Fennel: A Great Help For Digestion


Fennel is one of the few plants that have it all; it’s a vegetable, an herb and a spice. Calming, anti-flatulent and digestive soothing fennel seeds can be a boon to those trying to add fiber to their diets. If you are doing what many Doctors and diet books are telling us to do; you are trying to eat a more healthy diet of whole grains, beans and vegetables. But all that fiber can also produce more intestinal gas! Many studies have found that Fennel seed is unparalleled at relieving gas! These seeds work because they relax the lining of the intestine and douse the flames of inflammation which also are very common issues with Intestinal Bowel Disease (IBD) or Crohn’s disease.

Not everyone likes a licorice tasting bulb like fennel root; but definitely in almost every culture the seed is in demand! But the seeds are milder and can be mixed with many types of recipes. The familiar tang of licorice is the same volatile oil compound (anethole) that gives anise its flavor. Fennel seeds are teeming with potent phytochemicals that includes phytoestrogens, estrogen like compounds found in plants, which can be a women’s best friend. Menstrual cramps and pain affects more than 50% of menstruating women; 10% are so severe they can be incapacitated. Studies have shown that an extract of fennel relieved pain for over 70% of participants in the study!

In many countries fennel seeds are used to increase milk production for breastfeeding mothers. It is not recommended to consume fennel if pregnant due to possible uterine stimulation.

In another study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, doctors treated infants with colic with a product containing fennel seed. This product, called Gripe Water, eliminated colic symptoms in 65% of the babies tested and fennel can be used safely with not side effects.

Fennel Seed is also a powerful antioxidant and anti- inflammatory. In the Journal of Medicinal Food, researchers concluded that Fennel extract can be employed in treatment of cognitive disorders, such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Fennel extract proved to profoundly boost the activity of a brain chemical, Acetylcholine, which is the same action as Aricept, a drug used for Alzheimer’s treatment. Other studies show good results for prevention and to slow damage of glaucoma, heart disease, strokes and pain of arthritis.

Since the Middle Ages, Fennel, both the root and the seeds are foods widely used in Mediterranean cuisine, especially in Italy. Their national liqueur is Sambuca, and of course, Italian sausage a big favorite, is flavored with fennel seeds. The French use the root in salads and pasta. Germany uses fennel seed in breads, fish dishes, sauerkraut and the Spanish use seeds to flavor cakes and other sweets. When you toast the seeds it adds a vibrant flavor similar to brown sugar! In India fennel is a key ingredient in spice blends like curry powders and the seeds are always there at the door, to help with digestion, when you leave the Indian restaurant!

Here are some suggestions for adding Fennel to your diet:

–         Crush two teaspoons of dry fennel seeds and steep them for 10 minutes in boiled water, strain and drink as a Tea after a meal or any time you have digestive discomfort or gas

–         Sprinkle seeds on top of cakes or breads before baking

–         Add fennel seeds to scrambled eggs or fruit salads

–         Chew on fennel seeds after meals to help with digestion and gas

–         Slice up fresh roots to add to salads or add to sautéed vegetables


Healing Spices by Bharat Aggarwal

The Good Herb by Judith Bern Hurley

Cindy Burrows
Cynthia Burrows, M.T. CWC, Herbalist

Cynthia Burrows, from Austin, Texas, owns Cindy Burrows, Natural Health Consultant; assisting individuals with health issues they would like to change. She will set up a program giving choices of foods, herbs, teas and homeopathic suggestions. Cindy is past owner of Nature’s Healing Herbs, an Herbal, Green Tea, and Tincture product line, and a rare product line of Green Tea Foods. She has certificates for Herbalist at East West School of Herbology, and as Wellness Consultant with the Wellness Forum in Ohio.

Cindy is also a Medical Technologist, with a B.S. degree from Mansfield University in Mansfield Pa., she has been in healthcare for over 30 years. In 2005, she started using a new device founded in Europe, Quantum Biofeedback, “an energy rebalancing of the body”, by using our bodies electricity or frequency waves it can detect stress points in the body, she has added this to her consulting practice. She now has her Certification as a Biofeedback Specialist. She helps her clients by working with the synergy of herbs, food, homeopathy, and aromatherapy within her practice. She is a speaker, writer, and teacher. Cindy has been interviewed on TV; about the benefits of Green Tea and has been on radio about her small business tour to Ecuador.

Cindy has been an herbalist for over 20 years and has spent 6 years learning through the East West School of Herbology with Michael Tierra. She has studied Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic Herbs with a strong emphasis on nutrition. Along with many other continued studies of alternative and complementary medicine. She is a Certified Wellness Consultant, through a special program, The Wellness Forum, which has its nutrition program, now part of the curriculum at Ohio State University, providing educational seminars and workshops designed to impart relevant nutrition information to individuals to take control of their own health. These programs give healthier options and choices that can impact your longevity and quality of life. Cindy has been a speaker to many groups and has conducted many of her own classes on food and healthy life style programs.

Cindy has been involved with a hands-on healing program for the past 4 years and offers energy healing, through donation only, to anyone who needs her services.

She is Co-president of the Austin Herb Society and a member of the American Herbalist Guild. Cynthia has been a board member on many programs in the past including; La Sertoma, Arthritis Foundation, Toastmasters International, National Association of Female Executives, Handicapped Equestrian Learning Program, Entrepreneurs Association, and Austin Integrated Health Care Program.

Cindy also loves nature, animals, reading, blending teas, juices, etc.; likes to hike, and work with plants and, of course, cooking., mostly vegetarian.
Cindy has an adventurous streak.
She has organized and taken tours with business and artists groups to Big Bend, Texas, New Mexico, USA, and Ecuador, South America.