Fennel Seeds for Periods: Friend or Foe?

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Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBSGeneral Physician, 6+ Years
Published On : 7-Nov-2022Read Time : 5 minutes
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Fennel seeds for periods

Going through your periods and gotta smile through the pain? Cramps, along with irregular periods and PMS, are some of the most common adverse effects experienced by women when on their period. Can a kitchen staple like fennel seeds help with all these issues? Let’s find out if fennel seeds for periods are an effective home remedy.


Contents:

  • Are you Facing Problems With Menstruation? 
  • Are Fennel Seeds a Science-Approved Remedy for Menstrual Problems? 
  • Want to Add More Fennel Seeds To Your Diet? Try This! 
  • How Much Fennel is Too Much? 
  • Do Fennel Seeds Have any Other Health Benefits? 
  • Don’t Have Time To Read? 
  • FAQs 


Are you Facing Problems With Menstruation?

Menstruation or periods is a normal discharge of blood, tissue and uterus lining that is expelled through the vagina, normally once every 28 days. This process can be associated with several disorders that can affect your normal menstrual cycle. 


These problems include painful cramps during menstruation (dysmenorrhoea), abnormally heavy bleeding (menorrhagia),  a period that lasts longer than seven days, irregular periods, not having any bleeding and the absence of periods in certain instances (amenorrhea).


There are many factors that can cause menstrual problems. They can be caused by hormonal imbalance, stress, usage of birth control pills, uterine fibroids, endometriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease or polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)


Coming to PCOS, it is a hormonal disorder in which your ovaries produce more than the normal amount of male hormones called androgens, which are usually present in a smaller amount in females. 


This excess amount of androgen can prevent the release of eggs (ovulation), which causes an irregular menstrual cycle, and heavy menstrual bleeding. Irregular ovulation can also cause numerous small, fluid-filled sacs to develop on the ovaries that can cause sharp pain.


These menstrual problems can be treated with medications and lifestyle changes such as a balanced diet and exercise. There is a lot of research that is ongoing in relation to food and menstrual health. One such food being studied is fennel, which has long been used in folk medicine to treat menstrual issues.  


In traditional medicine, fennel has been thought to regulate hormones, enhance brain function, and improve digestion and eyesight, but is there any concrete scientific proof for the same? Let’s dig deeper.


Are Fennel Seeds a Science-Approved Remedy for Menstrual Problems?

Nutritional Profile of Fennel Seeds

The nutritional value of 100 g of fennel seeds according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is as follows:

NutrientsAmount
Water8.81 g
Energy345 kcal
Protein15.8 g
Total lipid14.9 g
Carbohydrate52.3 g
Fibre39.8 g
Calcium1200 mg
Iron18.5 mg
Magnesium385 mg
Phosphorus487 mg
Potassium1690 mg
Sodium88 mg
Vitamin A0.007 mg
Vitamin C (Ascorbic acid)21 mg
Vitamin B₃ (Niacin)6.05 mg
Vitamin B₁ (Thiamin)0.408 mg
Vitamin B₂ (Riboflavin)0.353 mg
Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine)0.47 mg


Fennel Seeds: Benefits for Periods and PCOS

There are studies that point to the anti-inflammatory and appetite-suppressing properties of fennel seeds, which may help relieve symptoms of PCOS. However, more research is needed to solidify these claims.


Anti-inflammatory Nature: PCOS causes a chronic state of low-grade inflammation in your body, which can lead to insulin resistance and high levels of blood sugar. This contributes to an increased risk for Type 2 Diabetes in women with PCOS. 


The antioxidants in fennel, such as vitamin C and quercetin can help reduce inflammation, thus lowering insulin resistance and your chances of developing diabetes.


Weight Loss Aid: Fennel contains anethole, which may help suppress your appetite. This can prevent you from overeating and thus limit your calorie intake. This can contribute to weight loss, which improves insulin sensitivity and helps reduce the symptoms of PCOS. 


Studies suggest that losing around 10% of your weight can help you bring your periods back to normal. This is how fennel seeds may contribute to regulating your periods.


Herbs and spices such as fennel seeds may be used as an adjunct along with PCOS treatment but should not be considered a remedy.


Several studies also suggest that fennel seeds can be used to ease pain caused due to menstrual cramps. However, the effectiveness of fennel seeds in regulating hormones, menstrual cycles, or PCOS is still under investigation and needs more research. 


Want to Add More Fennel Seeds To Your Diet? Try This!

If you are wondering how to use fennel seeds for irregular periods or menstrual cramps, you can prepare a warm cup of fennel seed water or aromatic tea. Simply boil 2 teaspoons (4 g) of fennel seeds in water for about 5 to 7 minutes, let cool, strain and drink.


How Much Fennel is Too Much?

It is recommended that you limit your consumption of fennel seeds to about 6 g (1 tablespoon) a day. Overconsumption may lead to the following problems:


  • Fennel seeds contain a high amount of fibre, overconsumption can pose health issues such as bloating, diarrhoea, stomach upset, etc.
  • Although fennel seeds are safe, consuming more than a limited amount can interact with prescribed medications and cause undesired effects.
  • Avoid consuming too much fennel seeds or fennel products if you are pregnant, as high doses may interfere with the development of your unborn child.


Do Fennel Seeds Have Any Other Health Benefits?

Here are a few health benefits of fennel seeds:

  • Fennel seeds are abundant in antioxidants such as vitamin C, quercetin, rosmarinic acid, chlorogenic acid, and apigenin. These antioxidants have anti-inflammatory effects, which can lower your risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, nerve disorder, and Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Fennel contains fibre, potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which can play an important role in improving heart health and lowering your blood pressure.
  • Fennel contains a substance called anethole, which can increase blood levels of prolactin, a hormone that enables the body to produce breast milk.
  • Fennel is an antibacterial that can help fight off infections and improve your immunity.


Don’t Have Time To Read?

  • There are various medications that can help relieve menstrual problems like cramps or irregular periods along with lifestyle changes. Herbal supplements like fennel seeds are under investigation for the same.
  • Few studies suggest fennel seeds have anti-inflammatory and appetite-suppressing properties, which can aid in weight loss and may help manage certain symptoms of PCOS.  However, their effectiveness in regulating hormones, menstrual cycles, or PCOS is still under investigation and needs more research. 
  • Fennel seeds can be had in the form of tea or as is. Limit your daily consumption to 2 teaspoons, as overconsumption of which can cause diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting and stomach upset.
  • Fennel seeds can help improve your immunity and reduce your risk of heart disease, obesity, cancer, nerve disorder, and Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Start your PCOS management journey with Phable. Use the Phable Care App to consult India’s leading gynaecologists, endocrinologists, nutritionists, and dieticians; order medicines; book lab tests; and get real-time remote care from the comfort of your home. Check out our store to order healthy treats, weighing scales, fitness bands, and more! We also have a PCOS Management program that provides ‎360º care. 

Frequently Asked Questions

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