Tim and I recently went to a restaurant where they gave us about a half a teaspoon (to share) of fennel seeds at the end of the meal. We were to chew it thoroughly then swallow it. Tastes a little like licorice. It is supposed to aid in digestion. I found it very interesting so I looked it up. This is from wikipedia:
veggies made with fennel seeds
Fennel contains anethole, which can explain some of its medical effects: it, or its polymers, act as phytoestrogens.
On account of its carminative properties, Fennel is chiefly used medicinally with purgatives to allay their side effects and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known compound Liquorice Powder.
Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic ‘Gripe Water’, used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. Long term ingestion of fennel preparations by babies is a known cause of thelarche. For adults, fennel seeds or tea can relax the intestines and reduce bloating caused by digestive disorders. Essential oil of fennel has these properties in concentration.
Fennel tea, also employed as a carminative, is made by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised fennel seeds.
added in a salad
In the Indian subcontinent, Fennel seeds are also eaten raw, sometimes with some sweetener, as it is said to improve eyesight. Fennel tea can be used as an eye tonic, applied directly like eyedrops or as a compress, to reduce soreness and inflammation of the eye. Extracts of fennel seed have been shown in animal studies to have a potential use in the treatment of glaucoma.
Blood and urine
Some people use fennel as a diuretic, and it may be an effective diuretic and a potential drug for treatment of hypertension.
toasting brings out the flavor
There are historical anecdotes that fennel is a galactogogue, improving the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother. This use, although not supported by direct evidence, is sometimes justified by the fact that fennel is a source of phytoestrogens, which promote growth of breast tissue. However, normal lactation does not involve growth of breast tissue. There is a single case report of fennel tea ingested by a breastfeeding mother resulting in neurotoxicity for the newborn child
Syrup prepared from fennel juice was formerly given for chronic coughs. Fennel is also largely used for cattle condiments. It is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables. Plain water drunk after chewing and consuming fennel seeds tastes extremely sweet.