Fennel Seed

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an herb native to the Mediterranean region and is also cultivated in China. The seed of the plant has a pleasant, aromatic scent and sweet flavor that makes it a popular flavoring in foods and herbal blends. Fennel seeds contain active compounds such as estragole and flavonoids; it also contains calcium and potassium.1

Health Benefits

Traditionally, fennel seed has been valued for its use in herbal formulas for digestive complaints and to help ensure regularity.1 Fennel seed may be useful in preventing constipation when used in conjunction with other herbs.2 Fennel seed may also decrease cramps and abdominal pains during menstruation (primary dysmenorrhea) in girls.3 Infants fed Fennel seed oil emulsion showed the reduction in the symptoms of infantile colic, which may have been possibly due to reduced abdominal pain.4


Fennel seed puree ingestion may cause food intoxication in infants.5


  1. Fennel seed. American Botanical Council. Accessed in July 2015. http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Fennelseed.html
  2. Picon PD, Picon RV, Costa AF, Sander GB, Amaral KM, Aboy AL, Henriques AT. Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 30;10:17. PubMed PMID: 20433751
  3. Modaress Nejad V, Asadipour M. Comparison of the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea. East Mediterr Health J. 2006 May-Jul;12(3-4):423-7. PubMed PMID: 17037712.
  4. Alexandrovich I, Rakovitskaya O, Kolmo E, Sidorova T, Shushunov S. The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):58-61. PubMed PMID: 12868253.
  5. Murone AJ, Stucki P, Roback MG, Gehri M. Severe methemoglobinemia due to food intoxication in infants. Pediatr Emerg Care. 2005 Aug;21(8):536-8. PubMed PMID: 16096602.