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Health Benefits of Fennel (Saunf) And Its Side Effects

Last Updated: Aug 04, 2020

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Fennel (Saunf) is used in a variety of food recipes. From water retention to maintaining normal blood pressure, Fennel (Saunf) is loaded with an array of nutrients that make it a staple in your kitchen. It is a great source of antioxidants and gives a cooling effect on the body. Primarily useful for treating bloating and constipation, these seeds can do wonders for your eye health too.

Fennel Seeds Benefits

Fennel is an herb whose bulbs, leaves seeds are all edible. Its scientific name is Foeniculum Vulgare Miller. This plant belongs to the unbellifereae family which also has parsley, carrots and coriander in it. It is a perennial plant that grows yellow flowers and has feathery leaves. The finely segmented leaves hang from shiny green branches. The plant grows to a height of about 4-5 feet. It is used as a spice to flavour curries and breads in both the western and the oriental cuisine. It is a common plant found in kitchen gardens for its flavouring properties.

Nutritional Value of Fennel (Saunf)

Fennel Saunf has list of nutritional values. It is a good source of vitamin C and dietary fibre. It also contains potassium molybdenum, manganese, copper, phosphorus and folate. Calcium, pantothenic acid, magnesium, iron and niacin too are found in it.

Fennal Seeds Nutritional facts Per 100 grams

0.2 g
Total Fat
52 mg
414 mg
7 g
Total Carbohydrate
1.2 g

Vitamins and Minerals

2 %
Vitamin A
20 %
Vitamin C
3 %

Health Benefits of Fennel (Saunf) Seeds

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Mentioned below are the best health benefits of Fennel (Saunf)

Fennal Prevents Anaemia

Fennel seeds is a good source of iron and an amino acid called histidine. These help in the manufacture of haemoglobin. The main component of haemoglobin is iron. Histidine on the other hand stimulates the manufacture of haemoglobin and the other constituents of blood.

Fennal Seeds Aids Digestion

The components of essential oils present in fennel triggers the secretion of digestive juices and enzymes which in turn paces up the process of digestion. Fennal reduce bloating of the belly due to flatulence (excessive gas formation). Inflammation of the stomach and the intestine is reduced by fennel and facilitates maximum absorption of nutrients from the digested food.

Fennal Works as an Antacid

Fennel seeds nature is basic. This helps it to neutralise the acidity of the stomach which can sometimes increase due to improper dietary habits, unregulated lifestyle, body weight etc. Acidity causes heart burn and having fennel after meals can reduce chances of it happening. This property of fennel makes it a common ingredient in anti-acidity medications.

Antiflatulent Nature of Fennel Seeds

The carminative property of aspartic acid which is present in fennel seeds makes it a good antiflatulent. Excessive gas formation can cause stomach ache. Having fennel extract is a good way to get rid of the extra gas. Fennel seeds is suitable for all ages and can be given to both infants and aged people.

Fennel Seeds Laxative Effect

Fennel seeds’ powder acts as a good laxative. It helps cure constipation, abdominal pain, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and other diseases related to the intestine. The roughage present in fennel helps regulate the bowel movement. It induces intestinal activity by maintaining peristaltic movements through inducing the secretion of bile and gastric juices.

Fennel (Saunf) Controls Cholesterol Levels

The fibre present in fennel seeds makes it a good option for keeping cholesterol levels low in the blood. High levels of cholesterol can be harmful for the body as it causes various health problems such as heart attacks, strokes and artherosclerosis. It is extremely essential to maintain suitable levels of cholesterol and fennel is a good solution to this problem.

Fennel Potassium Level

Fennel Seeds is an essential source of potassium which is extremely important for the body. Potassium regulates the water balance as well as the acid-base balance in our body. Fennel (Saunf) also plays an integral role to pass on nerve impulses from one end of the body to the other. It reduces the tension on the blood vessels by dilating them. This results in reduction of blood pressure. Having high pressure can be dangerous for the health as it may cause heart5 attacks and strokes among various other health problems. Potassium also improves brain functions and hence having fennel seeds shall help you to improve your mental functioning and cognitive abilities.

Fennel Seeds Stimulates Milk Secretion

Lactating mothers can consume fennel seeds to ensure a steady flow of milk to the suckling infant. Fennel or Saunf stimulates the flow of milk during breast feeding. It is essential for babies to consume breast milk in their initial days and fennel helps to ease this for both the mother and the child.

Fennel Seeds to Induce Periods

Fennel works well to induce menstruation. Chew on some fennel seeds to have a regular and proper menstrual flow on time. Irregular menses can be a problem faced by many women. The fast life, lack of sleep, bad food habits, stress have all added to such irregularities in body functions.

Uses of Fennel Seeds Saunf

Fennel has been used for ages as a flavouring herb. It is added to various food preparations such as fish, vegetables, pastries, sweet pickles, candies, liqueurs, medicines etc. This was a food that was common in all the classes of the society, only the purpose for using it were different. While the rich used fennel to flavour food items that fit their expensive taste, the poor used it to suppress hunger and especially on days when they fasted. All the parts of this plant can be consumed and impart a flavour. The stalks can be consumed as a vegetable. Stored fruits and vegetables can be protected from toxic fungal growth by applying fennel oil on them. In apiculture (cultivation of honey) it is used as a plant from where the bees get the nectar. Fennel powder also drives fleas away from kennels and stables.


Side-Effects & Allergies of Fennel (Saunf)

Now you now the fennel seeds health benefits and now its time for find some side effects. But people who are allergic to carrot, celery and mugwort could be allergic to fennel as well. It has been seen that consuming fennel makes skin more skin sensitive and it is advisable to apply sun protective creams to protect your skin from tanning and sunburn. Though solid evidence is not available, two cases of nervous system damage was seen in two breast-feeding babies from mothers who consumed fennel containing herbal tree. Pregnant women should also avoid having fennel

Cultivation of Fennel (Saunf)

Fennel originated in southern Europe and Asia Minor. It spread further in the temperate regions of Eurasia. Fennel requires a coastal climate to grow well and that is why it has not been spread over a large area and not been naturalised. Fennel requires abundance of sunshine and a well-drained soil to grow and can also be grown in gardens under controlled conditions.


  • Barros L, Carvalho AM, Ferreira IC. The nutritional composition of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare): Shoots, leaves, stems and inflorescences. LWT-Food Science and Technology. 2010 Jun 1;43(5):814-8. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:
  • Ma HW, Zhao JT, Zhao X. The effect of fennel tea drinking on postoperative gut recovery after gynecological malignancies operation. Sichuan da xue xue bao. Yi xue ban= Journal of Sichuan University. Medical science edition. 2015 Nov;46(6):940-3. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:
  • Rather MA, Dar BA, Sofi SN, Bhat BA, Qurishi MA. Foeniculum vulgare: A comprehensive review of its traditional use, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and safety. Arabian Journal of Chemistry. 2016 Nov 1;9:S1574-83. [Cited 26 June 2019]. Available from:

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    Written ByDrx Hina FirdousPhD (Pharmacology) Pursuing, M.Pharma (Pharmacology), B.Pharma - Certificate in Nutrition and Child CarePharmacology
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    Reviewed ByDt. Ms. Shilpa MarwahB.Sc (Home Science), Post Graduation Diploma in Dietetics and Public Health NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist

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