Saunf or Fennel seeds are an edible and healthy seeds used for many years in cooking as well as medicinal purposes. It is also called as moti saunf in India. It belongs to the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family and Foeniculum genus, cultivated in many countries all over the world. India is the top producer of the saunf however it is cultivated in average amount in Iran, Mexico, China, Canada, Syria, Bulgaria, United States, Australia and etc.
In India, it is an old and most common trend of offering some fennel seeds with mishri (or sugar coated saunf) after a meal to chew. It is mostly carried out in hotels, restaurants and parties in order to prevent after eating problems like gas, indigestion, acid reflux, abdominal cramps, flatulence, and constipation. DO not be confused with the fennel seeds (moti saunf with green or yellowish color, used for cooking purpose) and aniseeds (patli or chhoti saunf with green color, used for raw eating purpose after meal).
Benefits of Saunf (Fennel Seeds)
Fennel seeds or Saunf are aromatic and sweet taste spice used in kalaunji masala in India for cooking vegetables as well as various medicinal and home remedy to cure variety of health disorders. Because of its lots of medicinal properties (like appetizer, carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-emetic, purgative and etc) it is widely used as a home remedy to treat various health disorders Pitta, vata, cougha, gas, bloating and other stomach and respiratory problems. Some of its nutritional and medicinal health benefits are given below:
Keeps Oral Cavity Healthy
- Saunf is an aromatic and sweet flavored seed acts as a mouth freshener and helps in removing bad breath, relief from toothache and gum problems.
Relieves Cold and Cough
- Eating saunf seeds provides relief from the common cold and cough problems.
Source of Essential Nutrients
- It is rich source of essential nutrients, fibers, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals which promotes courage and strength if consumed regularly.
Prevents from Degenerative Diseases
- It is a powerful anti-oxidant as it contains some natural antioxidant compound called kaemferol and quercetin which helps in combating with harmful free radicals thus prevents from various degenerative diseases like cancer, aging, neurological diseases and etc.
Provides Relief from Constipation
- Regular intake of saunf helps in getting relief from the constipation and other digestive problems as it contains high level of dietary fibers which absorbs more water and makes stool soft and ease passage.
Lowers Serum Cholesterol Level
- Dietary fibers found in it helps in lowering the serum cholesterol level as it gets binded with bile salts and reduces its absorption in the colon.
Protects from Colon Cancer
- Its antioxidant nature protects colon and its mucus membrane from the cancer by inhibiting the growth and development of the cancerous cells.
Rich Source of Essential Oil
- Fennel seed is rich source of essential oil compounds like limonene, anisic aldehyde, myrcene, pinene, fenchone, chavicol, anethole, cineole and etc which make it able to prevent from various health disorders.
Prevents from Anemia
- It is rich source of copper which is highly required by the body to produce red blood cells thus it protects from anemia and other problems caused due to decreased amount of hemoglobin.
Activates Enzymes Regularizing Major Functioning
- It is rich source of zinc mineral which acts as a co-factor for many enzymes regulating the growth and development of body, sperm production, nucleic acid synthesis and etc.
Controls Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
- Fennel seed is rich source of potassium electrolyte which is very necessary for the balance of cells and body fluid as well as controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Activates Powerful Antioxidant Enzymes
- It is also a rich source of manganese mineral which is the important co-factor for various powerful antioxidant enzymes.
Protects from Infections
- Its antibacterial nature protects from the infection of various harmful bacteria including Bacillus subtilis, Cladosporium cladosporiodes, Aspergilus niger and etc.
Regularize Functioning of Major Organs
- It provides relief from the problems of stomach, intestine, colon, irritable bowel syndrome, spleen, kidney and etc.
- It helps in curing fever by increasing perspiration.
Removes Bad Breath
- Washing mouth with the warm saunf water is very helpful in removing bad breath.
