Food Guts - Ingredient Information

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Fennel Seed

Nutritional Information

1 tbsp, fennel seed

  • Calories 20
  • Calories from Fat 7.74
  • Amount%DV
  • Total Fat 0.86g1%
  • Saturated Fat 0.028g0%
  • Monounsaturated Fat 0.575g
  • Polyunsaturated Fat 0.098g
  • Cholestreol 0mg0%
  • Sodium 5mg0%
  • Potassium 98mg3%
  • Total Carbohydrate 3.03g1%
  • Dietary Fiber 2.3g9%
  • Sugars 0g
  • Protein 0.92g2%
  • Calcium 7mg1%
  • Iron 6mg33%
  • Vitamin A 0%
  • Vitamin C 2%

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Fennel Seed on Wikipedia:

For Giant Fennel (Ferula communis), see Ferula. For the surname, see Fennell. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding reliable references. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (November 2008) Fennel Fennel in flower Scientific classification Kingdom: Plantae (unranked): Angiosperms (unranked): Eudicots (unranked): Asterids Order: Apiales Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) Genus: Foeniculum Species: F. vulgare Binomial name Foeniculum vulgare Mill.

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), is a plant species in the genus Foeniculum (treated as the sole species in the genus by most botanists). It is a member of the family Apiaceae (formerly the Umbelliferae). It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is generally considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, but has become widely naturalised elsewhere (particularly, it seems, areas colonized by the Romans[1]) and may now be found growing wild in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on river-banks.

It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses, and is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.

Fennel is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the Mouse Moth and the Anise Swallowtail.


Etymology and history

The word fennel developed from the Middle English fenel or fenyl. This came from the Old English fenol or finol, which in turn came from the Latin feniculum or foeniculum, the diminutive of fenum or faenum, meaning ``hay``. The Latin word for the plant was ferula, which is now used as the genus name of a related plant. As Old English finule it is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.

In Ancient Greek, fennel was called marathon (μάραθον), and is attested in Linear B tablets as ma-ra-tu-wo. John Chadwick notes that this word is the origin of the place name Marathon (meaning ``place of fennel``), site of the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC; however, Chadwick wryly notes that he has ``not seen any fennel growing there now``.[2] In Greek mythology, Prometheus used the stalk of a fennel plant to steal fire from the gods. Also, it was from the giant fennel, Ferula communis, that the Bacchanalian wands of the god Dionysus and his followers were said to have come.[3]


Fennel flowerheads

Fennel is a perennial herb. It is erect, glaucous green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 m, with hollow stems. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long; they are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments filiform (threadlike), about 0.5 mm wide. (Its leaves are similar to those of dill, but thinner.) The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels 5–15 cm wide, each umbel section having 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short pedicels. The fruit is a dry seed from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved.[4]

Cultivation and uses

Fennel, bulb, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz) Energy 130 kJ (31 kcal) Carbohydrates 7.29 g Dietary fiber 3.1 g Fat 0.20 g Protein 1.24 g Thiamine (Vit. B1) 0.01 mg (1%) Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.032 mg (2%) Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.64 mg (4%) Pantothenic acid (B5) 0.232 mg (5%) Vitamin B6 0.047 mg (4%) Folate (Vit. B9) 27 μg (7%) Vitamin C 12 mg (20%) Calcium 49 mg (5%) Iron 0.73 mg (6%) Magnesium 17 mg (5%) Phosphorus 50 mg (7%) Potassium 414 mg (9%) Zinc 0.20 mg (2%) Manganese 0.191 mg Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults. Source: USDA Nutrient database

Fennel is widely cultivated, both in its native range and elsewhere, for its edible, strongly-flavoured leaves and fruits, which are often mistermed ``seeds``.[5] Its aniseed flavour comes from anethole, an aromatic compound also found in anise and star anise, and its taste and aroma are similar to theirs, though usually not as strong.[5]

The Florence fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Azoricum Group; syn. F. vulgare var. azoricum) is a cultivar group with inflated leaf bases which form a bulb-like structure. It is of cultivated origin,[6] and has a mild anise-like flavour, but is more aromatic and sweeter. Florence fennel plants are smaller than the wild type.[citation needed] Their inflated leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable, both raw and cooked. There are several cultivars of Florence fennel, which is also known by several other names, notably the Italian name finocchio. In North American supermarkets, it is often mislabelled as ``anise``.[citation needed]

Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum', ``bronze-leaved`` fennel, is widely available in the UK where it is grown as a decorative garden plant.[7]

Fennel has become naturalised along roadsides, in pastures, and in other open sites in many regions, including northern Europe, the United States, southern Canada and in much of Asia and Australia. It propagates well by seed, and is considered an invasive species and a weed in Australia and the United States[8] (see Santa Cruz Island).

