Saunf or fennel seed is a popular spice in Indian cuisine and is used in many ways. Popular paanch phoran masala, sandwich masala, pav bhaji masala are incomplete without Saunf. Saunf is also used in tempering or tadka, Indian pickles, and Indian beverages like Thandai. Another popular way saunf is included in daily life is Mukhawas (Mouth freshener). There are many health benefits associated with Saunf. Saunf health benefits range from healing the gut to enhancing immunity. If you are suffering from indigestion, constipation, Haemorrhoids, and abdominal spasms frequently, then you must consider Saunf to solve all these ailments. This article will help you to understand the health benefits of saunf and how to take saunf to reap its benefits.
Saunf or fennel seed is a very popular spice in the Indian kitchen and does not need a special introduction. Saunf or Fennel seeds are seeds of flowering plants (Sanskrit name of fennel plant – Shatapushpa) belonging to the Foeniculum Vulgare family. It belongs to the same species as Carrots, Dill, and Cumin. Saunf seeds are the dried seed of this plant. The sweet and woody taste of saunf seeds comes from the goodness of essential oils present in them. Saunf leaves, saunf bulb, saunf oil, saunf pollen, and saunf seeds are mostly used for cooking and medicinal purpose. This article will focus on Saunf Seeds and how to take saunf seeds for health benefits.
India is one of the largest exporters of saunf. United States, Northern Europe, Canada, Australia, and most of the Asiatic and Mediterranean countries are producers of Saunf/Fennel seeds.
Different names of Saunf
- English Name: Fennel Seeds
- Sanskrit Name: Madhurika, Mishi.
- Telugu Name: Sompu
- Bengali Name: Mauri
- Tamil Name: Sombu
- Kannada Name: Badi Sopu
- Malyalam Name :Perum Jeerakum
- Assamese Name : Guvamuri
- Gujarati Name: Variyali.
- Marathi Name: Badi Shep
How to take saunf for health benefits
1. How to take saunf for digestion ?
The intake of the fennel seeds is claimed to produce a beneficial effect in the reduction of abdominal cramping and facilitating the smooth digestion of the food. Further, it plays a crucial role in the stimulation of the bile flow which facilitates the adequate digestion of the food by relaxation of the smooth muscle in the digestive tract.
Saunf is known to have carminative properties which are helpful in the removal of flatulence from the intestines.
People with indigestion often lack appetite. Taking a morsel of food for them is like a punishment. They also suffer from burps, gas, and other gastric discomforts throughout the day. Saunf is proven to be very beneficial for curing Indigestion. (1) (2) (3) (4)
How to take saunf for indigestion?
- Make powder of dry roasted Saunf(fennel seeds), dry roasted Jeera (cumin seeds), and Rocksalt separately. Now take 1 teaspoon of saunf powder, 1 teaspoon of jeera powder, and 1/4th teaspoon of rock salt powder. Mix them thoroughly, now add this mix to 1 glass of warm water. Consume this water three times a day. Prepare a fresh drink every time. This drink will boost your digestion and cure indigestion.
- Make powder of dry roasted saunf powder (fennel seeds), dry roasted ( black pepper powder), and Rocksalt separately. Mix all the powder and add half a teaspoon of this to buttermilk. Consume this drink once daily to reduce indigestion and enhance appetite.
- Home made Gripe water – In a pan take water and let it boil for 10 min. Now take an empty cloth tea bag and add 1 cardamom seeds, saunf seeds (1 teaspoon), Dry chamomile leaves (a few), an inch of crushed ginger). Keep the teabag in the boiled water for 15 minutes. Let all the flavors seep in the water. Remove the teabag and consume this concoction for treating indigestion, flatulence, and colic pain.
2. How to take saunf diarrhoea/dysentery ?
Both Diarrhoea and Dysentery are conditions that affect our internal digestive and waste disposal system. Loose runny stools, sudden urge to empty the bowel, Nausea, Stomach ache and Vomiting are some of the common symptoms. Dysentery can be a little serious as there can be bloody discharge in the stool. Sometimes these conditions can be life-threatening if not treated on time. Certain Viruses and Bacteria are responsible for these symptoms.
Saunf can give relief from Diarrhoea and Dysentery Symptoms. (5)
How to take saunf for Diarrhoea and Dysentery?
- Dry roast the saunf and make a powder. Take 1 teaspoon of saunf powder and mix with 1 glass of Buttermilk. Have this drink thrice to get rid of loose stools. If required this drink can be taken four times also.This drink will also reduce the colicky pain or abdominal muscle cramps associated with diarrhea & dysentery. Calcium present in buttermilk will help in smooth muscle contractions of the abdomen.
