The secrets of health of our ancestors can be found in the humblest ingredients in the kitchen. Saunf seeds is one such wonderful ingredient imbued with dense nutrients that we need to reveal them. Saunf or fennel, the aromatic spice needs no special mention as it is one of the prominent spice used extensively for its indispensable medicinal and culinary practices. Also Check Out: Spice It Up: Add These Astonishing Kitchen Wonders In Your Daily Diet To Promote Overall Health-Infographic

The aromatic spice is the most sought after in Indian and Mediterranean cuisines across the globe. In India, it is a common practice to chew a few saunf seeds soon after a scrumptious meal, not only because it freshens the breathe but the bursting amounts of nutrients in the fennel stimulate the digestion process, treat flatulence and indigestion issues.
Fennel tree

Fennel seeds are popularly known as Saunf in Hindi, a flowering plant belonging to Foeniculum Vulgare family, which is the same species of carrot, caraway, dill cumin and parsley family. This flavoursome herb is the dried seeds of the fennel plant which is white and green with feathery leaves bearing yellow flowers. It is an indigenous plant in the Mediterranean regions and also widely cultivated across the world near the coastal and riverbank regions. India is said to be the largest exporter of saunf. Fennel plant has a mild, licorice-like flavour, sweet and woody taste, the distinct flavour is due to the goodness of potent essential oils.

Fennel seeds are clad by other vernacular names such as sompu in Telugu, peruncirakam in Tamil, perunjirakam in Malayalam, mauri in Bengali and saunf or saumph in Hindi.

The rich array of nutrients and powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties in fennel seeds are valuable in treating digestive and respiratory ailments, improves vision and also cures menstrual problems.

Types Of Fennel:

Fennel is of two varieties, one is used as an herb –Foeniculun vulgare and the other one is a swollen bulb-like stem that is used as a vegetable –Florence fennel. The herb type grows 3-5 feet tall which looks similar to dill with fine-textured foliage.

Ayurvedic Uses:

Ayurvedic medicine strongly vouches for saunf by its imperative medicinal properties and it is valuable in pacifying the Tridoshas - Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Saunf with a sweet, astringent-like and bitter taste, has a cooling effect on the body. The best way to reap the benefits of saunf is steeping, as Ayurvedic medicine suggests that cooking depletes the properties of the nutrients. Saunf functions well as a potent detoxifier and clears out the toxins from the body. Saunf is chiefly used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive ailments, while the secretolytic properties assist in curing respiratory ailments with antispasmodic effect easing abdominal cramps. Saunf has a beneficial effect on the stomach, liver, brain, heart, kidney and uterus.

Saunf Is Cold Or Hot?

According to Ayurveda saunf seeds have a cooling effect on the body. In this sweltering summer months it is ideal to drink fennel seeds water to calm the body from heat. Besides the essential saunf oil is carminative in nature and used in Ayurveda to massage the body as it is known to soothe the nerves, uplifts mood and mental health.
Fennel nutrition facts

Nutritional Facts:

Dried fennel or saunf is a storehouse of vital nutrients, low on calories and abundant in vitamin C fennel seeds bolsters the immune system, stimulates the collagen production and works as a potent antioxidant that scavenges the free radicals. Rich in manganese fennel seeds activates the enzymes, triggers metabolism, regulates blood sugar and strengthens the bones. Besides these, a notable amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and selenium promotes skin health, controls blood pressure and treats anaemia.

Fennel seeds also comprise more than 87 volatile compounds including polyphenol antioxidants such as rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and apigenin. Several studies have disclosed that a diet rich in antioxidants lowers the risk of chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular, cancer and neurological diseases. Also Check Out: 5 Super-Rich Antioxidant Foods You Should Include In Your Daily Diet - Infographic

Nutritional Value Per 100 Grams

Energy        345 Kcal    

Carbohydrates    52.29 g     

Protein       15.80 g     

Total Fat    14.87 g     

Dietary Fiber       39.8 g        

Vitamins            

Niacin         6.050 mg  

Pyridoxine 0.470 mg  

Riboflavin  0.353 mg  

Thiamin     0.408 mg  

Vitamin A  135 IU       

Vitamin C   21 mg                  

Sodium      88 mg        

Potassium 1694 mg   

Minerals            

Calcium      1196 mg   

Copper       1.067 mg  

Iron   18.54 mg  

Magnesium         385 mg     

Manganese         6.533 mg  

Phosphorus         487 mg     

Zinc   3.70 mg

*Source: USDA National Nutrient Data Base

Health Benefits Of Saunf:

Promotes Digestive Health

The goodness of essential volatile oils present in fennel seeds is known to trigger the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes which facilitates the digestion process. Saunf seeds are beneficial in treating various digestive woes including, heartburn, flatulence, bloating and colic in kids. The strong antispasmodic and carminative effects helps in treating irritable bowel syndrome, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and even ulcerative colitis. Also Read: Bloating: Try These Kitchen Wonders To Soothe Bloated Tummy

Does Fennel Cause Gas?

