It’s been a wild card as flavours go, but truthpaste Original Mineral Fennel has always enjoyed a strong and committed fanbase. It’s been popular with customers since it was first launched in 2017.
Founder Marisa has explained her choice for using this slightly unusual botanical:
“I like strong flavours and wanted something a bit different to the usual peppermint. I had come across fennel when a friend, who was studying Chinese medicine, explained about the antibacterial properties which prevent plaque build-up and gum disease.
I spent some time experimenting with the flavour to get it just right. I wanted to make sure that all the health benefits were complimented with a really fresh flavour that lasts.”
Whilst a great deal of time and effort has gone into finding a flavour with that perfect ‘zing!’ for truthpaste, the multiple benefits of fennel for oral health have played a big part in our decision to include fennel seed oil in our winning formula.
Fennel is full of polyphenols - or micronutrients - that are known to be beneficial to whole mouth care. Fennel seeds and the oil extract from them is a healthy mixture of anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
With a strong flavour, similar to that of aniseed, fennel seeds have antimicrobial properties that work to fight the germs and pathogens which cause bad breath. It’s not uncommon to find them sugar coated fennel seeds offered in Indian restaurants as a breath freshener following a meal.
Ancient Chinese medicine and modern research suggest that the polyphenols in fennel seeds actively reduce the build-up of plaque and can prevent gum disease. Fennel seed oil is particularly good at inhibiting the effects of Streptococcus mutans. These are the micro-organisms which are largely responsible for causing caries, amongst other things. Even just chewing fennel seeds after eating can be effective in reducing the salivary pH meaning teeth and gums are protected almost immediately.
You can find several modern studies to support the use of fennel seed oil in your oral health routine. As a little added bonus, the anti-inflammatory properties can also help reduce pain in common ailments, such as mouth ulcers or a sore throat.
An excellent source of vitamin C and fibre, Fennel has also been attributed with reducing cholesterol, helping digestive issues and even reducing unwanted hair! Whilst you’re most likely to come across it in a recipe book, its medicinal use is well documented as far back as the 10th Century.
Well, we love it, obviously! Here’s a few facts about the wonder herb that made us go ‘oooh!’
Yes! Really, we were surprised too. It is part of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family, the 16th largest family of flowering plants and its relatives include such staples as parsley, caraway, dill, coriander and parsnip.
The ancient Greeks knew fennel by the name ‘Marathon’. It grew in the field where an ancient battle was fought - which was subsequently named ‘The Field of Marathon’ - and awarded to the messenger who brought the news of the Prussian invasion of Spata. It was believed that the vegetable distributed godly knowledge through charcoal made from its stalks.
A whopping 85% of the world’s Fennel (or “finocchio” as the Italians say) is produced in Italy, mainly in the region of Campania. Given that Fennel is important in a Mediterranean diet, this isn’t that surprising! However, at truthpaste we source our sweet fennel from Hungary where the sweet oil is produced by steam distillation.
Well, no. Not really. But it can spread quickly when grown in some parts of the world and is considered to be a weed in the US and in Australia. In 2010, the Los Angeles Times published an article claiming that Fennel was ‘taking over the city’. As far as we know there hasn’t been a ‘Day of the Triffids’ style disaster yet but given how 2021 is going, we’re not going to rule it out.
If you are a long time lover or newly converted, let us know what you think. You can find our range of Fennel products by clicking here.
US Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service."Classification for Kingdom Plantae Down to Genus Foeniculum Mill.". Retrieved Dec 2020
Grattan, John Henry Grafton, and Charles Singer (1952). Anglo-Saxon Magic and Medicine. London: Oxford Univ. Press
Liddell HG; Scott R; (1831) A Greek–English Lexiconat the Perseus Project. Perseus Project Digital Library
Homer & Hesiod (2008) Hesiod, The Homeric Hymns, and Homerica. EBook #348 Project Gutenberg.
Gurinder J Kaur and Daljit S Arora (2009) Antibacterial and phytochemical screening of Anethum graveolens, Foeniculum vulgare and Trachyspermum ammi Published online BMC Complement Altern Med.
Manzoor A. Rather et al, (2009) Foeniculum vulgare: A comprehensive review of its traditional use, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and safety. Arabian Journal of Chemistry
Kang S et. al., (2014) Fennel essential oil inhibits virulence of Streptococcus Mutans. International Association of Dental Research
Neetu S Jamwal et. al. (2013) Phytochemical and pharmacological review on foeniculum vulgare. International journal of Pharmaceutical sciences
Weiping H, Baokang H. (2011) A review of chemistry and bioactivities of a medicinal spice: Foeniculum vulgare. Journal of Medicinal Plants Research
Swathi V. et.al. (2015) Effect of chewing fennel and cardamom seeds on dental plaque and salivary pH – a randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research.
Why do we use this carrier oil in Truthpaste?
In Ayurvedic practice, Calendula is used for oil pulling in much the same way that you would with coconut oil. The antiseptic properties work to prevent gingivitis and plaque build up. Studies suggest calendula can help to repair the soft tissue of the gums whilst actively fighting plaque.