Fennel Seeds

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Fennel seeds ★★

Fennel seeds are one of the best things to take for any gas and bloating. You can make a tea out of the seeds by just adding hot water to 1 teaspoon or so of seeds. You can strain out the seeds after a few minutes or just leave them. Many cultures around the Mediterranean and eastward sometimes chew some seeds after eating to help with digestion and freshen their breath. Fennel can be grown in most places in the U.S so you can plant some Fennel in your garden and harvest the seeds yourself. It’s also very safe for children and it can help them with digestive problems, nausea/vomiting (especially from menstruation), gas and spasms. They are also a solid cancer fighter and anti inflammatory food since it contains Vitamin E, Vitamin C and some polyphenol antioxidants.

Fennel seeds may be an effective treatment for infant colic. It may be a better treatment than some prescription drugs, which may work too well at relieving the intestinal spasms.
 

Fennel Seeds and Menstruation

Traditionally, fennel has been used by people in the Mediterranean to relieve menstrual cramps and PMS. A recent study showed that it works quite well and also relatively quickly. Women in the study reported that women who reported a 6/10 on their level of pain reported a 4/10 about an hour later. Within 5 hours it was about 1 or 2/10. 52% reported the fennel treatment as excellent but only 8% of women reported it as excellent in the placebo group (they were given capsules filled with flour).

Another study done on 55 women also compared fennel extract to an NSAID (Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) drug called mefenamic acid. This drug may be better than ibuprofen at relieving pain but it’s not an over the counter drug. They wanted to see how well fennel worked against NSAIDs at relieving moderate to severe menstrual pain. 80% of the women who took fennel extract reported no pain compared to 73% of the women who took mefenamic acid. The women were taking 250 mg of fennel extract or mefenamic acid 4 times per day.

One of the downsides with taking fennel seeds while menstruating is that it may cause an increase in bleeding. One study showed about a 10% increase in bleeding. This may be due to the fact that fennel relaxes the uterine muscles, which allows more blood to be released when the uterus contracts. This is especially critical for women who are anemic or are not getting enough iron in their diet. Up to 18 million women per year in the U.S experience iron deficiency anemia each year from heavy menstrual bleeding. However, there is some good news. Ginger may actually help reduce the bleeding and cramps associated with menstruation.

 

 

  1. Ghodsi, Zahra, and Maryam Asltoghiri. “The effect of fennel on pain quality, symptoms, and menstrual duration in primary dysmenorrhea.” Journal of pediatric and adolescent gynecology 27.5 (2014): 283-286.
  2. Omidvar, Shabnam, et al. “Effect of fennel on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea: A placebo-controlled trial.” AYU (An international quarterly journal of research in Ayurveda) 33.2 (2012): 311.
  3. Modaress Nejad, V., and M. Asadipour. “Comparison of the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea.” (2006).

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