Written by Sarah Hasham, Data Evaluations Intern

Fennel is a versatile and flavorful herb that has been used in cuisine and medicine for centuries. The word fennel traces its roots to the Latin word feniculum, meaning “hay” – thought to be a description of the seed’s aroma. [1] It has a unique flavor profile that can be described as a combination of licorice and anise, and it is widely used in Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. 

Nutritional Benefits

Fennel is nutrient-dense and rich in antioxidants, fiber, and vitamins. It is low in calories and is an excellent source of vitamin C, potassium, and folate. It also contains a unique compound called anethole, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. [2]

The fiber in fennel helps to support healthy digestion. Studies have shown that its properties may even assist in reducing the risk of colon cancer [3]. It tends to have a calming effect on the digestive system, making it an effective natural remedy for bloating, gas, and stomach cramps!


Fennel is a versatile herb that can be eaten raw or cooked. The bulb, stalks, and fronds are all edible and each have a slightly different flavor profile.  [4]

In Mediterranean and Indian cuisine, fennel seeds are often used as a spice to flavor meats, fish, and vegetable dishes. Dried seeds can also be chewed after a meal to freshen the breath and aid in digestion – it’s not uncommon to find fennel seeds rather than breath mints at traditional Indian restaurants! 


If you’ve made it this far, we know you’re eager to try out this amazing herb for yourself. Below are some of our favorite recipes that utilize fennel as an ingredient!

How to Grow and Care for Fennel in Your Herb Patch | Gardener's Path

Source: Gardener’s Path


[1] What is fennel? Rumi Spice. (n.d.) https://www.rumispice.com/blogs/rumi-red-saffron/what-is-fennel#:~:text=Fennel%20is%20a%20perennial%20herb,coriander%2C%20cumin%2C%20and%20dill.  

[2] MediLexicon International. (n.d.). Fennel: Health benefits, recipes, forms, nutrition and more. Medical News Today. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/284096  

[3]Alalyu, R. S. (n.d.). The effect of medicinal plants fennel seeds, and olive leaves to inhibit growth on lung, leukemia, and Colon Cell Lines. Digital Scholarship @ Tennessee State University. https://digitalscholarship.tnstate.edu/dissertations/AAI10158637/  

[4] Fresh fennel – off the beaten aisle. Food Network. (n.d.). https://www.foodnetwork.com/fn-dish/recipes/2011/11/how-to-use-fennel#:~:text=Technically%20speaking%2C%20all%20parts%20of,is%20delicious%20raw%20or%20cooked   


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