Fennel is scientifically used as Foeniculum vulgare. It is a flowering plant with feather-like leaves and umbrella-like yellow flowers. The flowers occur in a bunch. The plant is widely found all over the world because of its aromatic quality. It is grown near the riverbanks and sea-coasts and in the Mediterranean region. It is also used as a food and vegetable as all the parts of plant are edible.
Fennel is a highly flavouring and aromatic herb with countless medicinal and culinary uses. It is a food plant and native to the old world and was first introduced to North America. It has strong and sweet flavour and taste.
It is a tall perennial herb .It has been known from the time of the Romans and Hippocrates and it has a rich history of uses. Earlier, fennel was used in various sacred rituals by the Greeks and Romans. It is a well known herb in Traditional Chinese and Ayurveda from long time. Fennel is also known as saunf, and India is the largest producer of fennel seeds. It is mostly used as a mouth freshener and is served and chewed after meals to freshen mouth, especially in India.
Extensively cultivated for its strong flavour and versatile uses, anethole is the main component that imparts a strong flavour and odour to the fennel plant.
Fennel is known for its phytochemicals and is a rich source of fiber, protein, vitamin B and C, carbohydrates, minerals such as, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, folate and magnesium. It also contains few strong volatile oils include, estragole, trans-anethole, 1-octen-3-ol and fenchone and polyphenols such as, luteolin and rosmarinic acid. It also contains other non-volatile components such as coumarins and flavonoids.
Some important medicinal activities of fennel are it works as analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, galactagogue, anti-bacterial, anti-spasmodic, carminative and secretolytic agent.
Benefits of Fennel:
Fennel is used in culinary, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry due its cooling, soothing, aromatic, flavouring and calming effects in various products and dishes. Its therapeutic value makes it of use in Ayurvedic herbal supplements. In herbal curcumin teas, fennel imparts therapeutic properties along with amazing, flavour, taste and aroma.