3. How to take saunf for bad breath?
Bad breath medically called Halitosis is caused by bad oral hygiene. If the food particles are left in the mouth, bacteria break down it and produce sulfur compounds, which cause bad breath. Keeping the mouth hydrated will reduce the bad odor.
Other causes are smoking, GERD, Liver Failure, Cancer, etc. It is estimated that 1 out of 4 people suffer from Bad Breath. Bad breath can lead to social isolation. People suffering from bad breath tend to isolate themselves and develop low self-esteem. Halitosis is not a serious disease but people with this issue suffer a lot. If you are struggling with a bad breath issue, don’t worry, try to maintain good oral hygiene and include saunf after the meal to get rid of bad breath.
Saunf is the common Indian remedy to fight bad breath. Saunf has essential oils which have an anti-bacterial property and fights the germs causing bad breath. The seeds activate salivary glands and increase saliva production and wash away bacteria from the mouth. (6)
How to take Saunf for bad breath?
- Chew a half teaspoon of dry roasted saunf seeds after the meal. Chew them properly before gulping them in. This will help in neutralizing offensive mouth odor and aids in digestion.
- Prepare home made Mukhawas and store it in a glass or steel container. Chew the mukhawas after the meal to get rid of bad breath. Mukhwas also aids in healthy digestion.
- Take a teaspoon of dry roasted saunf seeds and mix with 1/4th teaspoon elaichi powder. Keep this mix as chewy in the mouth. The juices from the mix will keep the mouth away from bacteria and eventually, bad breath will reduce. You can practice this twice a day.
4. How to take saunf for excessive heat?
Our normal body temperature is 98.9 degrees, slight variations of higher or lower degrees are acceptable. However, if your body temperature is outside the normal range then you need to correct it. For a few individuals, even though the temperature shows normally on the thermometer they always complain of feeling hot.
It is essential to maintain the right body temperature for the proper functioning of all the internal organs.
Causes for excess heat in the body –
- Diseases like arthritis, Fever, and Neurological disorders.
- Abnormal Thyroid activity.
- Prolonged exposure to the sun
- Hot and Humid Weather.
- Being Dehydrated.
- Burning sensation in Eyes, Palms, and under the feet.
Symptoms of excess body heat-
- Stomach Ulcers
- Burning hands and feet.
- Rapid heartbeat.
- Heat cramps.
- Burning sensation in the eyes.
- Skin rashes and boils.
- Excessive Perspiration.
- Acidity and Heart Burn
Diet plays a crucial role in maintaining normal body temperature. Certain foods like processed and packaged foods, deep-fried foods, Meat, etc increase body temperature on the other hand few foods keep the body cool. One such wonderful food which has a cooling effect on the body is Saunf.
In Ayurveda, If pitta Dosha or Agni Dosha dominates in the body, excessive heat is generated in the body. Ayurvedic medicine strongly vouches for saunf by its imperative medicinal properties and it is valuable in pacifying the Tridoshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Saunf with a sweet, astringent-like, and bitter taste, has a cooling effect on the body. The best way to reap the benefits of saunf is steeping, as Ayurvedic medicine suggests that cooking depletes the properties of the nutrients. (7)
How to take Saunf to reduce excess heat?
- Soak 1 teaspoon of Saunf in 1 glass of warm water. In the morning strain the water and add a pinch of rock salt, a pinch of sugar, and lemon. Consume this drink once a day to get relief from excessive heat in the body.
- Take 25 grams of dry roasted saunf powder, 25 grams of badam (almond) powder, 25 grams of dry-roasted Dhaniya powder, 25 grams of elaichi powder, 25 grams of crystal sugar. Store all of them in separate glass containers in a cool and dry place. Take a pinch of each of the powders and mix thoroughly. Mix this with 50ml – 75ml of warm milk. Consume this saunf milk before going to sleep.Along with releasing excess heat from the body, this drink also helps to get good sleep and boosting memory power.
5. How to take saunf for constipation?
Constipation is a condition in which a person has uncomfortable or infrequent bowel movements. Generally, a person is considered to be constipated when bowel movements result in the passage of small amounts of hard, dry stool, usually fewer than three times a week. About 16 million people in the world have frequent constipation. Constipation is the most common gastrointestinal complaint, resulting in 2.5 million doctor visits annually.
Changing your diet and increasing your physical activity level are the easiest and fastest ways to treat and prevent constipation. Saunf is considered to be a great ingredient for curing constipation. (8)
How to take Saunf for Constipation?
- Take 100ml of warm milk. Add 5 grams of dry roasted saunf powder and 5 grams of Gulkand. Mix well and consume this drink before sleeping every day. Eventually, in few days constipation problem will be solved.
