Once Again Accepting Visa Cards! | Free Shipping in the Continental US on Orders Over $75!

Herb Spotlight - Fennel

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)  

Family: Apiaceae

Part Used: Seed

Flavor/Aroma: Sweet, Acrid, Oily

Energetics: Neutral, Moistening


Herbal Actions: 

Carminative, Anti inflammatory, Galactagogue, Antispasmodic, Aromatic, Stomachic, Phytoestrogenic, Expectorant, Appetite stimulant, Hepatoprotective, Antimicrobial, Relaxant

Overview:

Fennel is not only famous for its culinary uses as a sweet, licorice tasting aromatic, it also has been utilized for its medicinal qualities dating back to the ancient times of the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Chinese, and Indians.³ It was highly valued for its ability to soothe an upset stomach and aid digestion, and today it is still being used in similar ways.

Botany:

Fennel grows as an annual, biennial, or perennial herb, reaching heights of upwards of 6 feet, with fluorescent yellow flowers that sit atop bright green stalks. The flowers bloom in umbrella like patterns, with wispy, feather like leaves below.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Fennel is native to European nations, such as Spain, Italy, and France. It also grows abundantly in North America and Canada. It is also cultivated in a variety of climates across Asia and the Middle East. Fennel is best harvest after the flowers have turned to seed, and are slightly dry in appearance.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Fennel is commonly found in the wild areas of Southern Oregon, but precautions must be taken when harvesting due to its easily mistakable twin- poison hemlock. It usually grows as a perennial herb in colder climates, and its flowers attract a variety of pollinators to this region.

History and Folklore:

Ayurvedic Medicine Uses: Fennel is considered balancing to all three doshas- pitta, vata, kapha, or energy types, providing both cooling and warming properties. It was revered as the best carminative to remedy various types of stomach pain, excessive flatulence, and to increase the appetite.  

The Cherokee tribes of North America would use the seeds to soothe digestion in infants and to support women in childbirth, the Pomo tribes used fennel as an eyewash, and the Hopi tribes used fennel as a tobacco alternative for smoking.¹

Traditional Chinese Medicine Uses: Fennel was often powdered and used as a poultice for snake bites. It was also used to dispel irritations of the liver, kidneys, spleen, and stomach, specifically to increase appetite, quell nausea, and mitigate bloating.

Modern Applications:

Fennel is indicated for those who may need support with spastic coughs, congestion, to soothe the gastrointestinal tract ², relieve hiccups, constipation, bad breath, gas and bloating. It is used to regulate the menstrual cycle and support hormonal imbalances, such as menopause, due to its phytoestrogenic properties.4 The mucilaginous characteristics of fennel provide a nutritive remedy for food poisoning, kidney stones, and aid troubled digestive patterns. It is also widely used widely as a culinary spice, and may stimulate breast milk production in nursing mothers when consumed.5  

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

3-5 grams of powder per day; 1 tablespoon seeds per cup of warm water.

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to 3 times per day, and more as needed for symptomatic relief.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Fennel is safe for tonic use. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.

References:

  1. Fennel Seed. (n.d.). www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/fennel-seed/profile 
  2. Bonfrate, L., Caporaso, N., Cmpanale, MC., Guarino, M., Kohn, A. (June 25, 2016). Curcumin and Fennel Essential Oil Improve Symptoms and Quality of Life in Patients with Irritable Bowel Syndrome. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27308645 
  3. Foeniculum vulgare. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/king1854/foeniculum.html 
  4. Bekhradi, R., Golzareh, P., Mehran, A., Rahimi, R., Rahimikian, F. (September 24, 2017). Effect of Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (fennel) on menopausal symptoms in postmenopausal women: a randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled trial. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28509813 
  5. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Fennelseed.html

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.