Fennel is a hard, seemingly everlasting, herb that has yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It's an umberliferous herb, meaning it's of the same family as parsley, celery, dill, carrot and others alike. It grows wild mostly in temperate parts of Europe, but considered native to the shores of the Mediterranean. It's a highly aromatic and flavorful herb, making it very popular in many kitchens around the world.

The fennel stands erect out of the ground, with its glaucous green color, and shots up to 2.5m with hollow stems with leaves growing 40 centimeters long. The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels, a cluster of flowers, at the length of 5-15cm, where the fennel fruit is a dry seed ranging from 4 to 10mm long.

What Are The Fennel Benefits?

The health benefits of fennel can include relief from:

  1. anemia.
  2. indigestion.
  3. flatulence.
  4. constipation.
  5. colic.
  6. diarrhea.
  7. respiratory disorders.
  8. menstrual disorders.
  9. and in eye care.

Fennel is popular and well-known for its anti-flatulent properties. You see, it has carminative properties because of its content of aspartic acid. It can also act as a laxative and thus relieve you from constipation. Taking fennel can reduce symptoms of non-ulcer dyspepsia, facilitate digestion and rid diarrhea.

Furthermore, it can be useful in treating respiratory disorders, maintain a healthy cholesterol level, reduce high blood pressure, and also reduce the risk of breast and liver cancer. Consuming more fennel doesn't seem like such a bad idea, right?

I know I will use it more in my diet, maybe taking some fennel oil, fennel tea or fennel capsules – I'll figure out how to add some extra fennel in my diet, but I'll definitely start using more of the fennel herb in my home made juices right away!

What About Nutritional Content In Fennel?

Vitamin C is the most active vitamin in fennel, at about 17% of the recommended daily values. Other vitamins and minerals present in fennel include:

  • potassium.
  • folate.
  • pantothenic acid.
  • pyridoxine or Vitamin B6.
  • niacin.
  • riboflavin.
  • and thiamin.

Where To Buy A Substitute For Fennel, Like Pills, Tea Or Seeds?

I recommend getting it locally, as an organic vegetable, but there are fennel substitutes available for you. Here are some of the products that contain fennel, and can give you the benefits you're looking for:

  • Nature’s Way Fennel Seed, 100 capsules
  • Fennel Capsules by Swanson Premium – traditional support for proper digestion.
  • Heather’s Tummy Tea Bags, Organic Fennel – a traditional digestive aid for colic, heartburn, indigestion and stomachaches.

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Photo by Nick Saltmarsh | Creative Commons