Fennel Seeds (Saunf): 9 Medicinal Health Benefits, Nutrition Facts

Fennel seeds are an aromatic, flavorful spice commonly used in many cuisines across the world. Fennel, native to the Mediterranean region, has been a staple in cooking and medicinal practices for centuries. It offers versatility, adding depth and complexity to dishes, and its distinct flavor enhances many recipes. n this post, we’ll explore the history, health benefits, and culinary uses of fennel seeds. We’ll also share some tips for working with this unique spice and give you ideas for how to incorporate it into your favorite dishes.

Fennel Seeds Nutrition Facts and Calories Chart

Saunf is a nutritional powerhouse. They are an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They are a good source of Vitamin C, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc. Fennel seeds are also high in essential fatty acids and polyphenols. These compounds help protect the body from free radical damage, reducing the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Saunf can help promote a healthy digestive system, balance hormones, lower cholesterol, and reduce inflammation. They are also believed to possess anti-cancer properties. You can eat saunf raw or cooked, and use it to make teas, sauces, soups, and more. Nutritional value per 100 g fennel seeds:

  • Biotin: 0.2 µg
  • Calcium: 1150 mg
  • Carbohydrates (Carbs): 46 g
  • Chloride: 34 mg
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg
  • Choline: 11.9 mg
  • Chromium: 0.5 µg
  • Copper: 0.5 mg
  • Dietary Fiber: 30.3 g
  • Energy (Calories): 323 kcal
  • Fat: 4.3 g
  • Iodine: 0.2 µg
  • Iron: 12.6 mg
  • Magnesium: 250 mg
  • Manganese: 2.2 mg
  • Molybdenum: 0.2 µg
  • Pantothenic Acid: 0.9 mg
  • Phosphorus: 287 mg
  • Potassium: 1150 mg
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Saturated fat: 0.3 g
  • Selenium: 0.4 µg
  • Sodium: 35 mg
  • Sugars: 3 g
  • Vitamin A: 481 IU
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamin): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin): 0.2 mg
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin): 0.8 mg
  • Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid): 0.9 mg
  • Vitamin B6: 0.3 mg
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate / Folic Acid): 113 µg
  • Vitamin B12: 0 µg
  • Vitamin C: 8 mg
  • Vitamin D: 0 IU
  • Vitamin E: 1.2 mg
  • Vitamin K: 51.5 µg
  • Water: 8.9 g
  • Zinc: 1.3 mg

Fennel Seeds in India

Since Roman times, people have cultivated fennel for its thick bulbous stems, which can be useful as a vegetable, its feathery leaves, used for flavoring, and its seeds, which offer medicinal benefits. It is an excellent digestive tonic; sweet tasting. Safe for children, it gently warms and stimulates appetite and digestion, in the process relieving colic, gas, and bloating. Traditional use is wide-ranging, from relieving menstrual pain to shortness of breath.

  • Scientific Binomial: Foeniculum vulgare
  • Common English: Sweet fennel / Florence fennel / Finocchio
  • Ayurvedic: Mishreyaa / Mishi / Madhurikaa / Madhuraa / Shatapushpaa / Shataahvaa
  • Unani: Baadiyaan
  • Sanskrit: Misreya / Madhurika
  • Hindi / Urdu: Saunf
  • Bengali: Mouri / Mauri
  • Marathi: Badishep / Shepa
  • Telugu: Peddajilakarra
  • Tamil: Sompu / Sombu
  • Gujarati
  • Kannada: Dodda sompu
  • Malayalam: Preumjirakam
  • Oriya
  • Punjabi / Sindhi
  • Assamese
  • Kashmiri
  • Konkani
  • Manipuri
  • Dogri
  • Bhojpuri

Fennel Seeds Tea Recipe

Fennel tea’s pleasant flavor and aroma make it a refreshing drink with marked benefits for digestive health. A tea made from fennel seeds is a traditional remedy to ease chesty colds, coughs and tummy troubles in children.

