Saunf / Fennel Seeds
Saunf/ fennel seeds are wonderful kitchen ingredient filled with dense nutrients that we need to explore. Saunf/fennel seeds, the aromatic spice needs no special mention as it is one of the prominent spice used extensively for its indispensable medicinal and culinary uses.
Fennel seeds are popularly known as Saunf in Hindi. It’s botanical name is Foeniculum vulgare which belongs to Apiaceae family.
It is a perennial herb. Its stem is erect, glaucous green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 metres (8 feet), with hollow stems. The leaves grow up to 40 centimetres (16 inches) long; they are finely dissected. The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels, each umbel section having 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short pedicels. The fruit is a dry schizocarp from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved. Since the seed in the fruit is attached to the pericarp, the whole fruit is often mistakenly called “seed”.
Parts Used –
Saunf/ fennel are mostly used as seeds form in kitchen as well as medicinal purposes.
Seeds of saunf/fennel should be used in a dose of 1/2 to 1gm whether it is used for chewing or boiled in milk or tea.
• 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 and relieves problems like heartburn, flatulence, bloating etc.
• Boost 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.
• Promotes Lactation
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.
• Infants Colic
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.
• Respiratory Diseases
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.
• Breast Growth
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.
It helps to neutralise the acidity of the intestine which is hampered by poor dietary habits, lifestyle and overweight. Heartburn, regurgitation after meals can be effectively reduced by chewing a few fennel seeds soon after having food.
• Healthy Vision
Saunf / fennel 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.
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.
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