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Keywords:

  • functional food;
  • herbs;
  • nitrite;
  • plant extract;
  • vascular function

Abstract:  Recent evidence has demonstrated that nitrites play an important role in the cardiovascular system. Fennel (Foneiculum vulgare) seeds are often used as mouth fresheners after a meal in both the Indian sub-continent and around the world. The present study aims to quantify the nitrite and nitrates in fennel seeds as well as elucidating the effect of fennel derived-nitrites on vascular functions. Results from our study show that fennel seeds contain significantly higher amount of nitrites when compared to other commonly used post-meal seeds. Furthermore our study confirmed the functional effects of fennel derived-nitrites using in vitro and ex vivo models that describe the promotion of angiogenesis, cell migration, and vasorelaxation. We also showed that chewing fennel seeds enhanced nitrite content of saliva. Thus our study indicates the potential role of fennel derived-nitrites on the vascular system.

Practical Application:  This study is focused on determining the effect of fennel-derived nitrites on angiogenesis (the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing ones), cell migration, and vasorelaxation (dilation of blood vessels) thereby preserving cardiovascular health.