According to Ayurveda, our digestive fire (agni) holds the key to good health;
improper digestion is where ill health begins in the physical body. Fennel seeds
are one of the best digestive herbs. They strengthen digestive fire and some of
their benefits include managing gas, stopping cramping, aiding with heart
burn, calming tummy aches, and soothing acid indigestion.
Although many spices are heating, fennel is tempered by a cool quality that calms the mind and increases clarity. Perhaps the most impressive benefits of fennel and fennel seeds come from the antioxidants and potent plant compounds they contain. Rich in anethole and other antioxidants, fennel seeds may help many digestive issues, including gas pain, colic, constipation, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome, and indigestion.
Several research studies have shown that fennel seed extract is helpful for gas and bloating. For example, in a recent study, fennel seed oil reduced colic symptoms in 125 infants compared to placebo; colic was eliminated in 65 percent of the infants receiving fennel essential oil compared to only 24 percent of the placebo group.
The best way to administer fennel to babies is through fennel water, since it can provide relief from the pains almost instantly. Additionally, fennel water can also be consumed by breastfeeding moms to pass it along to newborns and support lactation. Preparing fennel water is quite easy; simply add 1 tsp. fennel seeds to 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Strain. Drink this water if you are breastfeeding or give it to your infant 1 tsp per day to promote healthy digestion.