-8cm long, thin and slightly curved with color that varies from brown to light green. Fennel seeds are mainly used because it has the most active medicinal properties. The best way to prepare fennel beverages is as a tea made from the dried seeds that are at least one year old. Seeds are readily available on the spice shelf in supermarkets.
Health Benefits of Fennel Seed:
- Fennel tea helps expel mucous accumulations and therefore help clear the lungs.
- Fennel tea is useful in reducing gastro-intestinal tract spasms and flatulence.
- Fennel tea in larger doses can help removes obstructions of the liver, spleen, and gallbladder.
- Fennel tea is diuretic, i.e. increases amount and frequency of urination, thereby help removes toxic substances from the body.
- Fennel seed is widely used around the world as ingredient in mouth fresheners and toothpastes.
- Fennel tea is helpful in treatment of anemia.
- Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, act as laxative.
- Fennel tea is helpful in curing diarrhea if caused by bacterial action.
- Traditional herbalists have long used fennel tea to prevent infant colic.
- Hippocrates recommends fennel tea to stimulate milk production in nursing mothers.
- Fennel tea can help relax the smooth muscles in the uterus, thus relieving menstrual cramps; it can also help increase menstrual flow.
- Fennel tea can help relieve conjunctivitis and sore eyes. After the tea cools, soak a cotton pad in it and place it over the eyelids for ten minutes.
How to Prepare Fennel Tea: Pour 2 cup of boiling water over 2-4 teaspoons of slightly crushed fennel seeds, cover, and steep for 5 minutes, and strain. For extra flavor, add lemon juice or honey to your fennel tea. Drink up to 2 cups a day. To get the best benefits of fennel tea, store dried fennel seeds in an airtight container and keep in a cool, dry place.
Culinary Uses of Fennel Leaves: Fennel plant is edible, and it can be prepared and served in many ways; raw in salads or braised, steamed, bakes, or sautéed as side dish.
Nutrient Content of Fennel Leaves per 100 g:
- Iron: 2.7mg
- Calcium: 109mg
- Carotene: 4.7mg
- Folic acid: 100mg
- Vitamin C: 93.0mg
Side Effects of Fennel Leaves:
- Excessive consumption of fennel is not recommended because it can lead to muscular convulsions and even hallucinations.
- Fennel seeds, leaves and roots are edible, but the fat extracted from the fennel seeds is toxic even in small quantities – leading to skin rashes, breathing problems and nausea.
- It is recommended that pregnant women should use fennel tea in moderation because in large quantities fennel is a uterine stimulant.
“This post was originally published on January 9, 2012 @20:04”