Fennel (Latin name: Foeniculum vulgare ) is a flowering plant species, a perennial herb in the celery family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae. When anise is way too strong for your dishes, there’s nothing else more suitable to use than the good old fennel seeds. Fennel has been considered to be one of nine Anglo-Saxon sacred herbs for its health benefits (along with nettle, mugwort, thyme etc.), and is one of the most sought-after condiments in many cuisines all over Mediterranean regions. It symbolizes strenght, courage and longevity.
These fresh, lively, green seeds have a slightly sweet flavor and aroma, and can be a fine ingredient in many versatile recipes. They’re often used in fish preparation, but can also serve as a pop of fragrance and flavor to vegetable and meat dishes. Fennel can even be added into dressings, herb butters, salads, baked goods and power smoothies. Starwest Botanicals are known for their line of premium herbs and spices. Their organic raw fennel seed is no exception when it comes to meeting the highest standards of quality seasoning. And the fact that their source is grown and processed without pesticides, irradiation and GMOs, means that this product is the ideal spice to use for healthy cooking.
Nutrition facts and health benefits of Fennel
Fennel seeds are an excellent source of strong antioxidants, such as quercetin and kaempferol. They ward off free radicals in the body, thus protecting us from health issues like cancer, infection, degenerative neurological diseases and premature aging.
Fennel seeds contain beneficial essential oil elements such as limonene, pinene, anethole, anisic aldehyde, fenchone, cineole, myrcene and cineole. These volatile oils are considered to bear digestive, antioxidant, anti-flatulent and carminative properties.
Fennel is a fiber-rich food, as 100g of fennel seeds provide about 39.8 g of dietary fiber. Most of it represents inert insoluble fiber which relieves constipation and increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system. Moreover, the roughage (fiber) attaches to bile salts which are a production of cholesterol and lowers their re-absorption in colon, resulting in decreasing the bad LDL cholesterol levels. The fiber composition combined with flavonoid antioxidants in fennel help shield the colon mucus membrane from colon cancer.
Raw fennel seeds are said to induce better eyesight. Ancdient Romans even referred to fennel as the herb of sight. An old method of cleaning cloudy eyes involves a tonic made with fennel extract. Promising tests imply the potential of fennel to treat glaucoma.
The herb has the potential to be a natural hypertension treatment and an effective diuretic.
It is said since old times that fennel has the ability to favor the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother, therefore it’s considered a galactagogue. Though this wasn’t backed up by confirmative evidence, it’s often justified by the fact that fennel is a source of phytoestrogens, which promote growth of breast tissue.
Organic fennel seeds are a very decent source of vitamins like vitamin E, vitamin A, vitamin C, as well as B group vitamins which includes pyridoxine, riboflavin, thiamine and niacin.
There are numerous minerals concentrated in fennel such as iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium, magnesium, zinc and selenium.
And this is how fresh Fennel looks like
Picture credit: marksvegplot.blogspot.com;