Ayurveda explains Health benefits of Fennel or Saunf . Fennel Tea is useful in weight loss, indigestion, cystitis, loss of appetite etc. It improves heart health and strengthens lungs.
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Ayurveda and Fennel or Saunf
Fennel seeds also known as Foeniculum vulgare belong to carrot family or Umbelliferae . It is a flowering plant with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. This plant usually grows in dry lands near sea coast. These seeds have a strong flavour and have found their way into kitchen. Fennel seeds are known as “Saunf” in India. Usually they are chewed after a heavy meal. Saunf seeds have immense medicinal properties and are effective when used in home remedies.
It is known by different names in India
Punjabi and Hindi : Sounf
Tamil : Soumbu
Bengali : Mauri
Marathi : Badi Shep
Gujarathi : Variyali
Telugu : Sopu
Kannada – Badisopu, sompu
Malayalam : Perum jeerakam
Arabbian : Rajiyanaj
Farsi n: Rajiyan
The fennel plant has various names in Ayurveda. It is called as “mishreya”, “Madhurika and madhura” . This spice tastes sweet (madhura rasa), Pungent (katu rasa) and Bitter taste (tikta rasa) . After digestion also it tastes sweet. Fennel is light to digest (Laghu ) and improves moistness of tissues (Snigdha ). Saunf is hot in potency. (Ushna)
Ayurveda Health Benefits of Fennel or Saunf
Fennel Balances Vata and Kapha. It protects heart’s health, improves memory power, and reduces burning sensation
Mishreya or saunf for weight loss
Ayurveda acharyas say that these seeds balance kapha and cause drying of fat tissues. Hence they recommend this herb in obesity to achieve weight loss.
When fennel is consumed half an hour before meals it suppresses appetite and thus prevents craving for carbohydrates. The food consumption is reduced and this in turn helps in weight loss. These seeds also help to reduce cholesterol. Apart from these fennel seeds increase the urine output and prevent accumulation of water in body. Water retention increases weight. Hence fennel seeds are mainly used to address obesity.
Saunf for diabetes
Various studies have shown that Fennel seeds have anti-diabetic properties which helps in lowering blood sugar level in diabetes. As this is a store house of vitamin C and Potassium, it helps in lowering the blood sugar levels and also helps to increase insulin reactivity resulting in balancing the blood sugar. Hence it is best ayurvedic herb for diabetes.
Fennel for PCOS or PCOD
Since fennel seeds help in weight loss and also to manage blood sugar level it is highly recommended by ayurveda doctors in ayurvedic treatment for PCOS or PCOD.Women who suffer from menstrual cramps can also reap benefits of these seeds. They reduce pain and ease the menstrual flow.
These seeds are known as xiao hui xiang in Chinese medicine. It has been used for thousand of years to enhance lactation, treat absence of period and loss of appetite. According to Chinese medicine experts Fennel seed contains phytoestrogen which balances oestrogen levels.For that reason, it has been used in treating hormonal imbalances that causes menstrual disorder, such as cramps, PCOS or PCOD and menopause.
In Digestive disorders
A heavy meal or excess consumption of oily foods makes the digestion sluggish. We feel heaviness and bloating of stomach. Chewing fennel seeds in these conditions gives a very good relief .Saunf boosts agni or body fire (Agnikrut ). These seeds improve appetite and set right digestion. They are very useful in flatulence and bloating which occur due to indigestion. Fennel relieves constipation.
Too much of oily foods, spices and travel may cause nausea and vomiting (Aruchi). When saunf seeds are chewed they help to prevent nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. Hence carry a small bottle of fennel seeds whenever you go out.
In Respiratory Disorders
Usually respiratory infection like tuberculosis leads to loss of weight and strength. Fennel improves body weight and energy (balya and Durnama Kshayajit ).These seeds soothe cough and very helpful in common cold.
In Pitta Disorders
Health Benefits of Fennel Tea
The tea is made by steeping hot water with slightly crushed fennel seeds. After steeping, the mixture can be strained and drunk as a tea. The seeds have a great amount of health benefits and so the resulting tea is a pleasant beverage that can naturally relieve many health conditions and problems.
