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Fennel – (Foeniculum vulgare)


Native to the Mediterranean, fennel has spread to most parts of the world. All parts of this plant are edible. The plant gives us a vegetable (the bulb), a herb (the leaves), and a spice (the seeds). Growing to a height of four or five feet tall, it is a stunning plant in the garden. The lacy tops and yellow flower umbels are very attractive. The plant will happily reseed itself every year. It is part of the parsley family, and you can see a resemblance in the stalks of the plant. In Medieval Europe, it was combined with St. John's wort to ward off witchcraft and other evil influences and was consumed in great quantities by both the rich and the poor to aid digestion and to improve unsavory food.

Key Medicinal Uses

Internally – Fennel is used in a syrup for chronic coughs. An herbal tea can be made from the bruised seeds that is effective for indigestion. The herb may have diuretic effects. It also contains compounds that reduce fever and pain; it also has anti-microbial action. It is also used to improve the flavor of other medicines. It may be a good herbal remedy to help ease gout, cramping and jaundice.

Externally – Fennel has historically been used as an eye wash.

Other Uses – Fennel can be used to increase the milk supply for nursing mothers when consumed as a tea. It is also used sometimes in natural toothpastes, and in India, people often chew the seeds to freshen their breath. It is also eaten as a spice and as a vegetable. It is frequently used in pastries and confections. It has also been shown to be an effective flea deterrent.

Herbs to Combine/Supplement

Fennel has been combined with licorice powder for some formulations for gas and upset stomach. It has also been combined with other herbs and bicarbonate of soda to make "Gripe Water".

Parts Used

Seeds, leaves, bulbs – The seeds are used, as well as the essential oil. The herb can be made into a tincture or extract. The bulb is eaten as a vegetable and the leafy parts can be used in food as garnish and seasoning.


Consuming large quantities may cause hallucinations and muscle cramps.

Preparation and Dosage

Fennel extract should be taken in doses of 5 to 30 drops. Oil should be taken in doses of 1 to 5 drops at a time. When making a tea, pour half a pint of boiling water over a teaspoonful of bruised seeds.

Fennel Herbal Remedies Top