Fennel seed as a heartburn remedy, is it effective?
Fennel is a perennial herb that can grow up to 3ft tall and though it is considered a hardy plant, it has delicate, feathery leaves and it has tiny, yellow flowers. Fennel is typically found in Europe and the Mediterranean and all through history, it has been used to treat several digestive problems including flatulence, bloating, constipation, indigestion and heartburn.
Backed by its long history of use, many herbal practitioners today consider fennel seed as a heartburn remedy, and an effective one too. However, what does science say about this?
Fennel contains active ingredients that are responsible for the herb’s soothing effects on the stomach and its ability to prevent digestive disorders. The herb’s volatile oil consists of substances like alpha-pinene, trans-anethole and fenchone making the extracted oil just as effective as the seeds.
Fennel seed as a heartburn remedy is said to soothe the digestive tract as well as reduce acid in the stomach and inflammation. It can also minimize gas and bloating. Chewing on some fennel seeds after a meal is also said to aid your digestion as well as prevent heartburn from occurring. Aside from the seeds, fennel may also be taken in liquid extract or tincture form. Recommended dosage is 1 tsp. of tincture 3x a day or 1/2 tsp. of liquid extract a day to prevent heartburn.
<h2>Fennel Seed as a Heartburn Remedy – Related Studies</h2>
There are no direct studies on the use of fennel seeds as a heartburn solution despite the presence of numerous claims extolling the heartburn-fighting effects of this herb. What are available are studies or researches that provide indirect evidence that fennel seeds may be effective in combating heartburn.
A few studies show that fennel seeds can help with digestion and adult constipation. Though people think that digestion and adult constipation have nothing to do with acid reflux or heartburn, irregularities in the digestive tract motility is actually strongly associated with acid reflux and therefore, heartburn. Slow digestion not only leads to constipation but can also cause acid reflux and this is because the stomach will try to hasten the process by producing more acids. The more acids in the stomach, the higher the risk of heartburn. If fennel can improve constipation and hasten the digestive process, then it may be able to prevent acid reflux as well.
<h3>Fennel seed as a heartburn remedy – Conclusion</h3>
So is fennel seed an effective heartburn remedy?
Considering these studies, it can be said that fennel seeds may indeed benefit people with acid reflux and frequent heartburn especially if their symptoms involve constipation and other digestive problems.
Before using fennel seed as a heartburn remedy, you should be aware of possible side effects that it may cause. These side effects include hives, nausea, pulmonary edema, contact dermatitis, photo-dermatitis and vomiting. Women who are pregnant or lactating should include a minimal amount of fennel in their diet. If you’re diabetic, avoid using fennel syrups as these contain high amounts of sugar. Before taking any herbal supplements or treatments, it is always wise to consult your doctor.