6. How to take saunf for haemorrhoids/piles?
Hemorrhoids, also called piles, are swollen veins in your anus and lower rectum, similar to varicose veins. Hemorrhoids can develop inside the rectum (internal hemorrhoids) or under the skin around the anus (external hemorrhoids).The veins around your anus tend to stretch under pressure and may bulge or swell.
Hemorrhoids can develop from increased pressure in the lower rectum due to:
- Straining during bowel movements.
- Sitting for long periods on the toilet.
- Having chronic diarrhea or constipation.
- Being obese.
- Being pregnant.
- Eating a low-fiber diet.
- Regular heavy lifting.
Prevention of hemorrhoids is possible by drinking plenty of fluids, eating fiber rich diet, and doing regular exercise. Miracle saunf seeds can help in the prevention and cure of hemorrhoids. (9) (10)
How to take saunf seeds for Haemorrhoids/Piles?
- Take 10 grams of roasted saunf powder and 20 grams of roasted black pepper powder. Mix them and store them in a glass bottle. Take a half teaspoon of this mix and add half a teaspoon of honey. Take this mixture twice a day for curing Haemorrhoids and related problems. In summer or in high temperature places take this drink once a day.
7. How to take saunf for immunity?
Alfa filandry chemical present in saunf stimulate T – lymphocytes, B- lymphocytes, and NK – Lymphocytes production in our body. All these are the main constituents of our immune system.
- T- Lymphocytes – Participate in the process of cellular immunity.
- B – Lymphocytes – Participate in the process of Humoral immunity
- NK – Lymphocytes – Natural Cytotoxicity against cancer cells and virus-infected cells.
In 2012, the Indian Institute Of Integrated Medicine, India has scientifically proven that chewing a few seeds of saunf every day will enhance the immunity system and digestion system in our body. (11) (12)
How to take saunf for Boosting Immunity?
- One can chew a teaspoon of dry roasted saunf after a meal for getting the benefits from it.
- Saunf ka pani – Boil a teaspoon of saunf in 100 ml water. Once it comes to half, sieve and consumes warm to reap its benefits.To increase the effectiveness of the saunf, dry roast them on a tawa or flat pan for 2 minutes. Cool it and crush it using mortar and pestle.Use this mix to make saunf ka pani, saunf drink, fennel drink.
8. Saunf for well women health
Saunf is rich in phytoestrogens and Anethole compounds. These compounds play important role in –
- Help in regulating periods.
- Balance female hormones.
- Reduce menstrual cramps.
- Relieving menopausal symptoms.
- Boost fertility.
- Vaginal health. (13)
How to take saunf for maintaining good health for females?
- Take 1 teaspoon of dry roasted saunf after meals.
- Saunf tea / Fennel Tea– Add saunf in 100 ml of boiling water in a vessel. Stop the flame and close the vessel with a lid. Let the flavors from Saunf steep in the water. After 10 minutes, sieve the water and consume the tea.
- Infused overnight soaked Saunf water– Add 2 teaspoons of saunf in 500 ml of water and boil for 10 minutes. Close the vessel with a lid and leave it overnight. The next day sieve and pour the water into a bottle. Sip this water throughout the day for getting relief from Menstrual problems.
9. How to take saunf for blood pressure and eye health?
Saunf is a decent source of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. These nutrients help in naturally controlling the acid-base balance, regulating the heart rate, dilating the blood vessels, and stabilizing blood pressure.
High blood pressure can damage the tiny, delicate blood vessels that supply blood to the eyes, causing damage to the retina (retinopathy). Damage to the light-sensitive tissue at the back of your eye (retina) can lead to bleeding in the eye, blurred vision, and complete loss of vision. The goodness of the beneficial effects of reducing blood pressure is claimed to be beneficial in the reduction of the blood pressure in the eye.
Saunf/Fennel seeds are used by the traditional medicinal system for treating bad eyesight. It contains several nutrients which are key to the promotion of eye health and good eyesight. These nutrients contain antioxidants e.g. Vitamin A &Vitamin C. The antioxidants are thought to shield the eyes from the effects of affiliations of macular degeneration – which in layman’s terms means a condition that leads to a significant loss in vision. (14) (15)
How to have Saunf for regulating blood pressure and protecting eye health?
- Have saunf tea every day on the empty stomach for regulating blood pressure.
- Chew dry roasted saunf seeds or mukhwas after meals for maintaining blood pressure.
10. How to take saunf for weight loss?
Saunf is claimed to produce a beneficial effect for the one wishing to lose weight. The boosting of metabolism by saunf is claimed to produce a beneficial effect in losing weight from the body.
How to have saunf for weight loss?
