Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Family: Apiaceae

Parts commonly used: Seed (fruit).

Properties/energetics: Carminative, aromatic, antispasmodic, expectorant, diuretic, galactagogue/Warm; spicy, sweet.

Systems predominantly affected:  Digestive, respiratory, urinary.

Uses: Fennel’s effects have a warming, respiring, and loosening nature. Fennel warms and stimulates the digestive organs, especially when they become sluggish. This warmth relieves gas and headaches related to improper digestion. It’s an excellent stomach and intestinal remedy for treating flatulence and colic conditions (wonderful for infants and children), while also stimulating healthy appetite and digestion. It also helps children by stimulating milk production in nursing mothers. Fennel frees the respiratory system, rendering a calming antispasmodic effect on coughs and bronchitis. It gives a delicious flavor and aromatic lift to herbal blends and cough syrups.

Combinations: Combines extremely well with Catnip, Chamomile, and Lemon Balm for treating childhood fever ailments (measles, mumps, chicken pox) as well as nervous, respiratory, digestive, and intestinal conditions (colic, colds).

Affects on specific body types: The seeds of this plant are useful for all constitutional types. It is particularly useful for Warrior digestion because it doesn’t contain the stimulating properties of other carminative herbs such as Ginger and Prickly Ash. Useful for expelling gas from the upper and lower gastrointestinal tract.

Preparations/dosage: Infusion: Grind the Fennel seeds and infuse them. Drink 1 cup three times a day. Tincture: 25 to 40 drops three times a day. Externally: Apply the infusion as a compress on closed eyelids to treat eye inflammation and eyestrain, or blend with Red Raspberry or Thimbleberry (A common Pacific Northwest wild plant) leaves for a soothing eyewash for red, inflamed eyes. Fennel essential oil diluted in a fixed oil and rubbed into skin or applied as a compress will ease muscular and rheumatic pains.

Other uses: Fennel seeds promote milk flow and makes breast milk even more digestible for infants. The herb will help the baby avoid colic.

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition