Fennel seeds

Foeniculum vulgare

Description

Fennel has a long history as a medicinal and culinary herb. It was cultivated by the Ancient Romans for its leaves and succulent, edible shoots. The natural historian Pliny had great faith in its medicinal properties, stating that it had no fewer than 22 remedial uses, including prolonging life, giving strength and courage, helping sight and losing weight. In medieval times, the plant was used to ward off evil. Fennel has also been used as an aphrodisiac.

Parts used

Fennel’s dried ripe seeds and oil are used to make remedies.

Constituents

Volatile oil, mainly anethole, the polymers which act as phytoestrogens, as well potassium, vitamin C, fibre, folic acid, phosphorus, iron, calcium, magnesium, molybdenum and manganese.

Medicinal uses

Fennel is used to:

  • Treat digestive problems such as heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, spastic colon, and colic in infants.
  • The fibre in fennel helps eliminate toxins from the intestine and reduce cholesterol.
  • Support kidney and bladder function. Fennel has an anti-inflammatory action on these organs that helps reduce cystitis and gout flare-ups.
  • Support the hormone-related functions of the body.
  • Improve lactation, ease menstrual-related problems and assist with menopause discomfort.
  • Relieve coughs and sore throats.
  • The vitamin C in the bulb of the plant is antibacterial and supports the immune system.
  • Fennel seed and oil are approved by the German Commission E for the short-term treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence and upper respiratory catarrh. *

CAUTION

Talk to your medical practitioner before taking any herbal supplements.
Do not take more fennel than the prescribed dosage. Fennel may decrease the effectiveness of birth control pills. It may also interfere with certain antibiotics and should be avoided by cancer patients taking Tamoxifen. Always consult your doctor before taking herbal remedies.

Flora Force Products containing Fennel

Domestic & culinary uses

[custom_frame_right shadow=”on”]Fennel plant[/custom_frame_right] Aromatic fennel is a versatile kitchen ingredient. The stems can be grilled with fish, meats and vegetables, and the leaves torn into salads. The leaves are also served with oily fish such as salmon. Fennel seeds are baked into breads, biscuits, stuffings and Italian sausages, and added to sweet pickles and sauerkraut. The seeds also complement asparagus, tomato and cucumber. Tea can be made from fennel seeds and leaves.

Cultivation

Fennel is a hardy perennial with hair-fine leaves and yellow flowers. Reaching about one metre tall, it is considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean. It grows easily in areas that have moderate frost and a fairly high rainfall. Plant seed in light, sandy soil in full sun or semi-shade and keep it well-watered.

* Blumenthal, Mark, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. , American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas, 1998.

Photo credits

  1. By Howcheng (Own work)
[GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons
  • By Vorzinek (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons
  • Information in our herb library is intended only as a general reference for further exploration. It is not a replacement for professional health advice and does not provide complete dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription medicines. Accordingly, this information should only be used under the direct supervision of a suitably qualified health practitioner such as a registered homeopath, naturopath or phytotherapist.