- Saunf – ajwain tea – Take 100 ml of water and keep it for boiling. Take half a teaspoon of saunf and half a teaspoon of ajwain in it. After 10 min switch off the flame and let it cool down. Sieve it and consume the warm saunf -ajwain water after every meal.
- You can make a small laddoo of saunf powder, ajwain powder, and jaggery. One laddoo per day can help in weight loss and keep sugar cravings at bay.
Nutritional Value of Saunf seeds
Saunf seeds are rich in anti-oxidants and potent plant compounds. Essential Oil from the saunf seeds includes 87 volatile compounds including the polyphenol antioxidants rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, quercetin, and apigenin. Over 28 plant compounds, including, anethole, fenchone, methyl chavicol, and limonene are present in mighty saunf seeds.
The health benefits of Saunf are associated with its rich anti-oxidant and nutrient profile.
Reference :U.S Department of agriculture https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/ndb/search/list
Side effects/Limitations of Saunf
There are some limitations and side effects associated with Saunf as well.
- If you are allergic to carrots, celery, etc please avoid saunf as they all belong to the same family and can trigger allergic reactions like asthma and stomach ache.
- Saunf also reacts with certain medications related to epilepsy and other nervous disorders. A constituent of fennel seeds is known to inhibit a drug-metabolizing enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A4. This reduces the effectiveness of medications that are metabolized by these enzymes. Hence, not consuming fennel seeds while under such medication is the best option.
- Few people develop contact dermatitis on consuming saunf. Saunf contains phototoxic compounds called psoralens. When the skin comes in contact with these compounds, and this is followed by exposure to sunlight, it results in the formation of blister-like patches and inflammation on your skin. This condition is called photophotodermatitis. Other symptoms of phytophotodermatitis include pain and redness, and, in some extreme cases, chills, fever, and headache.
- Some studies have found that fennel has an estrogenic effect, which means that it mimics the effects of estrogen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not drink fennel tea. People with cancers that are sensitive to estrogen should also avoid the use of fennel.
- If one has sensitive gums and improper dental structure, utmost care must be taken regarding oral hygiene. They must rinse the mouth thoroughly after chewing the saunf.
Please consult your physician and qualified nutritionist before including saunf in your diet if you have chronic health issues or using medications for a particular ailment or in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding mother.
How much Saunf is Safe to consume?
1 teaspoon (6 grams) per day of Saunf is considered to be safe to reap health benefits from it. Overconsumption of Saunf is associated with side effects Abdominal Pain, allergies, dental problems, etc.
Any ailment will not be cured overnight. Consume saunf for 4-6 weeks to see notable changes.
Always remember, there is no single superfood to fix all your health problems. One must eat a balanced diet, do regular physical exercise, Sleep well, Hydrate well and manage stress efficiently to have a healthy life and fix health issues.
How to buy and store Saunf?
Always consider these points –
- Fresh saunf looks bright green. Old saunf color will fade over time.
- Select plump, unwrinkled, and strong fragrant saunf seeds while buying good quality saunf seeds.
- Store the saunf seeds in a cool and dry place in a glass, steel & clay container.
- Do not keep the saunf seeds for more than 6 months.
- Saunf is easily available in Indian supermarkets, grocery stores, and e-commerce platforms.
Are Anise seeds and Saunf Seeds are Same?
No, Anise and Saunf seeds are different. Though both look similar and taste the same they are different seeds. They both are used interchangeably in cooking as the tastes are similar.
They both belong to the same Family: Apiaceae, but they are completely different plants. Different plants so their medicinal and nutritional values are different.
|Saunf plant is Perennial (Perennial plants regrow every spring)
|Anise plant is annual (Annual plants live for only one growing season, then die off)
|Saunf seeds come from the bulbing plant (Florence Fennel) that is eaten as vegetables.Seeds, bulbs, leaves are edible.
|Anise seeds come from a bush that is only grown for its seeds. No other part of the bush is edible.
|Saunf seeds are less pungent and their taste is less intense compared to Anise.
|Anise seeds are more pungent.
Saunf seeds or fennel seeds is a popular Indian Spice used in preparing many Indian Masalas to enhance the taste of the cuisine. It is widely used as a mouth fresher (Mukhwas) after meals. Apart from these, Saunf provides immense health benefits to us. Saunf seeds are rich in various nutrients and plant compounds which play a crucial role in carrying various body functions. Important Saunf health benefits are Relieving Indigestion, Reducing Abdominal Colic pain, Curing Haemorrhoids/Piles, Reducing excessive heat in the body, treating constipation, good for eye health, aiding in weight loss, and boosting immunity. Include the saunf seeds in the right way to get all the benefits from it. Consume Saunf in moderation for 4-6 weeks to see a notable change in the improvement of health issues.