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Fennel seeds(Saunf)

Fennel seeds are defined as the dried yellowish brown schizocarpic fruits that are obtained from the plant of fennel, a perennial herb in the genus 'Foeniculum'. These seeds are about 10 cm long and about 4 mm wide. They have a sweet and aromatic flavour and emit a pleasant odour. In India, fennel seeds are available in yellow and green colour. While the green coloured fennel seeds (saunf) are chewed as a mouth freshener, the yellow variety is used for cooking purposes. Fennel seeds are a rich source of minerals like potassium, manganese, magnesium, etc. There are two main constituents of fennel seeds, namely, Anethol and Fenchone. Anethol helps in controlling muscle spasms in the intestinal tract and Fenchone comprises of many medicinal properties.

Uses of Fennel Seeds:

In culinary terms, fennel seeds are a very crucial ingredient in many seasoning blends of Italy, China, Scandinavia, etc. They are a commonly used ingredient in the Italian sausages and also in rye balls and meat breads. In India, they have acquired a special significance as they are used in many Indian cuisines like the Bengali or the Oriya mixture 'panch phoron'. Roasted fennel seeds are consumed after a heavy meal as they help in the proper digestion of the food.

Benefits of Fennel Seeds:

Fennel seeds come with a vast set of health benefits, and their medicinal properties were acclaimed far and wide before they came to be used as herbs. One of the major benefits of fennel seeds is that they help in strengthening the eyes. In fact, according to the Roman naturalists, the snakes, after casting off their skins, ate fennel to restore their eye sight. Fennel seeds are also rich in Vitamin C, a vital source that helps in strengthening the immune system. They also help overcome indigestion and digestive disorders like gas, acidity, cramps, etc. The presence of Anethol in the fennel seeds helps to fight against cancer and indigestion.

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