Fennel has estrogen-like properties, called phytoestrogens, which have been proven to naturally correct imbalances that cause aberrant hair conditions.
Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), originating in the Mediterranean, has been used since ancient times. The Romans used fennel for strength and the Greek used fennel to make themselves thin. Some western cultures hung fennel over doors as a protection from evil. In England, fennel was used as an appetite suppressant during the 1200s for fasting. The once popular drink absinthe contained fennel and today fennel is used as a spice as well as for its medicinal properties.
Among numerous health benefits, fennel is a good source of iron, creating more red blood cells. Eating fennel strengthens your hair and helps prevent your hair from shedding. This is important if you're anemic. Fennel also reverses premature hair loss.
A 2003, double-blind, controlled study at the Shiraz University of Medical Sciences in Shiraz, Iran, demonstrated how fennel extract applied topically in a cream, reduced hirsutism. Hirsutism is "excessive male pattern hair growth in women who have a normal ovulatory menstrual cycle."
Fennel is crunchy like celery, tastes like licorice and is related to carrots, parsley and dill. You can eat the whole vegetable---the bulb, stalk, leaves and seeds. Fennel is an excellent source of vitamin C and a great source of potassium, fiber and folate.
Did you know if you chew on some fennel seeds, then drink some water, the water will taste extremely sweet? The Puritans also called fennel the "meeting seed"--it was a favorite practice to chew the seeds during meetings. Fennel can also produce hallucinations and muscular convulsions in large doses.
Avoid fennel if you have any seizure disorders such as epilepsy. Fennel may increase the risk of seizures.
Do not take or eat fennel if you're pregnant or breastfeeding. Fennel is used to stimulate lactation but the effect on a fetus or on children is unknown.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Kevin Dooley
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