Fennel is an aromatic and flavoured herb that has several uses as well as medicinal benefits.
If it’s not in your kitchen cupboard right now, you will want to put it on your grocery list after learning more about it.
Fennel may decrease inflammation, relieve menstrual pain, may help with metabolism, and may even help prevent damage caused by the sun, pollution, and smoke, and a number of other disorders and diseases.
However, its regular use should be avoided because it can cause some serious side effects.
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of fennel herb for health, potential side effects and precautions. Scroll down to get started.
What is fennel?
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a plant in the carrot, celery, and parsley family.
It is an aromatic herb that has been widely used as a spice and traditional medicine.
It originated in the Mediterranean, but today it is cultivated all over the world.
Traditionally, it has been used for cough/cold, fever, cuts, stomach aches, nausea, flatulence, diarrhea, constipation, insomnia, arthritis, conjunctivitis, colic in children, and to increase breast milk production.
In Asian cultures, it was ingested to recover from snake bites, as it was believed that it helped eliminate poisons from the body.
- Common Name: Fennel
- Botanical Name: Foeniculum Vulgare Mill
- Family: Umbelliferae
In the following section, we will look at the health benefits of fennel herb.
Fennel herb health benefits
1. Lower blood pressure
It is important to maintain a low sodium intake to lower blood pressure, but increasing the amount of potassium can be just as important because of its role in vasodilation, dilation and contraction of blood vessels.
According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), less than 2% of American adults meet the recommended 4,700 mg of potassium daily.
In addition, there is evidence that potassium, calcium, and magnesium lower blood pressure naturally.
They are all present in fennel. Dietary nitrates in fennel and other foods have vasodilator and vasoprotective properties.
Because of this, they help lower blood pressure and protect the heart.
A 2014 research found that blood pressure levels were lower after taking nitrate supplements.
2. Promote heart health
Fennel contains fiber, potassium, folate, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, and phytonutrients, as well as lowering cholesterol, which promotes heart health.
Fennel contains a significant amount of fiber. Fiber reduces the risk of heart disease because it helps lower the total amount of cholesterol in the blood.
Potassium appears to promote heart health. In one study, people who ate 4,069 milligrams of potassium a day had a 49 percent lower risk of dying from ischemic heart disease than those who ate 1,793 milligrams a day.
Vitamin B-6 and folate inhibit the formation of a compound called homocysteine which converts it into a different compound, methionine.
When too much homocysteine is produced, it can damage the blood vessels and cause heart problems.
3. Chronic inflammation
Choline in fennel is a very important and versatile nutrient that helps in sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory.
It also helps maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, aids in the absorption of fats, and reduces inflammation.
4. Weight management and satiety
Dietary fiber is an important factor in weight management and acts as “food bulking agents” in the digestive system.
These compounds increase satisfaction and reduce appetite, which makes a person feel full for a long time and thus reduces the overall amount of calories.
5. Skin health
Raw fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C. Vit. C is essential for the skin’s support system, collagen, and also acts as an antioxidant to prevent damage caused by sun, pollution and smoke.
Also, Vit. C promotes the ability of collagen to smooth skin wrinkles and improve the overall texture of the skin.
6. Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
Some research has suggested that extract from fennel may lower the effects of premenstrual syndrome.
7. Increasing iron absorption
Iron deficiency is the most common malnutrition in the world, affecting 2 billion people worldwide. It is also a major cause of anemia.
Adding high-vitamin C foods, such as fennel, with iron-rich foods can improve the body’s ability to absorb iron.
8. Digestion and regularity
The fiber content in fennel helps inhibit constipation and promotes a healthy digestive system.
Estrogen occurs naturally in fennel. It plays a fundamental role in regulating the female reproductive cycle, and it can also determine fertility.
A study conducted on mice by The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center found that estrogen also plays a significant role in controlling factors that add to body weight, such as appetite, body fat distribution and energy expenditure.
Menopausal women have lower levels of estrogen which are associated with more abdominal weight gain.
The selenium content in fennel seem to stimulate production of killer T-cells. This suggests that it can enhance the immune response to infection.
11. Bone health
Vitamins and minerals found in fennel help in formation and maintaining bone structure and strength in the following ways:
- Iron and zinc are crucial for the production and maturation of collagen.
- Low intakes of vitamin K have been associated with a higher risk for bone fracture.
- Bone matrix formation requires the mineral manganese.
- Phosphate and calcium are both important in bone structure.
Vitamin K is essential for good health, as it replaces bone matrix protein, improves calcium absorption, and can reduce the excretion of calcium in the urine.
Fennel is a source of vitamin B6, which breaks down carbohydrates and proteins into glucose and amino acids and plays an important role in energy metabolism.
These smaller compounds are more easily used for energy inside the body.
We have seen the benefits of fennel herb for health. What about taking a look at its potential side effects of fennel herb and special precautions?
Potential Side Effects
Fennel is likely safe in the amounts commonly found in food.
It is possibly safe when used at appropriate doses for a short period of time.
There isn’t enough reliable information to know whether fennel is safe when used as medicine for longer periods of time.
Although rare, side effects might include stomach upset. Seizures have occurred when taking fennel essential oil by mouth.
Fennel is possibly safe. Fennel can make skin extra sensitive to the sun and make it easier to get a sunburn. Wear sunblock if you are light-skinned.
Fennel might slow blood clotting. Taking fennel might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.
Fennel is possibly unsafe. It has been reported that two breast-feeding infants had damage to their nervous systems after their mothers drank herbal tea containing fennel.
This refers to health issues 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 estrogen, do not use fennel.
Fennel is possibly safe when used at appropriate doses in young infants for colic for up to one week.
Allergy to celery, carrot or mugwort
Fennel might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to these plants.
There isn’t enough reliable information to know if fennel is safe to use when pregnant. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.