Fennel seed / Sombu is a spicy seed with a strong taste and excellent aroma (similar to the taste and flavor of star anise) used throughout the world in cooking spicy food. Adding fennel to dishes not only increases the taste but also the nutritive value. How do you describe fennel seeds? Fennel seeds are the dried seed of the fennel herb and look like cumin seeds, only greener. They have an aniseed flavor and a warm, sweet aroma. They can be used on their own or in spice mixes such as Chinese five-spice powder and Indian panch phoran. Fennel is used for various digestive disorders like heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, and bedwetting.