7 Health Benefits of Fennel Supported by Studies and Risk

Fennel, scientifically known as Foeniculum vulgare, is a perennial herb belonging in the carrot, parsley, and celery family. It is now widely cultivated in many parts of the world, but it is native to the Mediterranean [R].

Health Benefits:

1. May Help with Abdominal Pain

One study involving 121 individuals with IBS or irritable bowel syndrome showed that a combination of treatment of curcumin and fennel oils alleviated abdominal pain and increased the overall quality of the individuals’ lives [R].

2. Relieves Menstrual Pain

In a study with 40 adult women, fennel capsules were found to reduce menstruation cycle length and menstruation-induced nausea compared to the placebo group. The personal well-being of these women also improved significantly [R].

A blend of vitamin E and fennel extract was found to result in better alleviation of menstrual pain than ibuprofen in 68 female students [R].

Additionally, 30 women who experience dysmenorrhea noted alleviation in their menstrual pain after 30 to 120 minutes of fennel intake [R].

3. Beneficial in Menopause

In a triple-blind, placebo-controlled study with 90 menopausal women, fennel significantly improved symptoms without causing any serious adverse reactions [R].

4. May Help Avoid Unwanted Hair Growth in Women

In a double-blind trial with 40 women and a study with 38 women, the topical application of fennel gels and creams resulted in reduced hair thickness and growth [R] [R].

5. May Promote Breast Milk Production

A study involving 46 women also noted that fennel capsules can increase prolactin levels in the blood [R].

6. May Alleviate Anxiety and Depression

Fennel resulted in marginal significant improvement for anxiety and depression in 60 post-menopausal women during a double-blind random-controlled trial [R].

7. May Help Reduce Appetite

Fennel tea helped 9 healthy overweight women reduce the feeling of hunger and feel fuller for longer [R].

Safety

Clinical trials found fennel to be generally safe with only a few minor side effects. In infant studies, it was also found safe for a short period of use [R].

Side Effect and Risk

However, there are a few cases of fennel causing premature thelarche, which is early breast development occurring in females younger than 8 years old [R] [R].

Fennel also has estragole, a cancer-causing compound that is also found in other herbs and essential oils [R]. Research shows, however, that the effects of this cancer-causing compound are deactivated by various other substances in these plants [R].

Precaution

We strongly advise you to have regular check-ups with your doctor and lab tests (blood, kidney, and liver) at least once every six months if you decide to take any herbal medicine or supplements for long-term.

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