Imagine, you went to a restaurant and ordered soup and salad and mentioned to a waiter that this would be your treatment for a cold and indigestion. I’m pretty sure that the waiter will take it as a weird joke and continue with the order. Despite the fact that many scientists already proved that our diet can help recover from multiple diseases or even eliminate them completely, many people still believe that using allopathic medicine is the only way to treat the problem. Older cultures however believed that food and medicine should come from the same source. The famous quote by Hippocrates “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food” just supports this belief. We can list quite a few plants that could be used in various dishes and serve as food and medicine simultaneously, but today I would love to talk about fennel.
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Being both delicious food and very potent natural medicine it could feed and heal many. Fennel has been so important for many cultures that it was mentioned even in myths. For instance, Prometheus(a Titan in Greek mythology who introduced people to fire) used fennel to carry fire in it to people and hide it from the gods of Olympus. For the Anglo-Saxons fennel was one of the nine herbs known for secret powers. They believed that if a bunch of fennel was hung over the cottage door on a Midsummer’s Eve, it would prevent the effects of witchcraft. For many cultures however it was and still is one of the most important plants to be used in medicine and in the kitchen. Rich source of vitamin C, fiber, folate and important phytonutrients(nutrients found in plants that protect them from harmful environments) like rutin and quercetin, fennel can be used as a powerful antioxidant and protect the body from the harmful free radicals. Flatulence, indigestion, cough, insomnia or extra weight are just a few problems fennel could help with. Chewing fennel seeds after a big meal will help digest food better, relieve gas, reduce heartburn and eliminate bad breath.
A cup of tea with fennel seeds will increase production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers, cure colic in babies, ease and regulate menstruation and reduce the effects of PMS. Fennel is often used as a gentle pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women. The leaves and seeds of fennel promote removal of phlegm or mucus from the bronchial tubes and are beneficial in the treatment of respiratory disorders like asthma or bronchitis. Fennel roots and leaves are a great antidote for food poisoning. Washing eyes with fennel tea helps with eye problems like weakened, sore or inflamed eyes. Fennel is diuretic, so it can promote urination and help remove toxins and reduce swelling. And if all of the wonderful properties of this plant were not convincing enough, fennel can also be used as a beauty aid. A strong brew of fennel can be used as a tonic to tone the skin, and a mask of fennel powder, yogurt and honey can help rejuvenate it. Whichever way you choose to use fennel, you won’t regret it.
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