Fennel Seed

Myth and legend aside, the benefits of fennel have stood the test of time. Historically, the fennel herb was used for a variety of purposes, from a digestive aid that freshens breath and soothes the throat, to promoting milk production in nursing mothers. Fennel seeds were even chewed by early American Puritans to dull hunger pangs during church services.12

Much like their earlier counterparts, modern herbalists recommend fennel for many, if not all, of the same indications. And fennel seeds can still be seen in many Indian restaurants (look for the bowl of bright green seeds) to stimulate the appetite before a meal and function as an excellent mouth freshener after the meal.

In Ayurveda, fennel holds a special role in digestion. Because of its cooling and sweet properties, it specifically strengthens and warms agni (the digestive fire) without provoking pitta.13 And as a tridoshic herb, fennel is also balancing for vata and kapha, making it a great digestive choice for anyone to keep on hand. Fennel is also helpful for anyone experiencing post-digestive discomfort from excess vata by redirecting apana vayu.14

In addition to digestion, fennel supports many other systems of the body. Due to its vata-directing action, fennel can be used to soothe the nerves and support abdominal comfort before and during menstruation. As further support for women, fennel has a specific effect on rasa dhatu, promoting the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers.15

Its sattvic qualities are said to refresh the mind and promote mental alertness, and it’s also considered to be rejuvenating for the eyes.16 In the respiratory system, fennel even reduces aggravated kapha that congests the lungs.17 It’s difficult not to be impressed with all of the healthful benefits fennel can provide!

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