Fennel seed hydrosol is a quite famous hydrosol that is used by many in the southern European area. One big reason this hydrosol came in the limelight is that it is highly therapeutic in nature and has absolutely harmless when it comes to side-effects.
Sweet, anise-flavored fennel seed together with thyme, nettle, mugwort, etc., has been revered as one of nine Anglo-Saxon sacred herbs for its health benefits. The spice is one of the most sought-after ingredients in many popular cuisines all over the Mediterranean regions.
Fennel is a perennial herb plant belong to parsley or Umbelliferae family, a broad family of herbs and spices, which includes some common members such as caraway, dill, anise, cumin…etc. Scientific name of fennel is Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce.
Fennel is native to Southern Europe and grown extensively all over Europe, Middle-Eastern, China, India, and Turkey. This herbaceous plant reaches up to 2 meters (about 6 feet) in height with deep green feathery (lacy) leaves and bears golden-yellow flowers in umbels. In general, fennel seeds are harvested when the seed heads turn light-brown. The seeds, which resemble to anise seeds in appearance, feature oblong or curved (comma) shape, about 3-4 mm long, light brown-color with fine vertical stripes over their surface.
In general, seeds are harvested during early hours of the day to avoid spilling of seeds on the ground. As in caraway, the cut plants staked until they were dry; then threshed, processed and packed to be sold.
Fennel bulb (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum), used as a vegetable, is closely related to seeding fennel. It has grown for its anise flavored sweet taste fronds in many parts of Mediterranean region.
Fennel symbolizes longevity, courage, and strength. In addition to its use as medicinal values, fennel has much health benefiting -
- Essential compounds
- Dietary fiber
Fennel seeds indeed contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants like kaempferol and quercetin. These compounds function as powerful anti-oxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus protect from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases.
Like in caraway, fennel seeds too are rich source of dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 39.8 g of fiber. Much of this roughage is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and easing constipation condition.
In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of fennel helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.
Fennel seeds compose of health benefiting volatile essential oil compounds such as anethole, limonene, anisic aldehyde, pinene, myrcene, fenchone, chavicol, and cineole. These active principles in the fennel are known to have antioxidant, digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties.
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