Fennel: excellent remedy for colic and flatulence. Helps increase milk flow in breastfeeding ...

Common Names: Fennel

Botanical Name: Foeniculum vulgare

Family: Apiaceae

Plant Type: Tender Perennial

Parts Used: Leaves and seeds

Flowering: July and August

Fennel is generally considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, but has become widely naturalized elsewhere and may now be found growing wild in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on river-banks.

Description: It is erect, light bluish-green, and grows to heights of up to 2.5 m, with hollow stems. The leaves grow up to 40 cm long; they are finely dissected, with the ultimate segments filiform (threadlike), about 0.5 mm wide. (Its leaves are similar to those of dill, but thinner.) The flowers are produced in terminal compound umbels 5–15 cm wide, each umbel section having 20–50 tiny yellow flowers on short pedicels. The fruit is a dry seed from 4–10 mm long, half as wide or less, and grooved.

Cultivation: Fennel is a tender perennial (hardy to zone 6) which is grown as a annual in colder areas. It prefers average, well-drained soil in full sun, with a pH of 6.5.

Harvesting: Harvest leaves any time, then use fresh, or freeze for future use. Pick flowers in late summer and use fresh. Collect seeds when ripe in autumn; dry for storage.

Culinary Uses: Fennel has a softer licorice flavor than anise. Use the leaves and seeds of sweet fennel; the stalk and bulb of Florence fennel. Use the leaves in salads; eat the stalks like celery. The seeds are used in desserts, breads, and beverages.

Fennel Magick

Protection. Healing. Purification.

Gender: Masculine

Planet: Mercury

Element: Fire

 Grow fennel around your home for protection.

Use the seeds as incense to bless any new activities.

Use fennel in purification sachets and healing mixtures.

Hangs sprigs at the doors and windows to keep out evil spirits.

Add a few seeds to your bathwater to strengthen your body, help you relax, and clear your mind.

Herbal Healing with Fennel

Cosmetic Uses: Fennel is cleansing and medicating; use in steam facials to help open pores. It's used commercially in lotions, perfumes, and soaps.

Medicinal Actions: Antibacterial, antidote, antiemetic, antifungal, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, aperitif, appetite, astringent, calmative, carminative, decongestant, depurative, detoxifier, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, estrogenic, expectorant, galactagogue, hepatic, insect repellent, insecticide, laxative, parasiticide, regulator (female reproductive system), resolvent, revitalizing, stimulant (uterine contractions, estrogen levels), stomachic, tonic, vermifuge

Medicinal Uses: Fennel increases milk flow in nursing mothers and relieves infant colic. It stimulates appetite and digestion, and soothes upset stomachs. It also calms bronchitis and coughs. Use externally to treat muscular and rheumatic pains; or use as a compress to treat conjunctivitis or inflammation of the eyelids.

Body Care with Fennel

  • To relieve indigestion, take 1 cup fennel seed infusion up to three times daily, as required.

  • For a deep facial skin cleanse, use a fennel steam inhalation.

Infusion: Crush 1/2 teaspoon dried fennel seeds and infuse in 1 cup just-boiled water for 10 minutes. Strain.

Inhalation: Place 2 teaspoons crushed fennel seeds or 2 handfuls of fresh fennel leaves in a bowl with 3 litres (12 cups) boiling water.

Source: The Essential Herbs Handbook by Lesley Bremness

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Steep the recommended quantity of leaves or flowers of the herb in one cup of just-boiled water for 10 minutes (this makes one dose). Strain before drinking, or leave the herbs as sprigs and simply remove them. Always cover infusions if you intend to store them, and use them within 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Place the relevant quantity of herbs in 800ml cold water (makes three doses) in a pan. Boil, then simmer for 1 hour to reduce the liquid by a third. Strain through a fine sieve into a jug and store, in a cool place, for up to 24 hours. Drink hot or cold.


Tinctures can be used to prepare roots or leaves. They include alcohol and water to extract the properties from the herbs which would not be available if a water preparation alone was used. It is possible to replace the alcohol with glycerol or vinegar.

A tincture will last for up to two years, which makes it a very convenient method if you intend long-term use of the herbs.

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