An herb entry from the Ancient Herbs and Modern Herbs book by James K. Sayre, Copyright, 2001. All rights reserved.
Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare (Foeniculum officinale) (Foeniculum capillaceum) (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce) (Foeniculum dulce) (Anethum foeniculum) - family: Umbelliferace (Carrot Family).
This perennial plant grows up to ten feet high. It has fragrant finely-fringed
leaves and in the summer produces clusters (umbels) of yellow flowers. The
flowers are followed by aromatic gray-brown seeds. This is one of the ancient
herbs that has been used as a food and as a spice by man for thousands of
years. Used as protection against witches in Europe and England during the
Middle Ages. This is an edible herb; its seeds, roots and greens have been
traditionally used as food sources in Europe. Also, tea of crushed seeds
has been traditionally used in Europe as a remedy for heartburn, indigestion
and intestinal gas. Approved by the German Commission E as a remedy for
bronchitis, coughs and indigestion. Modern American and European folk use
of crushed seeds as a remedy for constipation, inflammatory bowel disease
and stress. Also, this tea from crushed seeds has been used as a gargle
and a mouthwash for bad breath, gum inflammations and sore throats. Under
the name Shatapushpa, Fennel has been traditionally used as one of the Ayurvedic
medicinal herbs. Essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Note: handling foliage
may cause photosensitivity and contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals.
Note: don't eat essential fennel oil: it may disturb the body's nervous
system. Note: epileptics and young children should not use fennel oil. The
seeds have been traditionally used as a insect repellent, especially for
fleas. Listed in the United States Pharmacopoeias from 1820 to 1970. Traditional
European folk use as a strewing herb. Native to the Mediterranean area.
Naturalized in eastern, central and western North America. Naturalized in
California. It is grown as an ornamental and as an herb in North America
and has at least six cultivars.
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Web page last updated on 21 May 2003.