Fennel Seeds (Saunf or Souff) Health Benefits & Side Effects
Fennel Seeds (Foeniculum Vulgare Seeds) are also called SAUNF (SOUFF) in Hindi (in India). These are highly aromatic and flavorsome dried seeds of fennel plant. Fennel has medicinal as well as culinary uses. It provides marvelous flavors and is frequently used in Indian cooking.
Fennel seeds (souff) are sweet and woody in taste. It has many health benefiting nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Fennel seeds have been utilized for treating indigestion, diarrhea, colic and respiratory ailments. It is also beneficial in eye problems and menstrual disorders.
People commonly chew fennel seeds after a meal in India, as it helps to digest food and prevents the formation of gas in stomach. It is an aromatic herb, which is also used as a mouth freshener. It also relieves gum disease or toothache.
Fennel Seeds Benefits
Health Benefits of fennel include its ability to preclude abdominal diseases, prevent gas formation and to help in weight loss, indigestion, cancer, aging,
Helps in Weight loss
The Greek name of fennel is ‘marathon’ derived from ‘Marino’, which means to grow thin. Fennel seeds are a metabolic enhancer. Fennel boosts fat metabolism and prevents excess fat accumulation. It helps one to reduce weight.
In low dosage (less than 3 grams per day), it can increase appetite and acts as digestive. However, it might act as an appetite suppressant (reported by some studies conducted on fennel tea). Actually, it keeps your appetite as natural as it should be and helps you to have a good appetite control.
If you have loss of appetite, then it will help to modulate gastric secretion and improve liver functions, which ultimately normalizes your appetite. It also neutralizes the excess gastric secretion and helps to reduce hyperacidity.
If you have an increased appetite, then it can also help to normalize the appetite and improve your control on food cravings. Many people reported to have a good control of food craving after using fennel seeds, but they also experience increased craving for fennel seeds itself.
In obesity, appetite modulation action might not be significant like Moringa Oleifera. It mainly acts on fat metabolism and induces burning of the accumulated fat.
Prevents aging and cancer
Fennel seeds (souff) contain anti-oxidants like quercetin and kaempferol. These anti-oxidants remove toxic radicals in the body and prevent cancers, neurological diseases and aging. The body skin tells the age of a person. The anti-oxidants in fennel seeds help in keeping the skin fair and young. The fibre in fennel seed protects the colon mucus membrane from cancer. Fennel oil can be used in an oil blend. It can be massaged in the face and neck overnight to tone the skin and prevent wrinkles. Fennel seeds, soaked in water made into a paste mixed with oatmeal and honey, are a great face pack to prevent aging of skin. It is a very effective scrub to cleanse, firm and freshen the skin.
Helps in Digestion
Fennel seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber. Our body needs the insoluble fiber for better functioning of the stomach relieving one of a condition such as constipation. The dietary fibers bind with the bile salts and prevent it from getting absorbed into the system. The bile salts produced by cholesterol are harmful for the body and raises cholesterol levels. Consuming fennel seeds can help keeping the cholesterol under control. It is an anti-emetic, purgative and a hepatic herb.
Good source of Minerals, vitamins and Oils
It is a good source of Iron, Copper, Potassium, Manganese, Zinc, Magnesium and Selenium. Each of the nutrients is needed for proper functioning of the human body.
Fennel is a storehouse of vitamins A, Vitamin E, Vitamin C and B-complex vitamins. All these vitamins are in a concentrated form in these seeds. It consists of essential oils, which have great health benefits. These oils are carminative in nature and help in better functioning of the stomach. Oil of fennel relieves muscular pains. Hence, it is used in massage blends, especially in ayurveda. It calms the nerves and promotes mental clarity.
Acts as a coolant
Fennel seeds have properties, which cools the body. During the scorching summers, generally people consume Fennel seeds drink to relieve heat.
Medicinal use of fennel
Fennel seeds (saunf) eliminate cold. Fennel seeds contain alpha-pinene and creosol, which helps in loosening congestion, and make coughs productive.
Bronchitis & Asthma
Boiling fennel seeds and leaves and inhaling them provides relief from asthma and bronchitis.
