Fennel seeds – what are they & history
Scientific name: Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce. Fennel seeds are tiny seeds that are related to the celery, anise, caraway, cumin, cilantro and dill family, which is also known as the ‘umbrella’ family, because when fennel blossoms, it looks like an umbrella with small yellow flowers. Once the flowers dry up and fall, the umbrellas form seed, which are harvested and used in medicine and cooking. They have a refreshing sweet aroma, and when chewed, they help get rid of stinky breath by providing a clean refreshing mouth odour.
With one long rich history, fennel seeds have been popular through ancient times. Ancient Romans called fennel seeds Foeniculum, which meant hay, perhaps in reference to their fresh scent. They have been used by Ancient Chinese and Indian people to cure snake bites and purify the body. Roman warriors were said to chew fennel seeds to strengthen their bodies. And during the middle ages, romans and Greeks were known to hang fennel outside doors to ward off evil spirits. It represented victory and success, and was also used to sharpen mental strength.
In Ancient Greece, fennel has been called marathron, which roughly means ‘to grow thin’. And research shows that fennel seeds do have the ability to help reduce weight by suppressing apetite! Now let’s take a look at fennel seed benefits for hair, skin and health:
Fennel seeds for good health
Fennel seeds are tiny powerhouses jam-packed with potent antioxidants, compounds and other nutrients. They have numerous health benefits including:
- Increases metabolism
- Suppresses appetite, thereby aiding in weight loss
- Blood purification
- Acts as a mild diuretic
- Detoxifies the body
- Stimulates melatonin
- Has an antispasmodic effect, meaning helps suppress hunger pangs, thereby helping in weight loss.
…& much more!
Fennel seed benefits for skin
In Ayurveda, fennel seeds have been used to treat skin conditions and detoxify the body. A homemade fennel water toner, made using just fennel seeds steeped in boiling water can help unclog blocked pores, prevent and heal acne, soothe skin inflammation, hydrate & refresh skin, calm sunburn and itchy skin, reduce skin oiliness, shrink large pores and tighten & tone skin. Grinding fennel seeds with a small amount of water creates a paste, which you can rub on skin or use as a mask to get rid of cellulite. Fennel seeds are great in treating acne too! They contain powerful compounds such as limonene, anethole and myrcene, which are potent in staving off acne. Their anti inflammatory properties reduce acne inflammation and their antiseptic properties help fight off acne causing germs. Drinking fennel seed tea will help purify the body and blood stream, thereby getting rid of impurities and toxins that may otherwise come out of the body in the form of pus-filled acne.
Read more beauty benefits of fennel seed: 10 Beauty Benefits of Fennel Seeds
Fennel seeds for hair
Fennel seed can be used in the form of fennel seed water, powdered fennel seeds mixed with water or fennel seed oil, for hair. It has anti-dandruff, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that help protect the scalp from any problems. Fennel seeds aid in preventing and reducing hair loss, strengthening the hair shaft, preventing hair damage and sealing moisture into the hair follicles. Use a fennel water hair rinse to wash away chemical build-up and impurities and also add a luxurious shine to your locks!
Ensure that you are not allergic to fennel seeds before you use them. Pregnant women are advised NOT to take fennel. If you have asthma or severe allergic reactions, please consult your medical practitioner before using fennel. As always, moderation is key when using anything, therefore, do not take/use large amounts of fennel in your diet, or daily natural beauty routine.