During diarrhoea and Dysentery, mishreya kindles appetite and normalises digestion. The fennel seeds reduce stomach colic and pain. Boil 2 tea spoons of these seeds in a glass of water for 3 minutes. Drinking this warm decoction of fennel seeds relieves colic.
These seeds are very useful in treatment of constipation, haemorrhoids or piles. Drinking warm tea prepared from fennel seeds helps in easy evacuation of bowel
Women who suffer from menstrual cramps are also immensely benefited by this herb. Chewing fennel seeds or drinking fennel seeds’ tea help to relieve menstrual cramps.
Fennel Tea for Weight Loss
Fennel can also help people lose weight and detoxify their bodies. Fennel acts as a natural diuretic. When consumed, the herb helps the body get rid of more water. Through the loss of excess water, fennel helps people lose weight. The removal process also helps rid the body of toxins. Fennel is a common ingredient in ayurvedic detox for men programs, so if you are wanting to go through a natural detoxification process consuming fennel and drinking fennel tea can be a great option.
Since fennel seeds boost metabolism, set right digestion, improve urine output, increase sweating and help to reduce cholesterol, they can be used in weight loss remedies. Hence fennel seeds are used in preparations of Ayurvedic Herbal Weight Loss Teas like NILOBESE TEA. This tea is also included in Weight Reduction Kit.
Fennel seeds are powerful fat burners. Take equal quantities of fennel seed powder, dry ginger powder and cumin seed (jeera) powder. Mix them well and store it in an airtight container. Take two tea spoons of this mix and boil in a glass of water. Allow this to warm down. Add a tea spoon of honey and 1/2 tea spoon of lemon juice to this and drink two times daily in empty stomach. This aids in weight loss.
Home remedies with Fennel or Saunf
It is customary in India to place a bowl of fennel seeds in front of guests after a heavy meal. When you slowly chew 1 tea spoon of these seeds, after a heavy meal, the stomach feels lighter. This is because saunf normalises excess pitta and relieves heaviness of stomach, indigestion and bloating. Fennel seeds are roasted or coated with sugar to enhance taste and flavour.
Fennel seeds can be used as mouth freshener. These can be chewed to prevent foul breath. You can also use tea prepared from these seeds to gargle. This process not only prevents the foul breath but also clears the throat. Boil 2 tea spoons of fennel seeds in a glass of water for 2 minutes. Filter the decoction to remove seeds. Allow the decoction to warm down. Use this for gargling.
Based on principles of Ayurveda vitiated vata causes constipation. (Constipation can also cause erectile dysfunction in men). Chew 2 tea spoons of fennel seeds in empty stomach and drink a glass of warm water. Repeat this thrice daily. This helps in easy evacuation of bowel. Prepare tea from these seeds as mentioned above and consume the warm tea three times daily to get rid of constipation.
Piles or Haemorrhoids:
Mix equal quantity of fennel seeds and cumin seeds (jeera). Chew a tea spoon of this mixture three times daily followed by a glass of warm water. This remedy helps to reduce painful piles and ease the evacuation of bowel.
Take equal quantities of ginger powder and fennel seeds powder. Mix them well. Consume a tea spoon of this mixed powder with a spoon of honey thrice daily when you have diarrhoea.
Chew a tea spoon of these seeds and drink a glass of warm water. Repeat this for three times in a day. This remedy helps to relieve menstrual cramps.
If you have burning urination, drink a glass of fennel tea three times daily. Add a tea spoon of honey to it. This remedy helps to relieve burning urination. (You can also use URIKOOL ayurvedic Capsules for cystitis to get rid of burning urination.)
IBS or Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Fennel tea is also very popular among those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) . Fennel has properties that help soothe and relax the gastrointestinal tract. It can help relieve symptoms such as gas, upset stomach, abdominal cramping, and bloating. Many people with irritable bowel syndrome claim that drinking three cups of the tea a day helps to relieve and treat many of their symptoms.
Author : Dr. Savitha Suri Consultant Ayurvedic Physician
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