Biological Activities of Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Pp. 92-115 (24)
In recent years, traditional systems of medicine are widely practiced
throughout the world to treat various ailments that have originated due to the rise in
population, increase in the cost of the drug, side effects of synthetic drugs and
emergence of drug resistance in microbes. Asian food contains various culinary herbs
that are used extensively in the traditional systems of medicine. One such important
oldest culinary herb is Foeniculum vulgare Mill. It is an annual herb (Apiaceae),
cultivated as arid and semiarid crop in the tropics and temperate regions of the world.
Today, it finds its application in the healthcare industry, pharmaceutics, food, and
cosmetics. Major components of F. vulgare essential oil are trans-anethole, estragole
(methyl chavicol), fenchone and phellandrene. They also contain fatty acids,
phenylpropanoids, terpene, coumarins, tannins, flavonoids, cardiac glycosides, and
saponins. It is reported to possess antimicrobial, antiviral, antimycobacterial,
antiprotozoal,anti-infantile, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antimutagenic, antihirsutim,
antinociceptive, antispasmodic chemo modulatory, antitumor, antithrombotic, apoptotic
hepatoprotective, hypolipidemic, hypoglycemic, memory enhancing and oestrogenic
properties. It also has antioxidant, cytotoxic, bronchodilatory, diuretic, galactagogue,
emmenagogue, hypotensive and gastroprotective activities. Due to its antioxidant
properties, it has lesser side effects and also reduce toxicity. Hence, it can be used
effectively in combating various diseases. This chapter presents a comprehensive
summary of the various biological activities of F. vulgare.
Anethole, Biological activities, Culinary herb, Essential oils,
Foeniculum vulgare, Limonene, Pharmacological activities.
Department of Botany, Bharathi Women’s College, Prakasam Salai, Broadway, Chennai-600108, India.