  • Make the tea with 1 teaspoon of freshly crushed fennel seeds
  • Take 1 cup of almost boiling water
  • Cover and leave to steep for 5 minutes.
  • Sip tea throughout the day.
  • It’s also popular with children to warm the seeds in milk instead of water.

Fennel vs Cumin Seeds

Both are popular spices in Indian cooking, but they have distinct flavors and uses:

  • Flavor: Fennel seeds have a sweet, licorice-like flavor with a hint of anise. Cumin seeds have a warm, earthy, and slightly peppery flavor with a nutty undertone.
  • Culinary Uses: People commonly use fennel seeds in Mediterranean, Indian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. They frequently incorporate them into soups, stews, curries, and pickles. Additionally, people chew on them after meals as a breath freshener and digestive aid. Cumin seeds find wide usage in cuisines around the world, including Indian, Mexican, Middle Eastern, and North African dishes. They feature in spice blends, curries, stews, soups, and as a seasoning for meats and vegetables. Typically, people dry-roast cumin seeds before using them to enhance their flavor.
  • Health Benefits: Fennel seeds aid digestion, alleviate bloating, and freshen breath.They are also a good source of fiber, antioxidants, and minerals like calcium and magnesium. Cumin seeds are also to aid digestion, improve immunity, and have anti-inflammatory properties. They are a good source of iron, manganese, and other minerals.

Home Remedies

Using fennel raw or steamed can treat digestive disorders. It also has a high content of Vitamin C. Many Indian restaurants have a dish of fennel seeds available as a digestive aid for departing diners. Fennel is a carminative, an herb that aids digestion and alleviates cramping and gas. Try chewing a teaspoon of fennel seed to soothe an upset stomach, particularly one triggered by eating spicy foods. It is an excellent for obesity because it helps take away the appetite. Aids indigestion when uric acid is the problem. It is also good for gas acid stomach, gout and colic in infants.

1. Digestive Aid

Fennel seed tea is ideal for relieving indigestion, gas, or colic, and you can add it to laxative mixtures to ease the griping pains that strong purgatives can cause. Fennel tea bags are readily available and make a good after dinner drink to ease the digestion. OR After each meal, drink a cup of cumin-coriander-fennel tea. All herbs taken into equal proportions, as a digestive aid. Steep about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of each herb per cup of hot water.

2. Bad Breath

To treat bad breath, after each meal chew about 1 teaspoon of roasted fennel and cumin seeds mixed half and half. This will improve digestion, which indirectly helps to detoxify the colon. The licorice-flavored fennel seeds alone would be delicious and helpful, but this mixture will have a better effect.

3. Burning While Urinating

The combination of cumin, coriander, and fennel seeds in the tea possesses diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and soothing properties that might help alleviate burning sensations during urination. Cumin and coriander seeds are popular for their anti-inflammatory properties, whereas fennel seeds exert a soothing effect on the urinary tract. To make Cumin-Coriander-Fennel (CCF) tea for burning while urinating, in a small saucepan, add the cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and fennel seeds. Take 1 teaspoon each. Pour in 2 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and let the tea simmer for about 5-10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool for a few minutes. Strain the tea to remove the seeds. You can drink this tea 1-2 times a day, depending on the severity of your symptoms.

4. Mouthwash

Fennel tea is also good for using as a mouthwash for gum disease and sore throats. Some brands uses it in herbal toothpastes. Seeds contains compounds such as anethole, which have antimicrobial properties that can help fight bacteria in the mouth. By using fennel tea as a mouthwash, you’re harnessing these natural antimicrobial properties to help reduce bacterial growth and inflammation in the gums, which can contribute to gum disease.

