Continuing with our healthy ingredient series, we would like to introduce you to the herb Fennel  (Foeniculum vulgare).  This herb was well-known to the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Indians, and Chinese.  It has many beneficial properties including antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antinociceptive, antipyretic and antispasmodic.  It has also been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat digestive, endocrine, reproductive, and respiratory problems. 

Fennel is indigenous to Europe and widely grown throughout the Mediterranean region, as well as being cultivated in countries such as India.  It is part of the Umbelliferon family and is a hardy, perennial herb.  Fennel commonly grows on a wide range of soil conditions in humid-temperate environments (Datiles & Popay 2015). It can also be found in open unshaded areas such as roadsides, railway embankments etc. 

Fennel is not usually available for horses to browse and graze.  We include this beneficial herb in our Total horse feed, to help bring nature back to our horses via their daily food. 

The benefits of Fennel include:

Nutrients

Fennel contains good levels of potassium, sodium, phosphorous and calcium (Uslu et al 2021).  These minerals are needed for regulating body fluids, muscle function along with bone growth and repair.  Fennel also contains varying levels of essential fatty acids needed for normal cell function and reduction of inflammation.

Anti-inflammatory

The essential oil contained in fennel is reported to contain over 87 volatile compounds (Badgujar et al 2014).  The methanol extract found in fennel helps to reduce inflammation the body.

Antioxidant

Fennel contains lots of phenolic acids and flavonoids which help protect the body against free radicals.  They give the immune system a boost and help protect against respiratory, gut issues and viruses (Škrovánková et al 2012)

Gastrointestinal

The ground up seeds have been found to form a slimy mucilage which coats and soothes inflamed intestinal tracts.  Fennel oil can help relieve abdominal pain and flatulence associated with poor digestion (Hafiz et al 2011).

In summary we chose fennel as an inclusion in our feed recipe as it can help relieve bloating and discomfort associated with poor digestion, along with maintaining gastrointestinal health.  

A healthy gut means healthy horses!

References

Badgujar, Shamkant B et al. “Foeniculum vulgare Mill: a review of its botany, phytochemistry, pharmacology, contemporary application, and toxicology.” BioMed research international vol. 2014 (2014): 842674.

Hafiz Abubaker Saddiqi, Zafar Iqbal,Chapter 55 – Usage and Significance of Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) Seeds in Eastern Medicine, Editor(s): Victor R. Preedy, Ronald Ross Watson, Vinood B. Patel, Nuts and Seeds in Health and Disease Prevention, Academic Press,2011, Pages 461-467, ISBN 9780123756886

Soňa Škrovánková, Ladislava Mišurcová, Ludmila Machů,Chapter Three – Antioxidant Activity and Protecting Health Effects of Common Medicinal Plants,Editor(s): Jeyakumar Henry, Advances in Food and Nutrition Research, Academic Press, Volume 67, 2012, Pages 75-139, ISSN 1043-4526, ISBN 9780123945983,

Uslu, O., Gedik, O., Demirkıran, A., Tepecik, M., Ongun, A., & Karatayli, K. (2021). MACRO AND MICRO ELEMENT CONTENTS OF THE HERBAGE OF SIX DIFFERENT FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare Mill. var. dulce) POPULATIONS USED AS FEED ADDITIVE SUBSTANCES. Journal of Applied Biological Sciences, 15(1), 1-11.