Fennel seeds are also good for pharyngitis and sore throat or sinus problems.
Increases Breast Milk
Fennel seeds (souff) help lactating mothers by improving the milk production.
Fennels Seeds in Infants
Fennel seeds help relieving gastro-intestinal issues. Fennel oil relieves colic in infants.
Fennel powder can be used as a poultice for snakebites.
In case of heat stroke, one can soak handful of fennel in water overnight. Have the strained water in the morning with a pinch of salt.
Fennel Oil massage
Fennel oils used in massage oil blend helps detoxify body. Due to this massage, there are fewer toxins in the body to flare up the conditions like arthritis, immune disorders and allergies.
Fennel in ayurveda
Fennel has a cooling effect on the body. Its leaves have a sweet, woody taste in the mouth. Ayurveda suggests against cooking fennel.
As cooking kills its properties instead one should steep fennel. It helps in washing out toxins from the body.
Fennel water can be prepared following the below method:
- Soak 5 teaspoonful of fennel seeds in a cup of water for two hours
- Strain fennel seeds and keep the fennel water aside for further use.
- The fennel seeds should be ground into a fine paste.
- Add the strained water to the fennel paste. Then leave it further for 3 hours, so all active constituents can be absorbed into water.
- Strain the mixture again and separate the fennel water.
- Refrigerate the fennel seeds drink and serve it chilled.
- Add sugar if required.
Consuming fennel tea will relieve one of the sore throat and gastrointestinal issues. Drinking fennel tea regularly helps detoxifying the body.
The fennel tea can be prepared with the below instructions:
- Grind the fennel seeds to a coarse powder.
- Boil water and add the fennel powder.
- Place a lid over the vessel and turn off the heat.
- Strain the fennel tea after 5 minutes.
- Add honey or jaggery syrup and consume warm.
Dosage & Administration
The dosage of fennel and its preparations is as follows.
Fennel Seeds (Chewing) & Fennel Seed powder
One can chew fennel seeds or taken the powder of fennel seeds, as the dosage recommended in the table.
|Children||500 mg to 2 grams *|
|Adults||3 to 6 grams *|
|Pregnancy||1 to 2 grams *|
|Geriatric (Old age)||2 to 3 grams *|
* Twice a day
Fennel Water (Saunf Pani)
|Infants||1 to 5 ml *|
|Children||5 ml to 10 ml *|
|Adults||10 ml to 20 ml *|
|Pregnancy||5 ml to 10 ml *|
|Geriatric (Old age)||5 ml to 10 ml *|
* Twice a day
|Infants||1 to 5 ml *|
|Children||20 ml to 50 ml *|
|Adults||50 ml to 100 ml *|
|Pregnancy||20 ml to 50 ml *|
|Geriatric (Old age)||20 ml to 50 ml *|
* Twice a day
Fennel seeds (Saunf) is LIKELY SAFE in food amounts or less than 15 grams per day. Crude form of fennel seeds is safer than fennel extracts or fennel oil. Fennel water and fennel tea is also LIKELY SAFE.
Fennel Seeds Side Effects
Usage of fennel in small amounts is safe in cooking. Fennel seeds are used in many home remedies, but there is no research, which proves that fennel seeds are safe for adults or children, when used for medicinal purposes.
People should check with their physicians before consuming it as some people might be allergic to use of fennel as medicines.
- People who are sensitive to celery, mugwort and carrots might be allergic to fennel seeds.
- Use of fennel can make the skin of people extra sensitive.
|The use of fennel may be unsafe for some lactating mothers. It has been reported that two breast-feeding infants suffered nervous system damage after the mother drank an herbal tea, which had fennel in it.||Fennels are used in India for lactation since 5000 years, but this effect is not reported till now in India.|
Contraindications of Fennel
- If a person suffers with a condition that might become worse by exposure to estrogen, then fennel must not be taken, e.g. breast cancer, uterine cancer etc.
- Some people have allergic skin reactions to usage of fennel.
Fennel Oil Safety
Scientific Research has proved that fennel oil can be safely used for relieving colic of breast fed infants Dosage should be twice a day for a week’s time. Fennel oils are also used in making soaps, toothpastes and mouth fresheners.