The presence of aspartic acid in fennel is known to exhibit carminative property which makes it a good anti flatulent. Excessive gas build-up in the stomach causes abdominal cramps and pain. Drinking a concoction of fennel seeds is an ideal way to eliminate the gas. Boil half a teaspoon of fennel seeds in a quarter cup of water, allow it to steep well and drink this concoction to ease flatulence. This is suitable for all ages and can even be given to infants.

Potent Laxative

Saunf powder works as an excellent laxative and remedies constipation, abdominal cramps, irritable bowel syndrome and other gastrointestinal maladies. Ample amount of dietary fibre present in saunf stimulates the intestinal activity by increasing the secretions of bile and gastric juices and maintains the peristaltic movements thereby regulating the smooth functioning of the bowel.

Antacid Effects

As saunf is basic in nature, it aids to neutralise the acidity of the intestine which is hampered by poor dietary habits, lifestyle and overweight. Heartburn, regurgitation after meals can be effectively lessened by chewing a few fennel seeds soon after having food. Thus fennel makes it an important element in anti-acidity Ayurvedic formulations. Also Check Out: Heartburn? Try These Essential Oils For Instant Relief-Infographic

Remedies Respiratory Ailments

Immense amounts of phytonutrients present in fennel seeds aid in clearing the blocked sinuses and alleviates asthma symptoms. The expectorant properties help to treat respiratory ailments like bronchitis, cough and nasal congestion. Steam inhalation of fennel seeds is known to offer relief from asthma and bronchitis. Apart from this, chewing a few saunf can also heal a sore throat.

Controls Blood Pressure

As per the study published in the Journal of Food Science it was disclosed that chewing saunf seeds augments the nitrite content in saliva, which works as a natural remedy to maintain the blood pressure levels. In addition, notable amounts of potassium in saunf, an important element of cells and body fluids assist in controlling acid-base balance, dilates the blood vessels, regulates heart rate and stabilizes blood pressure.

Promotes Lactation

The essence of anethole a compound present in saunf seeds exhibits galactogenic properties that mimic the function of estrogen hormone and increase breast milk production in lactating mothers. Hence saunf is a good addition in a lactating diet plan which assures a steady flow of breast milk for the new-born.
Fennel health benefits

Freshens Breath

Bad breath can be quite embarrassing for you and those around, a simple and effective home remedy to combat bad breath is to chew a few saunf seeds which can freshen your breath. The sweet and mild licorice flavour of saunf increases the secretion of saliva which assists in clearing out the bacteria. Besides these, the essential oil contains antibacterial properties that helps to battle the microbes the causing bad breath. Munching on 5-10 fennel seeds for about 10 minutes can refresh your breath instantly.

Promotes Good Sight

Munch on a few fennel seeds regularly to improve eyesight. Saunf seeds imbued with vitamin A and other essential nutrients can do wonders for the eyes and promotes healthy vision. It is also known to treat watery and inflamed eyes and the extracts of the seeds were used to lessen the symptoms of glaucoma. Apart from this, the richness of anethole compound increases the lens protein content and slow down the progression of cataract.

Manages Diabetes

The rich array of essential oil and anethole, an active compound in fennel seeds may help to regulate blood sugar spikes. Fennel seeds overpowered with vitamin C, beta-carotene, antioxidants and essential minerals improve insulin sensitivity and keep blood glucose levels under control.

Saunf For Weight Loss

The aromatic herb not only adds flavour and taste to the dishes but also has the power to reduce weight. Fennel is called “Marathon” in Greek which is derived from “Marino” meaning to grow thin. Fennel work as a metabolic enhancer triggers the metabolism and sheds the excess fat build-up and assists in losing weight. According to the principles of Ayurveda, saunf seeds are known to normalize the appetite and enhance digestion. It can boost the metabolism and promotes the burning of excess fat accumulated, thus helps to lose weight. Apart from this, the diuretic properties of fennel seeds are known to increase the urine output and flush out the toxins and excess fluids from the body which may also contribute to weight loss.

Fennel Seeds For Skin Health

The wealth of nutrients and powerful antimicrobial properties of fennel seeds are to know to works as an amazing natural remedy for skin woes.

For fresh and toned skin texture take a teaspoon of fennel seeds and boil well, let it cool down and filter. Apply this mixture on the face using cotton balls several times in a day this can enhance the skin glow and keep your skin revitalized.

Moreover, the strong antioxidant properties of fennel seeds battle the free radicals that attack healthy skin cells. The powerful anti-aging properties of saunf help in slowing down premature aging of the skin reduce wrinkles and fine lines. Prepare an anti-ageing face pack using fennel concoction add oatmeal, honey and gram flour, make a smooth paste and apply this face pack, let it stay for  15 minutes and rinse well with water. Repeat this once in a week for a radiant and wrinkle-free skin tone.

