Bulbous fennel with its characteristic licorice and anise-like aroma has long been considered a potent nutraceutical even in ancient cultures. It has been hailed as having anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-proliferative and anti-tumor potentialities, and should therefore feature regularly in your anti-cancer kitchen.
Research has been conducted into trying to reduce the high mortality rate associated with some prostate cancers. It was found that anethole, a major constituent of fennel essential oil, inhibited the growth and migration in certain prostate cancer cells (PC-3), as well as suppressing their stem cell growth. It was also shown to downregulate the activation of NF-kappa- genes, a cell-to-cell signaling molecule considered cancer’s master switch, capable of turning on inflammation and altering genes.
One study looked at possibly reducing the amount of the chemotherapy drug Cisplatin by combining it with a fennel extract, hoping both applied together would result in the same cervical cancer cell growth reduction. This would enable a lower dose of cisplatin, thus reducing the adverse side effects of this potent drug. Results confirmed their findings.
Another study investigated whether the use of extracted essential oils including from fennel, acted as natural anti-oxidants to help reduce the liver damaging effects of the chemotherapy drug cyclophosphamide (CP). They also found that these oils were able to restore the functioning of the body’s own anti-oxidants to their normal levels after undergoing changes due to CP.
Fennel is very soothing to the stomach lining and thus an excellent addition to a gut healing protocol when undergoing, and recovering from, chemotherapy treatments which notoriously destroy the protective lining of the gut mucosa. It also helps reduce muscle spasms and expels excess gas.
Fennel is closely related with celery, and their texture raw is almost the same. Here are a few ways to serve this delectable bulb:
• Raw in salads, it makes an excellent companion to almost any salad ingredient
• Sautéed to accompany a stir fry or fish
• Sliced and fermented as a condiment to satisfy your daily fermented food intake
• Excellent additions to raw juices and smoothies
• Served raw with hummus or a cultured yoghurt dip
Fennel Radicchio Orange Salad
• 2 fennel bulbs, sliced fine
• 1 head radicchio, cored and thinly sliced (alternatively ¼ head red cabbage)
• 3 green onion stalks, finely sliced
• ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
• 2 oranges, peeled and sliced, then finely cubed
• ½ avocado, finely cubed
• ¼ cup avocado oil (EVOO)
• Juice of ½ – 1 lemon
• Dash of water
• 1 clove of garlic, crushed
• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
• Season to taste: Celtic sea salt, ground fennel seed, pinch of cayenne pepper
1. Combine all salad ingredients.
2. Whisk vinaigrette ingredients together vigorously.
3. Pour over salad and mix well.
4. Let stand in fridge a while for flavors to unfold. May need to top up seasoning.
Ramadan WS, Sait KH, Anfinan NM, Sait H., “The chemosensitizing effect of aqueous extract of sweet fennel on cisplatin treated HeLa cells”, Clin Exp Obstet Gynecol. 2016;43(3):358-64
Sheweita SA, El-Hosseiny LS, Nashashibi MA, “Protective effects of essential oils as natural antioxidants against hepatoxicity induced by cyclophosphamide in mice”, PLoS One. 2016 Nov 1;11(11):e0165667. Doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0165667. eCollection 2016
Elkady AI, “Anethole Inhibits The Proliferation Of Human Prostate Cancer Cells Via Induction Of Cell Cycle Arrest And Apoptosis”, Anticancer Agents Med Chem. 2017 Jul 25. Doi: 10.2174/1871520617666170725165717.
Staying Healthy with Nutrition by Elson M Haas MD with Buck Levin PhD, 2006 edition
Herbal Medicine, Healing and Cancer by Donald R. Yance Jr. C.N., M.H., A.H.G. with Arlene Valentine
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, ND