Anise-flavored fennel seeds
have an appetite-suppressant
effect, making them useful for
dieters. They may also calm
the digestive system.

Fennel seeds come from both the fennel herb and the fennel vegetable bulb. They have long been regarded as an aid to weight loss because they are said to reduce appetite when consumed as fennel tea. Chewing them is a remedy for bad breath. For women, fennel seeds are helpful when breastfeeding, as they contain compounds that mimic estrogen and therefore stimulate milk production. As an infusion, it can treat flatulence, colic in babies, and stomach cramps. However, the seeds should be avoided during pregnancy as they may overstimulate the uterus. Fennel seeds may also be good for relieving menopausal symptoms.

  • May help control appetite.

  • Remedy for halitosis.

  • Digestive aid and cure for flatulence and colic.

  • Stimulate milk production when breastfeeding.

Practical tips:

Make a fennel tea by steeping a spoonful of seeds in boiling water for 5 minutes, then strain. Fennel seeds are delicious with pork so make slits in the meat and stuff with a few seeds before roasting. Fennel flavors also go particularly well with fish and can be added by putting crushed seeds, olive oil, and chopped tomatoes over the top of white fish before baking. Add extra flavor to potato salad with crushed fennel seeds.

Highly respected as both a food and a medicine in ancient Rome and Greece, fennel was also thought to have magical powers in medieval times—the seeds were inserted in keyholes to protect the home from ghosts.

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