5. Baby Colic

Fennel is great for kids. It loosens phlegm and eases cramping. Breastfeeding mothers can also incorporate it into their diet by adding them to various dishes such as soups, stews, and curries. Additionally, chewing on a few fennel seeds after meals can aid digestion and may indirectly help alleviate colic symptoms in breastfed infants. OR Prepare a mild infusion by boiling 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes. Let the infusion cool down to room temperature and strain out the seeds. Breastfeeding mothers can drink this fennel seed water throughout the day to help pass the beneficial properties of fennel to their babies through breast milk.

6. Improves Lactation

Fennel seeds are galactagogues, which are substances that can help stimulate milk production in lactating mothers. Certain compounds such as phytoestrogens, may mimic the effects of estrogen in the body, thereby promoting lactation. Fennel seeds are also popular for their digestive properties and are often useful to alleviate digestive discomfort in both adults and infants. By supporting digestive health, they indirectly contribute to overall well-being, which can positively impact lactation. Saunf also have mild calming and stress-reducing properties. Reducing stress levels are beneficial for lactating mothers, as stress hormones can inhibit milk letdown and production.

7. Diarrhea

To treat acute diarrhea, mix 1/2 teaspoon fennel powder with 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder, and chew this mixture 2 or 3 times a day. OR Prepare a infusion by boiling 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water for about 10 minutes. After boiling, strain the fennel seed infusion to remove the seeds, leaving behind a clear liquid. Allow the fennel seed infusion to cool down to room temperature before consuming it. Drink the cooled fennel seed infusion slowly, sipping it throughout the day. You can consume it on its own or sweeten it with a little honey if desired. You can drink fennel seed infusion several times a day, especially during episodes of diarrhea, to help alleviate symptoms and promote recovery.

8. Congestion

Fennel seed oil contains compounds that act as expectorants, which means they can help loosen and expel mucus from the respiratory tract. This may help relieve congestion by clearing the airways and facilitating easier breathing. Add a few drops of fennel seed oil to a bowl of hot water. Lean over the bowl and cover your head with a towel to trap the steam. Inhale the steam deeply for several minutes to help clear congestion and soothe the respiratory tract. OR Dilute fennel seed oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil or almond oil. Apply the diluted oil mixture to the chest and throat area and gently massage to help relieve congestion and promote relaxation.

9. Chemotherapy Side Effects

Chemotherapy can cause gastrointestinal side effects such as nausea, vomiting, and indigestion. Fennel seeds are popular for their digestive properties and may help soothe the digestive system, alleviate nausea, and reduce gastrointestinal discomfort. Chew on a few fennel seeds throughout the day to help alleviate nausea and freshen breath. OR Prepare a fennel seed tea by steeping 1 teaspoon of fennel seeds in 1 cup of hot water for about 10 minutes. Strain the seeds and drink the tea slowly.

Side Effects

Do not use medicinally for more than 6 weeks. Excess use of fennel seed can overstimulate the nervous system. Fennel seeds are generally safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts as a food or herbal remedy. However, some individuals may experience allergic reactions or side effects, especially if they are allergic to plants in the Apiaceae family, such as carrots, celery, or parsley. Excessive consumption of it or seed oil may cause adverse effects such as nausea, vomiting, allergic dermatitis, or hormonal imbalances. Pregnant women should avoid consuming large amounts, as they may stimulate uterine contractions. It’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional before using fennel seeds for medicinal purposes, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.


Q. Can we drink fennel water daily?

Drinking fennel water daily is safe and can offer various health benefits. To make water, also known as fennel tea, steep fennel seeds in hot water. People commonly consume it for its digestive properties, as it may help alleviate bloating, gas, and indigestion. Additionally, fennel water promotes hydration, aid weight loss by suppressing appetite, and may have mild diuretic effects. However, it’s essential to consume fennel water in moderation, as excessive intake may lead to potential side effects such as allergic reactions or hormonal imbalances.

Q. Can I substitute fennel seeds for anise seeds or vice versa?

Yes, both have similar flavor profiles, although they come from different plants. While they can often be used interchangeably in recipes, there are subtle differences in taste. Fennel seeds have a slightly sweeter and milder flavor compared to the stronger, more pungent taste of anise seeds. When substituting one for the other, it’s essential to adjust the quantity to taste, as anise seeds may have a more intense flavor. Additionally, consider the texture and appearance of the seeds, as they may vary slightly, especially in dishes where the visual presentation is important.

