Fennel Seed: The Boon of Nature - Everything You Need to Know

by Somya Agrawal

Fennel seeds are small aromatic seeds obtained from the fennel plant, a herb that belongs to the Apiaceae family. For generations, people have utilised these seeds in traditional medicine and food.

Fennel seeds have a slightly sweet and licorice-like flavour, making them a popular addition to a variety of dishes. They can be used whole or ground, and are commonly used in Indian, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisines.

Through this article, let’s dig deep into fennel seeds, their types, health benefits, and day-to-day usage.

Types of Fennel Seeds

There are several types of fennel seeds available, each with its own unique qualities:

1) Sweet Fennel Seeds: These are the most common type of fennel seeds and are typically used in cooking and baking. They have a mild licorice-like flavor and are often used in Italian and Indian cuisine.

2) Bitter Fennel Seeds: These seeds have a stronger flavor compared to sweet fennel seeds. They are commonly used as a digestive aid and are often included in herbal remedies and appetite suppressants.

3) Wild Fennel Seeds: These seeds come from the wild fennel plant and are typically smaller and darker than sweet fennel seeds. Wild fennel seeds have a more intense flavor and are often used in sausages, pickles, and fish dishes.

4) Bronze Fennel Seeds: Bronze fennel is a variety of fennel with a striking bronze-colored foliage. The seeds of this variety have a slightly sweeter taste compared to sweet fennel seeds and are often used as a garnish or in herbal teas.

5) Florentine Fennel Seeds: Florentine fennel is a larger variety of fennel with a more pronounced licorice flavor. The seeds of this variety are used primarily in traditional Italian dishes and are often toasted and ground before use.

These are just a few examples of the different types of fennel seeds available. The specific variety of fennel seeds may vary depending on the region and culinary traditions.

What is the Nutritional Value of Fennel Seeds?

The nutritional value of fennel seeds per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) is as follows:

  • Calories: 345

  • Carbohydrates: 52g

  • Protein: 15g

  • Fat: 15g

  • Fiber: 40g

  • Calcium: 1196mg

  • Iron: 18g

  • Magnesium: 385mg

  • Phosphorus: 487mg

  • Potassium: 1694mg

  • Sodium: 88mg

  • Vitamin C: 21mg

  • Folate: 113mcg

What are the Health Benefits of Fennel Seeds?

Fennel seeds have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal properties. Here are some of the health benefits associated with consuming fennel seeds:

1) Supports Healthy Digestion: Fennel seeds can help promote healthy bowel movements, and relieve indigestion, bloating, and gas. This is because fennel seeds have carminative properties that promote the production of digestive enzymes, which aid in the breakdown of food and prevent the formation of gas.

2) Reduces Inflammation: Fennel seeds contain antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that can help reduce inflammation in the body. This can be beneficial for conditions such as arthritis and inflammatory bowel diseases.

3) Boosts Immunity: Fennel seeds are rich in vitamin C, which is known to strengthen the immune system and protect against various diseases and infections.

4) Regulates Blood Pressure: Fennel seeds contain potassium and other heart-healthy minerals that can help reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart diseases.

5) Improves Respiratory Health: Fennel seeds have expectorant properties that can help loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract. This can provide relief from conditions such as cough, bronchitis, and asthma.

6) Relieves Menstrual Symptoms: Fennel seeds have been traditionally used to alleviate menstrual symptoms such as cramps and bloating.

7) Supports Breastfeeding: Fennel seeds can help increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers. They are believed to stimulate the production of prolactin, a hormone responsible for milk production.

8) Gives Flawless Skin: Fennel seeds contain antioxidants and essential oils that can help improve the appearance of the skin. They can reduce skin inflammation, promote collagen production, and provide a natural glow.

It’s important to note that while fennel seeds have many potential health benefits, they should not replace medical treatment or advice. If you have any specific health concerns, it’s best to consult with a healthcare professional.

How to Use Fennel Seeds?

There are several ways to use fennel seeds in cooking and for medicinal purposes. Here are a few common ways to use fennel seeds:

1) Culinary Uses:

  • Grinding: To use fennel seeds as a seasoning, grind the fennel seeds in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle and form a powdered spice.
  • Infusion: Create an infused oil or vinegar by adding fennel seeds to a bottle of olive oil or vinegar. To allow the flavors to infuse, Let it sit for a few weeks.
  • Roasting: Toast fennel seeds in a dry pan over medium heat until they become fragrant and slightly golden. This enhances their flavor and can be used in a variety of dishes, such as roasted vegetables or meat.
  • Pickling: Add fennel seeds to your pickling brine for an extra burst of flavor.

2) Medicinal Uses: 

  • Digestive Aid: Chew on a few fennel seeds after a meal to help soothe indigestion, bloating, or gas.
  • Tea: Steep fennel seeds in hot water to make a herbal tea. This can aid in digestion, relieve menstrual symptoms, and act as a natural diuretic.
  • Mouth Freshener: Fennel seeds can freshen breath by neutralizing bad odors. Simply chew on a few seeds after a meal or whenever needed.

Tip: Remember to enjoy fennel seeds in moderation as they have a strong flavor.


Fennel seeds are widely used in cooking and traditional medicine due to their unique flavor and numerous health benefits. However excessive consumption can lead to adverse health effects such as gastrointestinal upset or allergic reactions. While mindfully adding fennel seeds to the dietary pattern can uplift the overall health.