Fennel Seeds (Sauf): How to Grow, Health Benefits, Weight Loss

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Fennel Seeds (Sauf): How to Grow, Health Benefits, Weight Loss

From Kashmiri dum aloo to mouth fresheners - its essence is strongly felt and loved by many!

The beloved fennel is a well-known herb that has long been a staple in Indian households.

It is mainly used as a flavoring agent in various dishes. Drinking fennel tea to treat indigestion is one of the typical nanny-granny cures that is widely accepted nationwide.

Fennel doesn't stop impressing us here!

It contains a wealth of essential nutrients that could reduce stress, treat menstruation pain, and prevent cell damage.

We all like these crunchy seeds after meals. Wouldn't it be wonderful if we could cultivate it ourselves?

This blog will take you through growing and caring for fennel plants. We will discuss the following: -

  • Interesting facts about fennel
  • Major health benefits of fennel
  • How to grow fennel at home easily
  • How to take care of fennel

So, let's get started.

Interesting facts about fennel

  1. It may surprise you to learn that fennel belongs to the family of carrot
  2. Fennel plants have feathery leaves and yellow flowers
  3. Fennel is native to the Mediterranean coasts but has spread throughout much of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea and riverbanks.
  4. India currently produces the most fennel seeds in the world
  5. Not only seeds but even the bulbs, leaves, and shoots of the fennel plant are also edible
  6. If someone has suggested that you can lose weight with fennel seeds, the theory probably dates back to the 17th century. Herbalist and astrologer Nicholas Culpeper recommended that fennel may have properties that help people shed some extra pounds.
  7. Did you know that fennel was regarded as a magical herb in the Middle Ages? On Midsummer Eve in the Middle Ages, it was spread on entrances to ward off evil spirits. The tiny seeds were inserted into keyholes as an extra precaution to prevent evil spirits from entering the room.

Major health benefits of fennel

Fennel seeds are obtained from fennel plants and resemble anise seeds in appearance. They are a good source of vitamin C and contain various minerals, including vitamin K, vitamin E, manganese, copper, zinc, and phosphorus. Fennel seeds, also known as saunf are crispy and sweet, which is why they are a famous mouth freshener.

But that is not all! Fennel seeds are highly nutritious. The nutritional value and health benefits are mentioned below: -








5% of RDI






6% of RDI


17% of RDI


5% of RDI


2% of RDI

Regulates blood pressure

Potassium is a mineral found abundantly in fennel seeds and helps control blood volume. It aids in maintaining blood pressure. According to the study that was published in the Journal of Food Science, fennel seeds raise the level of nitrite in saliva. It is a naturally occurring substance called nitrite that regulates blood pressure.

May benefit heart health

Since fennel seeds are rich in fiber, they have been found to lower some heart disease risk factors, including high cholesterol. The amount of fiber in a cup (87gms) of raw fennel bulb is 3gms or 11% of the daily recommended value (DRV). Studies have shown that high-fiber diets have been associated with a lower risk of heart disease. A daily increase in fiber intake of 7gms reduced the risk of heart disease by 9%. Magnesium, potassium, and calcium are minerals found in fennel and its seeds that are essential for maintaining heart function.

Eliminates bad breath

Fennel has a unique, fragrant essential oil that is believed to have antimicrobial capabilities that can aid in freshening breath. Saliva production is boosted by sweet fennel seeds, which aid in destroying dangerous microorganisms. It is an easy and practical home cure for bad breath. Five to ten fennel seeds could help you breathe easier.

Purifies blood

Fennel seeds contain essential oils and important fiber that are thought to be very helpful in draining out toxins and waste from our systems, which helps to purify the blood. Also, fennel helps our bodies absorb more nutrients. According to studies, fennel seeds' polyphenol antioxidants also have anti-inflammatory qualities that help fight different bacteria and viruses and protect you from illnesses.

Treats digestion-related issues

Research has shown that fennel seeds can be an effective treatment for indigestion, bloating, and constipation. It does so because of the presence of the essential oils anethole, fenchone, and estragole in fennel. The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties of fennel greatly aid in food digestion and maintain a healthy digestive tract. The fennel seed extracts would be beneficial for IBS sufferers. 

May cure asthma

The high concentration of phytonutrients in fennel seeds may aid in sinus-clearing. These tiny seeds provide bronchial relaxation, lessening asthma, bronchitis, and congestion symptoms.

A good friend to your skin

Wonder how fennel extracts is a good friend to the skin? Fennel prevents cell damage and extends the life of skin cells. There are presence of zinc, selenium, and potassium in fennel. These minerals help retain oxygen balance in our bloodstream. That’s how, fennel can treat critical skin conditions, such as dryness, rashes, and acne.

Aids in weight loss

According to research, drinking fennel tea can help you manage your hunger. One cup of fennel tea contains essential oils that aid in controlling appetite. Dietitians frequently recommend fennel tea as a pre-meal calorie suppressant to aid weight loss. They increase metabolism and act as diuretics. Fennel seeds help you lose weight quickly with a healthy diet and exercise.

How to grow fennel at home easily

Decide a variety

The kind of fennel you choose to grow will depend on whether you intend to use the seeds, fronds, or bulbs of the fennel plant.

Florence fennel – It has bulbous stems and can be consumed raw, grilled, or baked. The thicker stalks that emerge from the bulb may also be consumed since they resemble celery.