Q. How do I store fennel seeds to maintain their freshness?

To maintain the freshness and flavor, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard. Exposure to light, heat, and moisture can cause the seeds to lose their potency and flavor more quickly. Avoid storing it near sources of heat or sunlight, such as stovetops or windowsills. Properly stored, whole fennel seeds can retain their freshness and flavor for up to one year. Ground fennel seeds have a shorter shelf life and consume within six months for the best flavor.

Q. Are fennel seeds safe for pregnant women or breastfeeding mothers?

While it is commonly useful to alleviate digestive discomfort, pregnant women should exercise caution when consuming them, especially in large amounts. Fennel seeds contain compounds that may stimulate uterine contractions, potentially increasing the risk of miscarriage or preterm labor. Breastfeeding mothers can consume fennel seeds in moderation as part of a balanced diet, but excessive intake should be avoided.

Q. Do fennel seeds have any culinary or cultural significance in specific cuisines or traditions?

Yes, they have significant culinary and cultural importance in various cuisines and traditions around the world. They are commonly used in Mediterranean, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Southeast Asian cuisines, where they add depth of flavor and aroma to a wide range of dishes. In Mediterranean cuisine, fennel seeds are often used in seafood dishes, sausages, and salads. In Indian cuisine, they are a key ingredient in spice blends like garam masala and are used in curries, chutneys, and pickles. Fennel seeds are also used in Italian cuisine, particularly in sausage-making and as a flavoring for bread and pastries.

Q. Can fennel seeds be used in baking?

Yes, fennel seeds can be used in baking to add flavor and texture to various sweet and savory dishes. They are commonly used in bread, biscuits, cakes, cookies, and pastries, where they impart a subtle licorice-like flavor and aroma. Fennel seeds can be added to the dough or batter directly or used as a topping or garnish. When baking with fennel seeds, it’s essential to consider their flavor intensity and adjust the quantity according to personal preference and the desired outcome of the recipe.

Q. Are there any recipes or dishes that specifically highlight the flavor of fennel seeds?

Yes, there are several recipes and dishes that specifically highlight the flavor of fennel seeds, known as “saunf” or “saunth” in Hindi. Fennel seeds are commonly used in Indian cooking, particularly in regional cuisines where they add a unique aroma and taste to vegetarian dishes. Here are a few examples:

  • Aloo Gobi (Potato and Cauliflower Curry): Aloo Gobi is a classic North Indian dish featuring potatoes and cauliflower cooked with aromatic spices, including fennel seeds. The subtle sweetness of the fennel seeds complements the earthiness of the potatoes and cauliflower, adding depth of flavor to the dish.
  • Panchmel Dal (Five Lentil Curry): Panchmel Dal is a traditional Rajasthani dish made with a combination of five different lentils. Fennel seeds are often included in the tempering (tadka) along with other spices like cumin, mustard seeds, and asafoetida, infusing the dal with their distinct flavor.
  • Baingan Bharta (Roasted Eggplant Curry): Baingan Bharta is a flavorful North Indian dish made with roasted and mashed eggplant cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Fennel seeds are often added to the tempering to enhance the aroma and flavor of the dish.
  • Masala Bhindi (Spiced Okra): Masala Bhindi is a flavorful Indian dish made with tender okra (bhindi) cooked with onions, tomatoes, and spices. Fennel seeds are often included in the tempering to add a hint of sweetness and aroma to the dish.
  • Bengali Aloo Posto (Potatoes in Poppy Seed Paste): Aloo Posto is a traditional Bengali dish made with potatoes cooked in a paste of poppy seeds and spices. Fennel seeds are commonly added to the tempering, enhancing the flavor and aroma of the dish.

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