Provides Relief from Menstrual Pain and Cramps
- Massaging the muscles on lower abdominal area with the mixture of saunf oil, whole fatty milk, geranium oil and clary sage oil helps in reducing menstrual pain, cramps and PMS disorders.
Improves Food Digestion
- It contains good level of phytoestrogens improving food digestion by soothing the irritable gastric glands.
- Fennel seed is a good blood purifier helps in purifying blood if a handful of raw saunf is eaten two times a day, morning and evening.
Cures Heat Stroke
- It helps in curing heat stroke if saunf water (soaked into water for whole night) is taken by adding a pinch of salt.
Promotes Bowel Movements
- It helps in promoting proper bowel movements if one teaspoon of the roasted saunf is taken after meals.
Removes Body Toxins
- It is diuretic in nature helps in removing toxic materials from the body as well as provides relief from the body swelling and joints pain during rheumatism and arthritis.
Stimulates Digestive Juice Secretion
- It stimulates the secretion of digestive enzymes and juices as well as reduces inflammation of digestive tract thus promote more absorption of the essential nutrients from the food while passing through the alimentary canal.
Recovers Digestive System Functioning
- Regular intake of it helps in recovering digestive system functioning after getting long radiation or chemotherapy treatments.
Keeps Away from Memory Disorders
- Saunf water acts as a vasodilator thus keeps mind and body stress free and calm by enhancing oxygenated blood flow to the brain and all through the body thus keeps away from depression, dementia and other memory loss problem.
Good Mouth Freshener
- Fennel seed is a most common mouth freshener used in the paan (betel leaf) to make it delicious and flavored to chew.
Benefits of Saunf in Reducing Weight
- Fennel seed is a natural home remedy to suppress appetite and go for weight maintenance. It has been used for years by the women during their fasting periods to reduce hunger.
Good Fat Digester
- It is a fat digester and hunger suppressor thus helps in decreasing weight among obese and overweight people if saunf tea or saunf water is taken in the early morning with empty stomach.
Benefits of Saunf for Eyesight
Prevents from Eye Disorders
- It helps in preventing from the eye disorders (optic nerves weakness, glaucoma and night blindness) and improving eye sight if carrot juice is taken with half tsf powdered saunf regularly.
Maintains Clear Vision
- Regular consumption of saunf helps in maintaining clear vision.
Reduces Eye Pressure
- Fennel seed promotes blood vessels dilation in the eye by reducing the eye pressure thus prevents from glaucoma (caused due to increased eye pressure), retinopathy (vision loss in diabetics), vision impairment diseases and etc.
Benefits of Saunf for Bone
Promotes Bone Development
- It is good source of all the minerals required for bone growth such as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and etc thus helps in improving bone strength and development.
Reduces Risk of Age Related Bone Problems
- Fennel seed naturally slows down process of bone destroying cells production in the body as well as reduces occurrence of age related bone problems like osteoporosis.
Benefits of Saunf for Skin
Makes Skin Smooth and Fair
- Applying the mixture of saunf water (boil two tsf of saunf into a glass of water for at least one hour at low heat) and whey (or dahi water) to the face for 15 to 20 mins then wash, helps in getting fair look with smooth skin.
Keeps Skin Spots Free
- Whether it is applied directly to the skin or eaten, helps in getting acne and spots free skin as it has antiseptic and antioxidant properties.
Delays Ageing Process
- It slows down the aging process by preventing cell damage and reducing the effects of free radicals thus keeps skin flawless without wrinkles and fine lines.
Tones up Skin
- Applying fennel seed water to the skin helps in getting toned, flexible and soft skin as it hydrates the skin by enhancing blood circulation to the face.
Benefits of Saunf for Hair
Makes Hair Strong and Healthy
- Regular use of fennel seeds tea (drinking or applying to hair) helps in getting strong and lengthy hair as it prevents unusual hair loss and premature hair graying.
Prevents from Hair Loss
- It prevents from hair fall by providing relief from itchy scalp and dandruff.
