The fennel is a plant belonging to the Umbelliferae or carrot family, it comes from the Mediterranean basin but now you can find it everywhere. As a remedy, it has been known since the time of Assyro-Babylonian that used the seeds of fennel to treat stomach pain, nowadays we know that fennel has anti-fermentative and diuretic properties, it is also able to stimulate the secretion of breast milk. It can be eaten as a vegetable, in fact fennel is a very easy digestible food and results protective for the stomach, or you can prepare, with its seeds, herbal teas or decoctions with diuretic and relaxing properties, useful in case of meteorism but also with a beneficial effect for lung and bronchi in case of cough or asthma. It is better not to eat or use fennel seeds during pregnancy because they can stimulate uterine contractions. Finally, before the description of the main uses, a note: according to an Italian study published on the journal Food and Chemical Toxycology, herbal teas prepared with fennel seeds contain estragole, a substance that can induce cancer. This substance is contained in the seeds, not in the vegetable. Our advice is to avoid to give to babies herbal teas prepared with fennel seeds but, as for the other cases, we should consider this point: all the studies about estragole have been carried out by focusing just on the estragole alone and never on the complex with other substances, such as antioxidant and anticancer molecules, that work together as happens in the fennel seed. It is better not to exceed the dose but you should also consider that fennel seeds have been used and well appreciated since centuries.
Fennel is a low calories food and is rich in fibers, very useful to control the weight. It contains mineral salts, such as potassium, useful to regulate blood pressure, magnesium, zinc, manganese, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamins such as vitamin A, C and group B.
In case of intestinal problems, poor digestion or meteorism, but also to give a relief in case of cough you can prepare a tea by boiling a cup of water, remove it from heat and leave to brew a tablespoon of fennel seeds for ten minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 cups a day.
You can use the fennel decoction as a diuretic, in case of inflammations of the kidney but also to treat digestive problems: bring to boil a teaspoon of fennel seeds in one liter of water for 2 minutes, strain and when it is lukewarm drink 2-3 cups a day.