For those of you who know what fennel seeds are, I am obviously not going to explain. But for those of you who have no idea, read on!
Fennel is a pleasant smelling herb which bears yellow coloured flowers. It is a perennial plant and is used to cure various digestive and respiratory problems.
Now I know you are confused. Why I am talking about the benefits of fennel seeds when the title speaks of their side effects? It is to remind you that because fennel treats a few ailments, it doesn’t mean you can take it for granted.
Because it has some very serious side effects which you have to consider.
1. Causes Photodermatitis:
The name might sound new to you, but not the symptoms. Ever had the bitter experience of developing rashes when you were exposed to sunlight? Then chances are that you had consumed fennel seeds. (1)
Other symptoms of photodermatitis include pain and redness, and in some extreme cases even chills, fever and headache.
2. Drug Interferences:
‘Don’t interfere with others’ businesses’ – One of the many important adages we have been coming across since childhood. And it looks like fennel seeds sometimes end up doing the exact opposite.
In case someone you know is under medication for seizure disorders or epilepsy, then fennel seeds are a BIG NO for them. The seeds interact with the functioning of the drug and might aggravate the situation. (2)
3. Causes Thelarche:
Thelarche is a condition which marks the starting of breast development in women at the beginning of puberty. And fennel tea is one of the leading causes of thelarche. (3)
4. Causes Contact Dermatitis:
Contact dermatitis is another type of skin condition whose symptoms include skin inflammation and an outburst of blisters. Fennel seed oil is known to cause contact dermatitis and other cross reactions. (4)
Fennel seeds are notorious for causing allergies. Mostly people with pre-existing allergies are vulnerable to the allergies caused by fennel. (5) Abdominal cramps and wheezing are the other symptoms of allergic reactions.
6. Might Cause Breast Cancer:
There hasn’t been any evidence which holds fennel seeds responsible for the cause of breast cancer. However, there have been reports which suggest the usage of fennel for increasing breast milk production; where fennel was found to act directly on breast tissue. (6)
7. As A Uterus Stimulant:
Fennel seeds should not be consumed by pregnant women as the seeds have a tendency to stimulate the uterus. (7)
8. Inhibits Enzyme:
A constituent of fennel seeds is known for inhibiting a drug metabolizing enzyme called cytochrome P450 3A4. (8) Hence, any medications which are metabolized by these enzymes are vulnerable to fennel seeds; and not consuming them while under such medication is the best option.
9. Harmful For Lactating Women:
Fennel seeds can pose serious health threats to lactating women. So it is advisable for lactating women to limit the consumption of fennel in any form. (9)
10. Other Toxicities:
Fennel seed oil was found to be detrimental to DNA. Also, a constituent of fennel called estragole, was found to cause tumours in animals. (10) So in case you or anyone around you is suffering from any kind of hormone sensitive disease like cancer, strict medical advice is mandatory before consuming fennel.
There is a saying which has stood strong since ages – too much of anything can be poisonous. The same applies to fennel seeds too. Though the seeds do have certain health benefits, it is wise to reduce their consumption taking into consideration the host of health risks they possess.
Because health is very important, right?
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