Benefits of Saunf for Women
Regulates Menstrual Blood Flow
- Saunf has emmenagogue property which helps in regulating the regular menstrual flow among women.
Cures Menstrual Disorders
- Its availability with essential phytoestrogens helps in curing menstrual disorders such as premenstrual syndrome, early menopause, unusual breast enlargement and etc.
Prevents from Many Problems
- It prevents from the cardiovascular diseases, hormone or estrogen dependent cancer, menopausal disorders, hot flashes, dysmenorrheal (painful menstruation) and etc.
Keeps Mind Stress Free
- Fennel seed keeps mind very calm and stress free by reducing the level of anxiety, depression, stimulating proper menstruation, lowering blood pressure, and etc.
Benefits of Saunf during Pregnancy
Helps to Tackle with Problems during Pregnancy
- It helps in relieving morning sickness, weakness, fatigue and other symptoms during pregnancy.
Benefits of Saunf for Breast Feeding (Lactating) Mothers
Improves Breast Milk Production
- Regular use of fennel seeds helps in improving milk production among women on breast feeding or nursing mothers because of its galactagogue property.
- Drinking saunf water with little honey (boil saunf into water and add honey) helps in increasing the breast milk production.
Benefits of Saunf for Men and Women
Maintains Sexual Power
It is aphrodisiac in nature helps in enhancing libido as well as maintaining sexual power in both men and women.
Benefits of Fennel Seeds for Breast Enlargement
It is a better home remedy to enhance breast at home than other surgical breast enlargement procedures. Some of its benefits for increasing breast size are mentioned below:
Promotes Breast Growth
- It is loaded with the natural hormones which involve in the developing and growing breast tissues to make breasts large and firm without any side effects.
- Saunf is used in manufacturing many creams and pills having estrogenic effects which are used by most of the women for years to get their enhanced breast.
Prevents from Breast Cancer
- Its natural phytoestrogens availability prevents abnormal growth of the breast tissues thus protects from breast cancer.
Enhances Estrogen Production
- Fennel seeds availability with high amount of flavonoids helps in promoting the production of estrogen hormone which in turn promotes breast enlargement.
Enhances Breast Size
- Massaging breast with saunf oil for 10-15 mins each (100-300 circular rubs for each) once a day in the morning or before going to bed helps in enhancing breast size. This procedure needs time and dedication but result oriented.
Benefits of Saunf Water/Saunf ka Pani
Relieves from Colic Pain
- It is very beneficial for the newborn babies as it helps in relieving from the colic pain as well as improving digestion.
Benefits of Saunf Oil
Relieves Joints Pain
- Massaging joints with the fennel seed oil or saunf oil helps in relieving joints pain (caused due to arthritis) and cellulite.
Provides Relief from Respiratory Problems
- It also provides relieve from the respiratory problems like cough, bronchitis and etc.
Protects from Liver Disorders
- It contains essential oil required for the health of liver thus protects from the liver disorders.
Benefits of Saunf and Jeera Water
Keeps away from Acidity
- Drinking jeera and saunf water on daily basis (boil jeera and saunf seeds powder into a glass of water till it remains half) helps in getting wrinkles and acne free skin as well as helps in good digestion by keeping acidity away.
Benefits of Saunf and Mishri
Cures Eye Disorders
- Eating one tsf of powdered mixture of saunf, almonds and mishri at every night before going to bed with a glass of warm milk for one and half months helps in improving eyesight by curing all the eye disorders. Avoid drinking water after having this mixture.
Enhances Memory and Concentration Level
- Taking this mixture with milk also helps in enhancing the memory and concentration level by curing headache and eye pain.
Benefits of Saunf/Fennel Seeds Tea
Releases Body Toxins
- Fennel seeds tea is a natural detoxifier (when used regularly) helps in releasing body toxins by detoxifying the body as well as prevents from water retention in the body. It can be prepared at home by boiling one or two tsf saunf seeds or leaves into a cup of water till it remains half and add some sweetener (sugar, honey or jaggery) and milk according to the need and taste.
