Sombu or Fennel Seeds – Digestive Care

About Fennel or Sombu

Fennel is hardy in nature and cultivated as annual parsley. Before the seeds ripen, the flowers are collected, dried and threshed. The seeds are then collected. Fennel has aromatic flavor. The seeds and leaves of the herb have great medicinal value. It is widely used in cooking as a flavoring agent. The herb is found widely to be grown in India, Egypt, China, Mediterranean region, Turkey, etc

It is better to store the fennel seeds in a sealed container. It is better to use it as soon as possible since it loses the flavor quickly.

Common and Botanical names of Fennel

The Tamil name of the herb is Sombu or Perunjeeragam. It is commonly called as Sweet Fennel or Saunf. The botanical name of the herb is Foeniculum vulgare / Foeniculum capillaceum Gilib / Foeniculum foeniculum Karst and belongs to the Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae) family. Other names include Carosella, Fenouil, Fenchel, Mauri, Finocchio.

Primary Medicinal Uses

After Meal Freshener

It is very common in most of the hotels and houses for using Fennel seed or Sombu as a freshener after having meals or a feast. It is said to promote digestion in a fast manner.

Stomach Related Problems

The Fennel or Sombu seeds are often chewed in raw form. This improves digestion, relieves flatulence, cures diarrhea and cures irritable bowel syndrome.

Boil water in fennel seeds or make tea out of it. The water has been consumed by many people instead of cold water. This brings benefit to the stomach and intestines. This enhances digestion, metabolism and breaks the kidney stones, if present. It relieves the flatulence effect present in the stomach. It also expels the worms present in the stomach.

The fibre content present in the herb is very high and helps in easy digestion.


Fennel is widely used as a main cooking ingredient in Mediterranean, Italian cuisines. It is used in both raw and cooked form. It is also used widely in Indian cuisines. It is considered as one of the most important spices in almost all parts of India. The seeds are made as powder just before cooking and used accordingly, since the flavor is lost very soon once powdered or exposed to air.

Heat Stroke

You can soak the seeds in water and leave it overnight. Consume the water early in the morning. This reduces heat stroke and reduces the body heat.

Other Medicinal Uses


Fennel is used in manufacture of toothpastes especially as a flavoring agent.

Skin Care

Fennel can be boiled in water and the steam can be used for facial treatment. This cures the pores present and increases the glowness of the skin.

Weight Loss Agent

Sombu when taken regularly serves as an aid in losing weight and used widely by obese people.

Breast Milk

Mothers take tea made of fennel seeds which enhance milk secretion for feeding their child.

Pregnant Women

Pregnant women can consume the Fennel seeds water. This reduces nausea and morning sickness.

Breast Swelling

The leaves or stems of the plant can be crushed and made into a paste. This when applied to the swelling region cures it.


Those infected with jaundice can take the herb since it is good for treating liver and spleen.


Fennel soaked in water can be used as an wash for the face which relieves eyestrain and irritations.

Other Medicinal Uses

The herb Sombu or Perunjeeragam has a lot of other medicinal uses like – increases libido, improves memory, reduces depression, cures anaemia and lowers blood pressure. It also cures cough, fever, respiratory disorders, bronchitis, craving for food, asthma, migraine (apply a paste of the Fennel seeds over the forehead), etc


  • Though Fennel is good for health, it is better not to consume excess of it. Excess consuming may affect the estrogen level in the body.
  • Pregnant women need to consume the seeds in limited quantity.
  • Excess consuming of fennel seeds affects the nerves and may create hallucinations.

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