Nitrites derived from Foneiculum vulgare (fennel) seeds promotes vascular functions

J Food Sci. 2012 Dec;77(12):H273-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1750-3841.2012.03000.x.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents / pharmacology
  • Cell Line
  • Cytoprotection / drug effects
  • Foeniculum / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Nitrates / analysis
  • Nitrites / pharmacology*
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Seeds / chemistry*
  • Spices / analysis
  • Vasodilation / drug effects*


  • Angiogenesis Inducing Agents
  • Nitrates
  • Nitrites
  • Plant Extracts