Relieves Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Taking saunf tea on daily basis helps in relieving gastrointestinal disorders including gas, acid reflux, bloating, loss of appetite, indigestion, acidity and etc.
Relieves Summer Heat
- Generally it is used by the people during summer season as a home remedy to get relief from the summer heat.
Cures Intestinal Worms Problem
- It improves digestion by curing intestinal worms problem among kids.
Eases Menstrual Spasm
- It helps in regulating menses by easing menstrual spasms.
Benefits of Saunf/Fennel Seeds Tea for Weight Loss
- Regular intake of saunf tea aids in proper digestion and assists in weight loss. It helps in keeping body fit and youth look.
Cures Gas Problem
- It helps in curing bloating, gas, indigestion and digestive tract inflammation which helps in decreasing belly fat and thus weight loss.
Benefits of Saunf/Fennel leaves
Reduces Effects of Poison
- Fennel leaves are used to reduce the effect of snake bite and neutralize the vegetable poison like mushroom etc.
Treats Respiratory Infections
- Inhaling the steam of boiled fennel leaves helps in treating respiratory infections of bronchitis and asthma.
Nutritional Benefits of Saunf/Fennel Seeds per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 345 Kcal
Carbohydrate: 52.29 g
Protein: 15.80 g
Fat: 14.87 g
Dietary Fibers: 39.8 g
Thiamin (B1): 0.408 mg
Riboflavin (B2): 0.353 mg
Niacin (B3): 6.050 mg
Pyridoxine (B6): 0.470 mg
Vitamin A: 135 IU
Vitamin C: 21 mg
Sodium: 88 mg
Potassium: 1694 mg
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
How to Select and Store
It can be found in the nearest market all through the year in the form of seeds or powder. Always buy fresh, heavy weight, greenish or yellowish color and good smelling seeds of the saunf packed in the air tight poly bags or container. Avoid buying its powder form as it may contain some other contaminated spicy powders. It can be stored for long time if placed in the air tight container at cool and dry place.
How to Enjoy
It can be used in many ways, as a spice in cooking vegetables, saunf juice or water, powder, tea, oil and in combination with other things like badam and mishri and etc. It is used to cook fish, variety of vegetable dishes and cheese spreads. It is a most important part of the paanch pooran masala of India. It is used in making dough, breads, cakes, biscuits, and etc to give them nice smell and flavor.
Other parts of the saunf tree like leaves, stalks and bulb can also be used for various purposes. Saunf powder can be sprinkled to the salad, soup and etc to enhance taste. It is used to make Thandai in India during summer season by mixing with other things.
Precautions, Side Effects and Disadvantages of Saunf/Fennel Seeds
Using saunf or fennel seeds in any form for any purpose need some precautions because of its side effects and disadvantages. Some of are mentioned below:
- Eating saunf or its preparations in high amount should be avoided as it is neuro-toxic in nature which may lead to brain problems like hallucinations and seizures.
- Its high amount may interfere with the estrogen receptor which may cause cancer of breast, endometrium, ovary and etc.
- Its large dose should be avoided during pregnancy as it may lead to some serious health disorders.
- People already suffering from seizure or epilepsy should avoid the use of saunf.
- Saunf oil application on the skin makes skin sensitive to sunlight which may cause sunburn.
- It should be avoided by the people having history of hormone dependent tumors as it may worse the condition.
How Much Saunf/Fennel Seeds to Eat a Day
As I have already mentioned both of the aspects of saunf to get you proper idea of how much saunf or fennel seeds to eat in a day. It has lots of health benefits however it needs some precautions before starting to add it to the daily routine or need proper consultation with the family doctor. Its regular intake depends on the age and health conditions of the person.
Find the Benefits of other Similar Spices