Fennel Seeds

Of the many traditional spices used in Indian cuisine, fennel seeds also hold an important place. The thin, curved  seeds from brown to light green color   ripe fruits  of a herbaceous plant.The seeds are 4-8mm long. It belongs to carrot or parsley family.The spice is considered native to Mediterranean region. The largest producers of fennel are United States, France, India and Russia.Fennel seeds are harvested in late summer when the seeds turn brown from green. The seeds are carefully clipped from the stalk. Before storing they are sun dried.

Greek mythology associates fennel with Dionysus – the God of feasts and wine. Fennel is associated with the origin of marathon.It was one of the main 3 herbs used to prepare absinthe – an alcoholic mixture. The  main essential oil of which imparts a discreet aroma to fennel is anethole . The oil is fresh, warm and slightly camphorous. It is used to flavor beverages, food and confectionery and seasoning of processed meat.

FDA has categorized fennel as GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) at 50-6500ppm and the essential oil is GRAS at 0.3 to 224 ppm.

Buying Tips:

  1. Prefer the seeds with light green color than the brown.
  2. Look for any signs of  rotting.
  3. Prefer whole seeds than the powder as the essential oils evaporate quickly.
  4. Chew a few seeds. If there is a bitter after taste it denotes rancidity.

Storage: Like all other aromatic spices containing essential oils fennel should also be carefully stored.

  1. Store in a air tight container.
  2. Keep it in a cool dry place.
  3. Powdered form may be stored in refrigerator to enhance the shelf life.

Culinary uses:Fennel finds extensive use in Indian as well as other cuisines of the world.

In India, the seeds are used in powdered form to make spice mixtures for stuffed vegetables such as okra, bitter gourd, eggplant.  They are also used to prepare various marinades. The spice is used as a seasoning for various pickles and meat preparations .

French, Italian and English  cuisines also find a use of fennel seeds specially in fish preparations such as soups. It is one ingredient of the ‘Chinese Five Spices’. It is also used for flavoring breads, confectionery.

Medicinal Usage:

  1. Fennel is believed to improve eyesight.
  2. It acts as a diuretic.
  3. In India, fennel seeds are chewed after eating meals to facilitate digestion.
  4. It helps in production of bile which in turn helps in digestion of fats.
  5. It is believed to have anti- microbial and analgesic effects.
  6. It helps in reducing fever.
  7. It promotes normal functioning of liver and spleen.
  8. It has anti- inflammatory effect.
  9. It helps in treating jaundice and gout.
  10. It is anti-spasmodic.

Home Remedies:

  1. Soak 2 tsp of fennel seeds overnight. Boil it to half quantity, in the morning. Strain the solution. Let it cool down to luke warm. Drink it empty stomach regularly. It helps in controlling edema .
  2. Chew roasted fennel seeds after meals to enhance digestion.
  3. Boil 2tsp of powdered fennel seeds with 1/2 cup of water. Strain and allow to cool. Washing eyes with this solution is said to cure eye infections.

Dietary Facts

Fennel seeds contain various anti-oxidants such as kampferol and quercetin which play protective role against various degenerative diseases. They are a rich source of dietary fiber. They are a good source of various vitamins and minerals such as copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, E and C and B group vitamins. Experts believe it to have  a good impact on weight loss. It is good for heart patients.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 5g
Calories from Fat 7
Total Fat 1%
Total Carbohydrate 1%
Dietary Fiber 9%
Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 7%
Iron 6%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.




  1. Ladson Hancock says:

    I need to find out who is exporting fennel seeds or byproducts into the USA.

  2. serila samson says:

    Where can I buy fennel seed in US?

  3. Priya Chetan says:

    It is believed Fennel helps a nursing mother make more breast milk.

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