Does Fennel Seeds Increase Breast Size?

Fennel seeds are overpowered with anethole, active compounds that act as phytoestrogen by nature and mimics the role of estrogen hormone and promote breast development. According to Ayurveda 3 month’s therapy with fennel seeds is known to increase the breast size, however, for better results, a combination of Ashwagandha and Shatvari powder in equal ratio along with fennel seeds is known to improve the breast growth with lesser regression.

However, always consult your doctor before trying fennel seeds for breast enlargement.

Eases PMS Symptoms

Evidences have revealed that fennel is an effective natural remedy for alleviating menopause symptoms. The phytoestrogen nature of fennel seeds is beneficial in treating menstrual symptoms and lessen abdominal cramps and hot flashes.

Prevents Cancer

According to numerous studies the powerful antioxidant properties of fennel seeds facilitates to battle free radicals and beat oxidative stress which shields the body from several types of cancers including skin, stomach and breasts. Apart from this, fennels seeds are known to exhibit chemo modulatory effect.

Promotes Fertility

Fennel being naturally rich in phytoestrogen plays a vital role in stimulating the female reproductive cycle and might facilitate fertility. Fennel tea was used since ancient times to regularise the menstrual cycle, normalise the flow and boosts fertility.

Natural Grape Water

Colic is a condition that makes the babies cry inconsolably for long hours, fennel seeds are used as an aged old remedy by our grandmothers to make natural gripe water. Fennel grape water when given to babies assists in easing the symptoms of gassiness or colic in infants.

Reduces Risk Of Osteoporosis

Fennel work as an anti-osteoporotic due to its estrogen nature, the hormone plays a crucial role in the regeneration of bones. A low blood levels of estrogen elevates the risk of osteoporosis, as fennel mimics the role of estrogen it guards the bones against fracture and fortifies the bones. Regular addition of fennel in the diet or taking fennel tea is the best way to augment bone health and reduce the breakdown of bone tissue.

How Much Fennel Seeds Can I Take Daily?

Fennel seeds are heaped with volatile oils than the plant, so it is ideal to take about 1 teaspoon (6 grams) of dried whole fennel seeds in your daily cooking.

Roasted fennel seeds when added to the dishes give a distinct sweet flavour.

Adding fennel seeds to the batter of baked goods renders a unique aroma and taste.

Fennel seeds are also available in the form of supplements and the recommended dosage is 3 capsules (480mg) per day. However, always consult with your physician before use.

Saunf/ Fennel Seed Recipes:

Fennel Tea
Fennel tea

Ingredients

1-2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds

2 cups of water

½ teaspoon honey

Method

In a pan take 2 cups of water, add fennel seeds and allow it to boil for 2-5 minutes.

Strain the tea in a cup.

Sweeten the tea with honey or artificial sweetener to enhance the taste and flavour.

Nutritional Facts

Fennel herbal tea has been used since times immemorial, thanks to its incredible nutrient profile and therapeutic properties. Aromatic Fennel tea with natural sweet flavour has the power to stimulate digestion, ease stress and the richness of volatile oils assists in treating gastrointestinal diseases, work as a diuretic and detoxifies the system. Enjoy this herbal fennel tea daily to lift up your mood and soothe your body.

Fennel /Saunf Ka Sherbet
Saunf ka sherbet

Ingredients       

½ cup saunf

1 cup powdered jiggery or sugar

Water as needed

Ice cubes

1 tsp lemon juice

Method

Soak saunf in water for 3-4 hours, after that drain the water.

In a blender add soaked saunf and grind well.

Now add the grind fennel in a pan, mix sugar and water, stir well until the sugar dissolves.

Filter the sherbet, add ice cubes and pour sherbet into the glasses.

Drizzle with lemon juice and serve.

Nutritional Facts

Saunf sherbet has the amazing potential to soothe the body and keep your body cool and refreshed in this scorching summer. Sugar adds to taste and provides you with instant energy. Lemon juice loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants bolsters immunity and keep diseases at bay.

Side Effects:

Fennel seeds are safe when consumed in moderate amounts. Fennel seeds with natural estrogenic property is not safe to be taken by pregnant women as it may hinder the normal fetal development. The high concentration of volatile oils in fennel seeds makes it unsafe for pregnant women and supplements may also interfere with estrogen pills and certain cancer medications. It is always best to consult your physician before taking fennel supplements.

Conclusion:

The aromatic and flavourful herb comes with a rich array of nutrients including vitamins C, A, and minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, manganese to mention a few. Fennel seeds are storehouse of antioxidants and volatile oils which has the potential to improve heart health, lessen inflammation, stimulate digestion and promote weight loss. To reap the wellness incentives of this amazing herb incorporate dried fennel seeds in your daily regimen.