I’ve always considered the fennel vegetable to look a bit like a picture of the heart with the green stems similar to the heart’s cavas and aorta, which is quite cool, considering the many health benefits fennel actually possesses.
Originating from the Mediterranean, this nutritionally rich, ‘heart shaped’ plant has been used for centuries for its medicinal purposes ranging from reducing high blood pressure to aiding in weight loss.
When implemented into your hair and skin care regime, fennel has a host of beauty uses as well.
High in fibre (one bulb contains over 25% of the RDA), vitamin C (almost 50% RDA), potassium (over 27% RDA), vitamin A, B6 and K, iron, as well as antioxidants and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, copper, zinc and iron. The high levels of antioxidants not only neutralize free radicals in the body but contain anti-ageing properties.
Apart from eating the tasty celery-like, almost licorice tasting vegetable, you can also gain the full benefits of fennel via fennel seeds and fennel tea.
Here, I’ll be giving you a run down of the many health and beauty benefits of the amazing fennel, once again confirming that nature has provided us with all that is needed to improve our wonderful lives!
Lowers Blood Pressure
High in potassium, fennel is excellent at lowering high blood pressure as the potassium fights against sodium, thus reducing blood pressure and inflammation.
The high fibre content found in fennel also helps to control cholesterol levels – thus decreasing the risk of heart disease – and the extremely high levels of iron increases hemoglobin production in the body, making it a natural remedy to combat anemia.
Assists in Weight Loss
Being extremely high in fibre, consuming fennel is a simple yet effective way to lose weight as it provides bulk, thereby creating the feeling of fullness fairly quickly. This increase in satiety brought on by the high fibre content in fennel leads to the desire to eat less which in turn, causes obvious weight loss.
Fennel is also known to suppress the appetite which leads to further weight loss.
Fennel can also aid in digestion, boost the metabolism and break down fats and, being a natural diuretic, not only helps to reduce water retention but through increased urination, helps to remove toxins from the body.
Fennel is also known to be a laxative, further assisting in the elimination of toxins.
All of these benefits combine to make fennel an excellent weight loss aid.
Assists in Bone Health
The high levels of calcium (10% RDA), Vitamin K, magnesium, phosphorous and zinc in fennel contribute to the building and maintaining of healthy and strong bones. As a result, fennel is great for those suffering from osteoporosis.
Increases Brain Function
Fennel is known as a natural brain booster in that it contains high levels of potassium, which are electrolytes and thus, cause increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This leads to higher cognitive abilities and increased brain function.
Furthermore, being a vasodilator, fennel increases the oxygen supply to the brain for optimal brain activity.
Fennel is also known to eliminate depression and stave off dementia.
Relieves Menstrual Problems
Fennel has emmenagogue properties, which assists in regulating the menstrual cycle. Fennel is also used to relieve pain associated with menstruation, as well as PMT due to containing phytoestrogens.
Promotes Eye Health
Rich in flavonoids and antioxidants, fennel can protect the eyes against the destruction of pigment cells and promote blood vessel dilation, as well as reduce eye pressure.
Furthermore, due to its high levels of anti-ageing antioxidants, fennel is known to reduce eye disorders related to ageing.
Improves the Skin
As well as being an effective antiseptic, fennel is also considered to be anti-ageing, due to its high level of antioxidants, including vitamin C. This means that fennel is great for ridding acne and even better at reducing the appearance of wrinkles, thus keeping one younger looking for longer!
The presence of collagen is needed for the restoration of skin cells. Collagen relies on vitamin C for its formation and thus, fennel – being a great source of vitamin C – reduces the impact of free radicles and makes for softer, wrinkle free, younger looking skin!
Along with eating the vegetable, seeds and drinking the tea, another way of gaining the beauty benefits from fennel is to make an effective skin toner.
Place two tablespoons of fennel seeds into a sterile glass of hot (not boiling) water and allow to steep for at least twenty minutes. Once cooled this fennel water makes for a wonderful cleansing toner. Alternatively, you can add some of this fennel water to whey or Greek yoghurt to make a purifying face mask.
As part of your weekly facial regime, you can also add a small handful of fennel seeds to boiling water in a bowl and covering your head with a towel, steam your face to cleanse the pores and further rejuvenate the skin.
Containing anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, when applied to the hair, fennel is great at combatting dandruff.
Fennel is also known to assist with sealing in moisture and strengthening the hair follicles, thereby promoting hair growth.
Fennel water is excellent as a leave-in hair conditioner to be used after shampooing and conditioning that leaves the hair strengthened and glowing.
Alternatively, a cleansing fennel rinse can be made by combining the following:
- fennel water, made with crushed fennel seeds
- 1/4 cup of ACV
- 1 tablespoon of vegetable glycerin
Mix the ingredients together, before straining through a cheesecloth. Apply after shampoo and conditioner.
For an effective moisturizing oil massage combine equal parts of:
- sweet fennel seed oil
- coconut oil
- almond oil (optional)
Massage into the scalp and comb through the hair to condition the hair. If too greasy for your hair type, leave for as long as possible before shampooing out, to leave hair feeling softer and full of shine.