Fennel is an aromatic herb with culinary, cosmetic, and medicinal uses. It is a pretty border plant with feathery leaves. Fennel seeds and leaves are used to flavour food; the green and white leaf base is eaten as a vegetable.
HERBALISM USES FOR SEEDS
Use fennel tea or tincture for colic, wind, and irritable bowel conditions. Fennel is very effective at increasing milk. It passes into the milk, winding the baby at the same time. Use fennel and sage tea or tincture to soothe premenstrual breast pain. It is soothing for anxiety and disturbed spirits in general. Fennel is a diuretic and cleansing herb, helpful for people with arthritis and water retention. Chewing the seeds is a quick way to settle a rumbly stomach. Traditionally they were eaten during fasts or to help people lose weight. Fennel tea makes a good eyewash for conjunctivitis.
Suitable for colic in infants; give the tea in teaspoon doses, as much as they will take, or add two teaspoons to milk formulas.
Fennel is beneficial for ailments of the respiratory systems, particularly for coughs and colds. Fennel tea is a useful remedy for flatulence. It is particularly effective when made with equal quantities of caraway and aniseed. Fennel seeds have been shown to improve the function of the liver. Fennel root is commonly used as a diuretic.
ESSENTIAL OIL / AROMATHERAPY USES
The oil is used in the manufacture of toothpaste, soap, and gripe water, and is recommended for the relief of bronchial congestion.
- A gentle warming herb for digestive problems
- Clears wind
- Promotes milk flow in nursing mothers
- Lifts the spirits
NOTES AND DOSAGES
- Fennel seed tea bags are easily available — remember to cover the cup to avoid losing any goodness in the steam.
- Fennel seeds and leaf are used in sauces for fish and mushrooms.
- Florence fennel bulbs (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce), eaten as a vegetable or in salads, are helpful as part of a regime for arthritis.
- The small amounts used in cooking and Florence fennel are quite safe.
- Fennel oil can produce an adverse reaction in certain circumstances.
Do not take large amounts in early pregnancy. Do not take the fennel and sage combination during pregnancy. Avoid fennel if you suffer from chronic gastrointestinal ailments.