Fennel bulb is a vegetable that has a sweet taste with crunchiness that makes it refreshing when eaten raw or when used in salads or salsas.
Fennel may be white or pale green and the stalks have feathery green leaves. Together with carrots, parsley, dill and coriander, fennel belongs to the Umbellifereae family.
Fennel is very rich in vitamin A, C and many of the B vitamins. It is an excellent dietary fiber, contains potassium, folate, molybdenum and manganese. Minerals like phosphorous, calcium, iron and copper can also be found in fennel.
The high concentration of essential oils in fennel gives it the aromatic fragrant and flavor. The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties in fennel make it very useful in relieving many common ailments:
Anemia: Since fennel is rich in iron and histidine, it serves as a good natural remedy for anemia. The production of hemoglobin is increased as a result of the consumption of food containing iron.
Breast milk, secretion: Lactating mothers can consume fennel juice regularly to increase the secretion of nutritious milk for their infants.
Cancer: The high content of vitamin C, flavonoids and essential oils in fennel bulb all provide synergistic healing properties for the prevention of cancer.
Colic: Colic happens because of an imbalanced intestinal flora. The essential oils found in fennel are useful for rebalancing the flora for remedy of renal colic.
Constipation: The roughage in fennel seeds act as a stimulant in the clearance of bowels. By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes regular bowel movement.
Diarrhea: The essential oils in fennel like Cineole and Anethole help to remedy diarrhea. By taking fennel juice regularly, it helps to rebalance the digestive tract, thus promotes a healthy bowel movement.
Diuretic: The diuretic property of fennel helps in the removal of toxic substances from the body through frequent urination. Thus, it helps to reduce inflammation that causes rheumatism and swelling.
Flatulence: Excessive flatulence happens due to the highly imbalanced intestinal flora in the digestive tract. Fennel has the capability to reduce the bad bacteria while increasing the good bacteria that help rebalance the digestive flora.
Hair health: The sulphur content together with all the right amino acids and essential oils in fennel help strengthen hair and reduce hair fall.
High blood pressure: The high potassium content in fennel helps reduce high blood pressure and thus decreasing the risk for heart attack and stroke.
Indigestion: The essential oils in fennel increases the secretion of digestive juices, helping in reduction of stomach inflammation and in the absorption of nutrients from the food eaten. Since fennel also has anti-acidic qualities, it is used widely also as an antacid.
Menstruation disorders: As fennel is an emmenagogue, it helps regulate the hormonal action in the female body, easing menstruation flow.
Vision health: Fennel has unique properties that can help protect from eyes inflammation, as well as with other eye disorders which are directly or indirectly connected to muscular degeneration and aging. Due to the anti-oxidants and the necessary amino acids in fennel, they help rejuvenate and prevent aging. The juice of fennel leaves when externally applied on the eyes may help reduce eye irritations and fatigue.
Select fennel that is clean whitish or pale green bulbs, firm and solid and without splits, bruises or spots. Go for those that are flowerless and have fragrant aroma that smells like licorice or anise. Fennel is generally available in the autumn and throughout early spring.
Consume fennel soon after purchasing to get its optimum flavor and nutrition. To store, wrap in a plastic bag, keep in refrigerator and consume within four days.
Fennel bulb, stalk and leaves are all edible. To juice, use about one-third or half a bulb, cut into sizes that can fit into your juicer chute. Mix with your carrots, green apples, any of your favorite vegetable, and a slice of lemon, for a great-tasting glass of juice.
As usual, the principle of moderation applies. The presence of Anethole may react negatively when taken in excessive amount, especially in a body that is not used to detoxification. It may cause breathing problem and/or increased palpitation.