Florence fennel bulbs

Florence fennel was one of the three main herbs used in the preparation of absinthe, an alcoholic mixture which originated as a medicinal elixir in Switzerland and became, by the late 19th century, a popular alcoholic drink in France and other countries. Fennel itself is known to be a stimulant,[9] although many modern preparations marketed under the name ``absinthe`` do not make use of it.[citation needed]

Culinary uses

Fennel, from Koehler's Medicinal-plants (1887)

The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the fennel plant are widely used in many of the culinary traditions of the world. Fennel pollen is the most potent form of fennel, but also the most expensive.[10] Dried fennel seed is an aromatic, anise-flavoured spice, brown or green in colour when fresh, slowly turning a dull grey as the seed ages. For cooking, green seeds are optimal.[5] The leaves are delicately flavored and similar in shape to those of dill. The bulb is a crisp, hardy root vegetable and may be sauteed, stewed, braised, grilled, or eaten raw.

Fennel seeds are sometimes confused with those of anise, which are very similar in taste and appearance, though smaller. Fennel is also used as a flavouring in some natural toothpaste.

Fennel features prominently in Mediterranean cuisine, where bulbs and fronds are used, both raw and cooked, in side dishes, salads, pastas, vegetable dishes such as artichoke dishes in Greece, and risottos. Fennel seed is a common ingredient in Italian sausages and meatballs and northern European rye breads.

Many cultures in the Indian subcontinent and the Middle East use fennel seed in their cookery. It is an essential ingredient of the Assamese]/[Bengali cuisine|Bengali]/[Oriya cuisine|Oriya spice mixture panch phoron and in Chinese five-spice powders. It is known as saunf or mauti saunf in Hindi and Urdu ( Devanagari सौंफ ), sompu in Telugu, badesoppu in Kannada, mouri in Bengali, shombu or peruncheeragam (பெருஞ்சீரகம்) in Tamil and Malayalam language, variyali in Gujarati, badeeshop or badeeshep(Devanagiri बडीशेप) in Marathi and barishap in the Malay language, Razianeh or رازیانه in PersianJintan Manis in Malay. In many parts of Pakistan and India roasted fennel seeds are consumed as an after-meal digestive and breath freshener. Farming communities also chew on fresh sprigs of green fennel seeds. Fennel leaves are used as leafy green vegetables either by themselves or mixed with other vegetables, cooked to be served and consumed as part of a meal, in some parts of India.

Many egg, fish, and other dishes employ fresh or dried fennel leaves. Florence fennel is a key ingredient in some Italian and German salads, often tossed with chicory and avocado, or it can be braised and served as a warm side dish. It may be blanched or marinated, or cooked in risotto; it also makes a fantastic cheese sauce with feta.

Medicinal uses

Fennel seeds

Fennel contains anethole, which can explain some of its medical effects: it, or its polymers, act as phytoestrogens.[11]

Intestinal tract

On account of its carminative properties, fennel is chiefly used medicinally with purgatives to allay their side effects, and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known compound liquorice powder.

Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'gripe water', used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. Long term ingestion of fennel preparations by babies is a known cause of thelarche.[12] For adults, fennel seeds or tea can relax the intestines and reduce bloating caused by digestive disorders. Essential oil of fennel has these properties in concentration.

Fennel tea, also employed as a carminative, is made by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised fennel seeds.


In the Indian subcontinent, fennel seeds are also eaten raw, sometimes with some sweetener, as it is said to improve eyesight.[citation needed] Ancient Romans regarded fennel as the herb of sight. Root extracts were often used in tonics to clear cloudy eyes. Extracts of fennel seed have been shown in animal studies to have a potential use in the treatment of glaucoma.[13]

Blood and urine

Some people use fennel as a diuretic,[citation needed] and it may be an effective diuretic and a potential drug for treatment of hypertension.[14][15]


There are historical anecdotes that fennel is a galactogogue,[16] improving the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother. This use, although not supported by direct evidence, is sometimes justified by the fact that fennel is a source of phytoestrogens, which promote growth of breast tissue.[17] However, normal lactation does not involve growth of breast tissue. There is a single case report of fennel tea ingested by a breastfeeding mother resulting in neurotoxicity for the newborn child.[18]

Other uses

Syrup prepared from fennel juice was formerly given for chronic coughs. Fennel is also largely used for cattle condiments[citation needed]. It is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables.[19] Plain water drunk after chewing and consuming fennel seeds tastes extremely sweet[citation needed].


Syrian Arab Republic is the leader in production of anise, badian (star anise), fennel and coriander, followed by India.

Top ten anise, badian, fennel & coriander producers — 11 June 2008 Country Production (Tonnes) Footnote  Syria 115000 F  India 110000 F  Mexico 52000 F