Fennel Seeds for Periods: Friend or Foe?

Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)
Dr. Pakhi Sharma (MBBS)

General Physician | 6+ years

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

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.

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

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

Allopathy being the main source of treatment, a few herbs and spices like fennel seeds can be used as an adjunct along with the treatment but not as a remedy. 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.

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:

Nutrients

Amount

Water

8.81 g

Energy

345 kcal

Protein

15.8 g

Total lipid

14.9 g

Carbohydrate

52.3 g

Fibre

39.8 g

Calcium

1200 mg

Iron

18.5 mg

Magnesium

385 mg

Phosphorus

487 mg

Potassium

1690 mg

Sodium

88 mg

Vitamin A

0.007 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

It is Anti-inflammatory: 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.

It May Help Reduce Weight: 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 help in regulating irregular periods.

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. This can help manage the symptoms of PCOS such as irregular periods, pain during menstruation, etc.
  • 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

Yes, fennel seeds may be helpful in managing the symptoms of PCOS and thus help  regulate your periods. Individuals with PCOS may develop low-grade inflammation and  may also gain weight due to their condition. Fennel seeds are anti-inflammatory and may suppress your appetite and help reduce weight. This weight loss may help bring your periods back to normal.

There is no science-backed evidence that fennel seeds induce periods. But there are few studies that suggest that fennel seeds can help relieve menstrual cramps.

No, there is no research that suggests that eating fennel seeds delays periods. Eating fennel seeds can help lower inflammation and reduce weight in individuals with PCOS. This, in turn, can help manage the symptoms of PCOS, which may include an irregular menstrual cycle and menstrual cramps.

Yes, you can eat fennel seeds during periods. Studies suggest that it can help ease your menstrual cramps by lowering the level of prostaglandins in blood circulation.

Dr. Pakhi Sharma
Dr. Pakhi Sharma, MBBS
(General physician, 6+ years)
An expert in obstetrics and medical emergencies, Dr. Pakhi Sharma, an alumni of Sri Devaraj Urs University of Higher Education and Research Centre, is a general physician working at Phablecare. She has 6+ years of work experience spread across gynaecology and obstetrics, family medicine, and medical emergencies at renowned hospitals and clinics.

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