Consume fennel seeds for digestion, heart health

Fennel (saunf in Hindi, Sopy in Telugu, Mauri in Bangla, Variyali in Gujarati, Phennel in Kannada, Perunceerakam in Tamil and Perunjirakam in Malayalam) is something that every home has. It is normal practice in Indian homes to take a pinch of Fennel and chew to freshen the breath and to help the digestive process.

During summer, there is nothing like water boiled with fennel to cool down the body. Fennel sherbat is a popular cooling beverage in Gujarat. While in the south, fennel is added to water kept for boiling, in Gujarat it is used to make sherbat through a very simple process. But it is fennel powder that is used.

Two teaspoons of fennel can provide sherbat for a day. In a bowl, mix 2 teaspoons of fennel powder and rock sugar (misri/khand) according to taste. Add 2 glasses of water and mix it well. And your delicious and cool fennel drink is ready. One can also mix mint, elaichi or keep it just plain. 

Fennel seeds consist of flavonoids. They stimulate the flow of saliva and keep the mouth wet and free from odour. It is the aromatic flavour in Fennel that helps it to combat bad breath which often accompanies dryness in the mouth. One can also  munch these seeds many times a day.

In many cuisines, Fennel is used to lend a unique flavour and aroma to the dish. In many delicacies, it is used as a secret ingredient to add to its unique taste. Like many other spices, fennel seeds have been used for both culinary and medicinal purposes since time immemorial. It has the capability to detoxify the body and, therefore, should be an essential part of one's daily routine.

Fennel seeds are native to the Mediterranean region but are now grown in many other parts of the world. The seeds have a slightly sweet and licorice-like flavour, making them popular in Indian and Middle Eastern dishes as well as in European baked goods and liqueurs. 

Ayurveda expert Dr Dixa Bhavsar in her recent Instagram post talks about the benefits of fennel seeds and the best way to eat them.

Fennel strengthens and warms agni (the digestive fire) thanks to its cooling and sweet properties without provoking pitta. And as a tridoshic herb, fennel is also good for balancing vata and kapha, making it a great digestive choice. Fennel is also helpful for anyone experiencing post-digestive discomfort from excess vata by redirecting apana vayu downwards.

The Ayurveda expert says fennel seeds improve strength and immunity, useful in bleeding disorders due to excess heat, improves digestion, good for heart and is considered a cardiac tonic, and useful in relieving pain during menses.

Fennel has a specific effect on rasa dhatu, promoting the flow of breast milk in nursing mothers. The Fennel seeds also relieve krumi (worms), baddhavit (constipation), anila (Vata/bloating), daha (burning sensation), aruchi (Anorexia, lack of interest in food), chardi (vomiting) and kasa (cough, cold). The sattvic qualities of fennel seeds as per Ayurveda are said to refresh the mind and promote mental alertness, and also considered to be rejuvenating for the eyes. It also aids the respiratory system by decongesting the lungs.

Have 1 teaspoon of Fennel after meals aid digestion. Or make tea from saunf for weight-loss, diabetes, PCOS, thyroid, cholesterol and other gut issues. The other option is to go for pure enjoyment with Fennel sherbat.

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