For centuries, fennel fruits have been used as traditional herbal medicine in Europe and China. Fennel tea is the herb of first choice for the treatment of infants suffering from colic.
Benefits of Fennel plant
Fennel is helpful in colic, protects the liver from toxins, and has a slight pain reducing potential in dysmenorrhea (painful cramps).
What's in Fennel plant?
Forty-two phenolic substances have been identified in fennel including hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, flavonoid glycosides, and flavonoid aglycons. Common antioxidants in fennel include quercetin, rosmarinic acid, kaempferol, and caffeoylquinic acid.
Fennel for menstrual pain
Comparison of the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea.
East Mediterr Health J. 2006; Modaress Nejad V, Asadipour M. Modaress Nejad V. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kerman University of Medial Sciences and Health Services, Kerman, Islamic Republic of Iran.
A study in Kerman, Islamic Republic of Iran in 2002 compared the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain relief in primary menstrual pain. Two groups of high-school girls (mean age 13 years) suffering from menstrual pain were randomized to receive fennel extract (n = 55) or mefenamic acid (n = 55) for 2 months. In the fennel group, 80% of girls and in the mefenamic acid group, 73% of girls showed complete pain relief or pain decrease, while 80% in the fennel group and 62% in the mefenamic acid group no longer needed to rest. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the level of pain relief.
Bioguided isolation and identification of the nonvolatile antioxidant compounds from fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) waste.
Parejo I. Universitat de Barcelona, Av. Joan XXIII, s/n, Barcelona, Catalunya, Spain.
J Agric Food Chem. 20047.
A bioguided isolation of an aqueous extract of fennel waste led to the isolation of 12 major phenolic compounds. Liquid chromatography coupled to atmospheric pressure chemical ionization mass spectrometry (LC/UV/APCI-MS) combined with spectroscopic methods (NMR) was used for compound identification. Radical scavenging activity was tested using three methods: DPPH*, superoxide nitro-blue tetrazolium hypoxanthine/xanthine oxidase, and *OH/luminol chemiluminescence. In addition to products described in the literature, eight antioxidant compounds were isolated and identified for the first time in fennel: 3-caffeoylquinic acid, 4-caffeoylquinic acid, 1,5-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid, rosmarinic acid, eriodictyol-7-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-galactoside, kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside, and kaempferol-3-O-glucoside. The structures of eriodictyol-7-O-rutinoside and quercetin-3-O-glucuronide were completely elucidated by two-dimensional NMR experiments. The isolated compounds exhibited a strong antiradical scavenging activity, which may contribute to the interpretation of the pharmacological effects of fennel.
The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil
emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.
Alexandrovich I. St. Petersburg Medical Academy of Postdoctoral Education, St. Petersburg, Kirochnaya, Russia.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2003.
Despite its benign, natural course, colic is a significant problem in infants and imparts a psychological, emotional, and physical burden to parents. Dicyclomine hydrochloride is the only pharmacological treatment for infantile colic that has been consistently effective. Unfortunately, 5% of infants treated with dicyclomine hydrochloride develop serious side effects, including death. Fennel seed oil has been shown to reduce intestinal spasms and increase motility of the small intestine. However, there have not been any clinical studies of its effectiveness. To determine the effectiveness of fennel seed oil emulsion in infantile colic. DESIGN: Randomized placebo-controlled trial. Two large multi-specialty clinics. 125 infants, 2 to 12 weeks of age, who met definition of colic. Fennel seed oil emulsion compared with placebo. Relief of colic symptoms, which was defined as decrease of cumulative crying to less than 9 hours per week. The use of fennel oil emulsion eliminated colic, according to the Wessel criteria, in 65% (40/62) of infants in the treatment group, which was significantly better than 23% (14/59) of infants in the control group. There was a significant improvement of colic in the treatment group compared with the control group. Side effects were not reported for infants in either group during the trial. Our study suggests that fennel seed oil emulsion is superior to placebo in decreasing intensity of infantile colic.
Hepatoprotective effect of Foeniculum vulgare essential
Ozbek H. Yuzuncu Yil University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology, Van 65300, Turkey.
Hepatoprotective activity of Foeniculum vulgare (fennel) essential oil (FEO) was studied using carbon tetrachloride (CCl(4)) induced liver injury model in rats. The hepatotoxicity produced by acute CCl(4) administration was found to be inhibited by fennel with evidence of decreased levels of serum aspartate aminotransferase (AST), alanine aminotransferase (ALT), alkaline phosphatase (ALP) and bilirubin. The results of this study indicate that fennel has a potent hepatoprotective action against CCl(4)-induced hepatic damage in rats.
Comparison of fennel and mefenamic acid for the
treatment of primary dysmenorrhea.
Namavar Jahromi B. Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran.
Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2003.
To compare the effect of Foeniculum vulgare variety dulce (Sweet Fennel) vs. mefenamic acid for the treatment of primary dysmenorrhea. A cohort of seventy women, 15-24 years old from a local university and high-school, who complained of dysmenorrhea were enrolled in this study. Ten cases were excluded due to evidence of secondary dysmenorrhea. The remaining 60 patients were graded mild, moderate and severe on the basis of a verbal multidimensional scoring system. Thirty patients with mild dysmenorrhea were also excluded from the study. Each of the 30 cases with moderate to severe dysmenorrhea was evaluated for three cycles. In the first cycle no medication was given (control cycle), in the second cycle the cases were treated by mefenamic acid (250 mg q6h orally) and in the third cycle, essence of Fennel's fruit with 2% concentration (25 drops q4h orally), was prescribed at the beginning of the cycle. These cycles were compared day by day for the effect, potency, time of initiation of action and also complications associated with each treatment modality, by using a self-scoring system. Intensity of pain was reported by using a 10-point linear analog technique. Statistical analyses were performed by the independent sample t-test, paired t-test and repeated measurement analysis method. In the study group the mean age of menarche was 12.5+/-1.3 years, the mean duration of menstruation was 6.6 days with the mean cycle days of 27. The findings observed during menses were as follows: headache in 26.7%, nausea in 63%, vomiting in 23%, diarrhea in 33%, fatigue in 93% and leaving the daily tasks undone was reported in 86% of the cases. Both of the drugs effectively relieved menstrual pain as compared with the control cycles. The mean duration of initiation of action was 67 min for mefenamic acid and 75 min for fennel. The difference was not statistically significant. Mefenamic acid had a more potent effect than fennel on the second and third menstrual days, however, the difference on the other days was not significant. No complication was reported in mefenamic acid treated cycles, but five cases (16.6%) withdrew from the study due to fennel's odor and one case (3%) reported a mild increase in the amount of her menstrual flow. The essence of fennel can be used as a safe and effective herbal drug for primary dysmenorrhea, however, it may have a lower potency than mefenamic acid in the dosages used for this study.
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