Fennel Seeds for Gas, Bloating, Cramps, IBS and Better Digestion
Fennel seeds are a natural trapped gas remedy with many benefits for better digestive function and intestinal health.
Eating these potent little seeds regularly can be especially helpful for treating gastrointestinal problems, like abdominal bloating, intestinal cramps, acid reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and excessive flatulence.
Here’s how the seeds of the fennel plant improve digestion and ease intestinal upset. Also ahead, the best ways to use this herbal treatment for stomach pain, belly bloat and embarrassing gas.
What are Fennel Seeds?
The fennel plant, scientific name Foeniculum vulgare, is a native perennial originating in the Mediterranean but now found worldwide. While the bulb and leaves can be eaten, the nutrient rich seeds provide the most benefits.
Dried fennel seeds have an aromatic anise flavor and are often used in cooking. They also have significant medicinal qualities that makes them a potent natural remedy for many conditions.
How Fennel Seeds Stop Bloating and Bad Gas
In India, seeds of the fennel plant are very popular as an aid to digestion and have been used for this purpose for hundreds of years. A small amount of the seeds are routinely chewed after a meal, both to freshen the breath and to stimulate digestive function.
Scientific studies on the seeds show their rich volatile oil content is primarily responsible for their positive effects, such as their ability to clear intestinal gas so effectively.
Their volatile oils, like anethole, fenchone and estragole, have antispasmodic, calmative and anti-inflammatory properties. Eating them can relax contracted intestinal muscles, ease abdominal cramps, release belly bloat and allow trapped gasses to dissipate.
Drinking a great tasting fennel tea, or eating the dried seeds, is a simple way to address many digestive upsets and gastrointestinal issues.
Eating the seeds, or drinking fennel seed tea, has also proven effective for many people suffering from irritable bowel syndrome.
IBS symptoms include severe stomach gas pains, alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, and ongoing bloating, intestinal cramps and excessive flatulence.
Research published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology found that IBS patients who took the seeds three times a day had a “marked improvement with less abdominal cramps, less dependence on a laxative… and less visits to physicians”.
Natural Cure for Acid Reflux and Indigestion
Chewing on a teaspoon of the seeds straight after a meal, or sipping on a strong tea while you eat, can be an effective way to prevent heartburn and acid stomach.
The volatile oils in the seeds have calmative properties that help to reduce indigestion and acid reflux, though see your GP if you experience GERD symptoms regularly.
A common cause of diarrhea is a build up of gases in the colon. This pressure on the walls of the lower intestine releases absorbed liquids, or prevents it from being absorbed in the first place.
Chewing on fennel seeds after a meal can help reduce excessive gas that leads to diarrhea. Some authorities also suggest drinking the tea as a natural treatment for loose stools.
Constipation as an inability to have a regular bowel movement, less than three a week by definition, though any less than one a day is generally considered unhealthy.
When you are constipated you feel tired, drained and low on energy, as proper elimination is disrupted and your liver has to deal with accumulating toxins.
Eating fennel seeds can be a natural cure for constipation. Their volatile oils have a calming and anti-inflammatory effect on your entire gastrointestinal tract, improving the passage of digesting food and encouraging elimination.
Alongside their calmative and antispasmodic properties, herbal healing textbooks list fennel as having cathartic, purgative and laxative effects for remedying constipation naturally.
By eating the seeds, or drinking the tea, you can stimulate the mucus membranes of your digestive tract. This increases intestinal motility and encourages the peristalsis action which sends you to the toilet.
How to Use Fennel Seeds for a Gassy Tummy
While certain gassy foods increase flatulence volume, most often really smelly gas is a result of the food you eat getting trapped or delayed in the colon and fermenting or putrefying there.
Chewing on fennel seeds can help prevent this by improving digestive function and gastrointestinal motility. Any trapped gasses are more easily released too, so there’s less chance of noxious compounds building up to breaking point.
With the exception of activated charcoal (which does require more complex timing), fennel seeds, either eaten after your meal or made into a tea, are one of the best homemade stomach gas remedies available.
Making Fennel Digestive Tea
Fennel tea is quite refreshing and an effective way to prevent belly bloat, abdominal pain and stomach cramps. Its volatile oils help to release intestinal contractions and move along trapped gas.
When you drink the warm tea it travels quickly through your gastrointestinal tract to where it’s needed the most so relief can be even quicker than eating the seeds.
Here’s how to make homemade fennel seed tea:
- Start by crushing a tablespoon of organic seeds with a mortar and pestle or the back of a spoon in a bowl. A seed grinder can also be used.
- Add them to a cup and pour very hot but not quite boiling water over them (turn the kettle off just before it boils).
- Cover the cup with a small plate and leave it to sit for 5 minutes for a regular strength tea or up to 15 minutes for a stronger one.
- Strain it if you like (I rarely bother) and sip for quick relief from trapped stomach gas, intestinal pain and tummy bloating.
There are also high strength tea bags available which are convenient for work or traveling. Loose organic seeds are better value though and generally higher potency.
Natural Cure for Gassiness and Digestive Problems
Fennel seeds work for a bloated stomach, bad gas, intestinal pain and other gastrointestinal issues, like IBS and acid reflux.
This potent herb has many other beneficial properties and positive effects as well. You can read about them in detail in this popular article on the many benefits of fennel seed tea.
Have you had success with using fennel seeds for intestinal gas and other digestive issues? I’d be interested to hear your experiences with this simple homemade remedy.