Tips for using fennel in herbal medicine and home remedies

As a medicinal herb, the seeds, bulbs, and stems of fennel are used to reduce flatulence, aid digestion, regulate appetite, fight infection, increase flow of milk in nursing mothers, and to heal snake bites. The active ingredients in fennel help sooth and protect the small and large intestines. Anyone eating fast food on a regular basis should consume lots of fennel.

Woman increases milk flow with fennel
© Niderlander | Dreamstime Stock Photos

Fennel tea increases milk flow in nursing mothers keeping baby well nourished.

Fennel is a useful medicinal herb.

Fennel seeds, bulbs, and stems are used to reduce gas and increase milk flow in nursing mothers. Fennel seeds help indigestion and fennel root helps gout. Fennel seeds are good for colic, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and coughs due to colds. Fennel is also used to treat gum disorders, loose teeth, laryngitis, and sore throats. Fennel root decoctions (strong teas) are effective in preventing kidney stones and reducing high uric acid content which makes it good for fighting gout. Fennel is a mild diuretic. It also increases bile production, reduces pain, and cools a fever.

Fennel has a delicious, distinctive taste.

Fennel (Feoniculum vulgare or officinale) tastes like anise (which is used in licorice candy). It is a well known culinary herb. Fennel is used to flavor pickles, candies, breads, and liqueurs. It is a perfect seasoning for fish and the bulbs make a delicious vegetable.

Fennel seed tea is easy to make.

Fennel seed tea is easy to make. Just crush or grind a tablespoon of the seeds, then simmer them in two cups of water for five to ten minutes. Keep the pot covered. Cool, strain, and drink a portion three times a day.

Using fennel essential oil in chest rubs

Fennel is rich in volatile oils that have estrogen like qualities. These oils calm smooth muscle spasms. Fennel essential oil is often added to chest rubs along with thyme essential oil, eucalyptus essential oil, and almond oil. This rub is an effective treatment for coughs. Rub on to throat, chest, and back using gentle circular motions. Do not take essential oils internally!

Fennel has a long history.

Fennel is originally from Europe and has been cultivated in Asia and Egypt for thousands of years. In medieval times people chewed fennel seeds to subdue growling stomachs. Fennel infusions were used to tighten wrinkled skin and to bathe tired eyes.

Using fennel seeds and bulbs in the kitchen

The tasty seeds can be chewed or added to food. The bulbous stems are used like celery. Eat raw, cooked, in sauces, in soups, and in stews. Fennel leaves are good with fish and make a fine sauce for pork chops.

Fennel sauce recipe:

To make fennel sauce, add 5 tablespoons of chopped fennel leaves to 1 cup cream, lightly whipped. Stir in 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over cooked chops and return to oven until hot.

Fennel plants in the garden

Fennel is a perennial that does well here in North Georgia. One planting will last for several years if not dug for the roots. The plant reaches 3-7 feet tall and resembles a feathery fern or dill weed. The bright green stems produce flat clusters of golden flowers. Sow seeds directly into the garden or start in pots. Grow in full sun and light, well-drained soil.

Two types of fennel

One type of fennel is grown for it's large, tasty seeds (herb fennel – Foeniculum vulgare). Another type of fennel is grown for its bulbous root which is used as a vegetable like celery or artichoke (Florence fennel or Finocchio – Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce).

* Do not use fennel tincture or capsules for more than six weeks. Avoid fennel during pregnancy. Do not use high doses of fennel in cases of estrogen dependent cancers.

Learn more about fennel essential oil.

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Herb Articles by Janice Boling

"The only way to really learn about herbal medicine is to touch and smell herbs, taste them, use them daily, and grow them if possible. Herbal medicine is a way of life. It is not a quick fix." ... , herbalist, web designer, writer, photographer

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