Herb fennel – It doesn’t have prominent bulbs. This variety has delicate leaves that are used as herbs. The seeds this variety produces are best for seasoning.

If you don’t want to go through any confusion, ask the nursery to provide you with seeds for the best variety of fennel that can be eaten for its flavor.

Soil and pot preparation

The best thing about fennel is that you can grow it in any soil. Ensure the soil is rich in organic materials and the pH is 6.5 to 8.0. You can use a well-draining potting mix to grow fennel plants. While selecting a pot for fennel plants, remember that it takes up space. A 12-inch-deep pot with proper drainage holes would be excellent. Fill it up with soil and also mix in some gravel for better drainage.

Best time to plant seeds

Late spring is generally the ideal time to start your fennel plant. May to June would be best for planting fennel in hilly areas of India, while October to November would be great for plain lands.

Sow the seeds

Bring fennel seeds and place them around half an inch deep into the potting mix in your pot. Plant seeds in rows that are about 15 inches apart. And then, thinly scatter seeds and cover them with soil. As fennel plants require space, plant 2-3 seeds per pot and then thin out the weakest one.


Keep the soil moistened enough, and you will see the germination of seeds in eight to fourteen days.


Thin out the seedlings to a distance of 12 inches once they are big enough to handle.


You may feed the plants with a high potash fertilizer every fortnight and harvest in late summer to fall.


Although fennel is primarily free of pests and diseases, you may occasionally see aphids or whiteflies on the leaves. If so, you can get rid of them using an insecticidal soap containing pyrethrin.

Harvesting fennel leaves

Once the plant is established, you can begin collecting the fennel leaves. However, be careful to harvest only a few leaves at a time, or you risk damaging the plant. Fennel leaves can be used to give soups, salads, and other Mediterranean-style foods an aromatic, anise, or licorice flavor.

If you use fennel frequently, consider growing more than one plant. At most, one plant should be harvested per week. Ensure adequate water and fertilizer after every harvest.

Harvesting fennel bulbs

When you see the plant reach the size of a tiny tennis ball, you can pick up the fennel bulbs. This usually occurs in late summer or early autumn. Cut the fennel below the bulb at the soil line to gather it. Use it right away, or keep it in the fridge for a few days. Don’t allow the fennel bulbs to grow too big, as that will lead to a bitter taste.

Harvesting fennel seeds

When the flowers of the fennel plant have turned brown, it is a sign that the seeds are ready for harvest. The best technique to get the seeds is to shake the seed head while putting a big bowl or sheet underneath the plant. Or, you can cut the stalks while covering the seed heads with cheesecloth and then extract the seeds. Let the seeds dry completely, and then store them in an airtight container in a cool, dark place. These seeds have a shelf life of at least six months.

How to take care of fennel

Fennel is a fuss-free plant. It doesn’t require intensive care. But stick to the basic requirements, and you will see a happy plant in your space.


Any soil with a lot of organic materials is suitable for growing fennel. It performs best when planted on sandy loam to loamy soils with good drainage. Avoid growing fennel on shallow soils. The ideal range for soil PH is 6.5 to 8.0.


For fennel plants to flourish properly, ensure at least six hours of direct sunlight daily. If kept in the shade, fennel plants will become leggy and flabby.


Choose a location in your garden, terrace, balcony, or windowsill where the fennel plant can receive six-eight hours of sunlight.


Generally, fennel plants don’t require fertilizer. However, it will value compost that has been incorporated into the soil at the time of planting and layered around its base periodically throughout the growing season.


Apply water evenly and ensure the soil doesn’t become soggy. During their growing period, fennel plants would require more water than when established. Also, in summer, it will require water almost every day, and in winter, it may need water once every two weeks. Check one-inch deep soil before watering; if it is dry, go ahead with watering.


The fennel plant thrives in conditions with moderate humidity and temperatures between 15 and 21 degrees Celsius. Frost and low temperatures can harm the fennel plant. Additionally, hot and dry weather may encourage it to bolt and set seed.

Nothing compares to the satisfaction of enjoying something you have nurtured and grown. Fennel is one of the easiest plants to grow at home and requires minimal effort and time. Adding fennel to any garden is ideal because of its beautiful and delicate green fronds. Wear your gardening gloves and get started with fennel plants at home.

Happy gardening!

FAQs related to fennel

Is fennel healthy?

Yes, fennel is often useful for good digestion, promotes bone health, removes bad breath, purifies blood, and is known for improving lactation among breastfeeding women.

Can fennel be grown indoors?

You can grow fennel both indoors and outdoors. Bright sunlight for six hours and well-draining fertile soil with rich compost are essential for its growth. As long as you provide these basic requirements, fennel can be easily grown indoors.

Is fennel good for the skin?

Research says that fennel has antiseptic properties that help all skin types to stay clean from acne and pimples. Some use fennel seed powder as a scrub or face pack. You can also boil the fennel seeds in water, allow them to cool down, and then store the water to use as a toner. Both ways, you will get refreshing, glowing, and problem-free skin.

Can fennel reduce gas?

Fennel is a wonder herb that has often been found useful in reducing bloating or gas from the stomach. Chewing fennel seeds or simply boiling water with fennel seeds and drinking it like tea would help.

What is the recommended dosage of fennel seeds to eat daily?

Nutritionists and health experts say that consuming 1-2 tablespoons of fennel seeds daily is good for overall health.

How long it takes fennel to mature?

Generally, fennel plants take 60-90 days to mature.


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