Also Known As
Large fennel, sweet fennel, wild fennel, finocchio, carosella, Florence fennel, Fennel
Native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Traditional Use and Health Benefits
Fennel has a long traditional use as a digestive. It is good for colic in babies, and can treat stomach cramps of all ages. Fennel is known to normalize the appetite and in this way it can support weight loss. It can treat flatulence and generally calm the digestive tract. However this botanical is also a cleanser of the liver and helpful for detoxifying the body's systems. Fennel is a natural diuretic and it increases the flow of urine and acts as a tonic to the kidneys.
For women, Fennel is helpful when breastfeeding, as it stimulates milk production. It is also good for promoting menstruation, and relieving discomfort of menopause. This is because Fennel is naturally rebalancing to hormones. It is good for aiding the return of a regular menstrual cycle after childbirth or after coming off the birth control pill.
It also can cleanse the eyes when used as a douche.
It tastes good so therefore can be invaluable when blending herbs for tea.
Fennel seeds can be made into a nutritious fennel tea, they can also be used in the kitchen, in the preparation of soups, stews and curries. When ingested the Fennel seeds promote internal detoxification, assist the renewal of the kidneys and curb appetite, and Fennel tea is very calming to the digestive tract when drank after a meal. Fennel tea is excellent for breast feeding mums to drink in order to increase milk flow.
Women can use the essential oil for balancing emotions and assisting the return of a regular menstrual cycle by added the oil to a bath, or by applying an oil blend or cream blend to the abdomen and lower back. The essential oil can also be vapourised in an oil burner to create an uplifting and fortifying atmosphere. See How to use Essential Oils
RECIPE FOR BABIES GRIPE WATER
1 cup of Fennel tea left to cool
give baby 1 teaspoon full
ESSENTIAL OIL NOTE
BLENDS WELL WITH
To regulate periods:
Fennel, Bergamot and Clary sage.
To relieve menopausal symptoms:
Fennel, Clary sage, Lavender
Fennel, Juniper berry, Grapefruit.
Also blends well with: Geranium, Lavender, Sandalwood and Rose.
Warming, Aniseed-like and peppery
Fennel essential oil can be used in the bath, or vapourised in an oil burner. It can be added to a massage oil or cream. Use 6-8 drops per bath and 10 -18 drops per 30ml of carrier oil. See Essential Oil Dosage Chart
Fennel seeds can be used to make tea, by putting 1 teaspoon of seeds into one cup of hot water and leaving to infuse for 10 minutes.
Fennel Herbal tincture
1-3ml up to 3 times a day.
Or as recommended by a herbal practitioner.
Folklore and History
Fennel crops up in Greek mythology, when humanity received a fiery coal from Mount Olympus in a fennel bulb. Hippocrates talked about the medicinal powers of fennel to treat infant colic. The Greeks also called fennel " to grow thin" as they believed it contributed to weight loss. The Romans loved fennel and thought it could heal eye problems and blindness. Under the medieval Doctrine of Signatures, where the physical appearance of plants was thought to reveal their medicinal values. It was thought that fennel's yellow flowers were linked to the liver's yellow bile. Thus the herb was recommended for jaundice. The Anglo Saxons used fennel as a spice and digestive, they also hung fennel above their doors to protect them from hexes. 17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper prescribed fennel for flatulence, breast milk production, clear eye sight and to "make people lean who hath grown fat."
Fennel essential oil: Phenols as trans-anethole, methyl chavicol, terpenes as a-pinene, a-thujene, y-terpinene, limonene, myrcene, phellandrene, ketones as fenchone, oxides as cineole, alcohols as fenchol, acids, lactones and courmarins.
No significant side effects have been found. However people with Estrogen dependent cancer should avoid fennel in large quantities.