(NaturalNews) Many Americans today are very health conscious. However, the use of food to help ensure proper health is not as widely known to many Americans. In many countries in Europe and the Far East, the use of food for medicinal purposes is quite common practice. For example, fennel is widely used throughout Greece and Italy in many Mediterranean dishes for its varied health properties.
Fennel and its many uses
The fennel plant including the bulb, stalks, leaves and seeds are all edible. With regards to foods and beverages, fennel is quite popular in soups, entrees and is one of the key ingredients to the alcoholic beverage Absinthe.
While delicious in food, the great news is that fennel also offers some great medicinal benefits. In ancient Rome, Fennel was quite popular and widely acknowledged as it is still today to help aid the body in digesting foods. It is also widely known to help the kidneys, liver, spleen and lungs - as well as the whole digestive system to stay healthy and function better. These benefits have been widely lauded for over 2,000 years.
In the digestive system, it is widely known to help people with indigestion, weight loss, flatulence, diarrhea and constipation. Additional ailments that are associated with the use of fennel for medicinal improvement include: high blood pressure, heart disease, difficult menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders as well as cancer prevention.
Studies show that fennel provides major benefits in cancer prevention
One of the main reasons fennel is noted as a good as a cancer preventative, is because once in the system it acts as a profound chemo preventive agent. This basically means it helps fight off potential carcinogens. In fact, in a study performed at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, study results showed that fennel exerts exceptional anti-inflammatory properties. This is because of a phytonutrient in the plant known as Anethole which studies have found aids in blocking inflammation within the body and aids in blocking cell mutations into cancerous cells.
Additional tests in New Delhi, India have also shown the anti-carcinogenic effect of fennel. Their tests used albino mice with induced skin and fore stomach papilloma genesis. Under close observation those mice who were administered the fennel had significantly lower rates of cancer cell development or expansion of any previous cancer cells.
Other health studies and fennel
Fennel is also known to assist in appetite suppression and energizing the body's metabolic rate. At the Thuringian State Institute of Agriculture in Germany, fennel was found to assist in suppressing appetite as well as activating the metabolism. Studies at the institute also showed that the fennel helped to dissolve the fat deposits in the bloodstream allowing it to be used for an energy source. In other research fennel has been found to increase urination which helps to reduce any excess body water weight.
Also in a 2011 study at the University of Granada, researchers found that because of the melatonin in fennel, it also offers some sleep aid properties as well.