fennel large Fennel

fennel| Foeniculum vulgare

general characteristics

general characteristics

Common names include fennel, fenkel, sweet fennel, wild fennel


Not the swollen white aniseed tasting bulb which is Florence fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. azoricum), fennel is an upright perennial plant belonging to the Umbelliferae family. It has feathery leaves which produces clusters of small yellow flowers in summer which go on to bear the seeds, it can reach 4-5 feet in height.

Fennel has been in use as a culinary and medicinal herb for many centuries. It is a native of Europe but will grow in any favourable location. It prefers a sunny location with free drainage.


Fennel seed dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.


harvesting and preparation

harvesting and preparation

The seeds are harvested when they are brown, before they drop from the flower heads. You can snip off the whole seed head and place upside down on a tray lined with paper. This way the seeds will drop nicely and continue to dry on the paper. Store in a cool dark place in an airtight jar.


The seeds can be take whole but are better for a light crushing, with a pestle and mortar or the back of a spoon. This helps to release their essential oils and make them more flavorful. They make a delicious aromatic and flavoursome addition to cakes, breads etc.

fennel seed dried herb and tincture are available to buy in our herbal shop.



therapeutic actions and uses

therapeutic actions and uses

Fennel seeds are rich in antioxidants, anti-bacterial substances (especially the essential oil), are antispasmodic (relieve spasm), pain relieving (reduces sensitivity to painful stimuli), are mildly expectorant, coumarins (which thin the blood) and they act as a warming yet calming tonic to digestion.

In many countries they are still considered a herb of longevity and strength and are shown to help improve the memory.


Increases production of breast milk in lactating mothers, usually mixed in formula with other galactagogue herbs.


Fennel seeds have a marked oestrogenic action (see caution) and can be used to ease menstrual pain, bring on absent or delayed menstruation, ease some symptoms of the menopause such as unwanted hair growth (hirsutism) in women, anxiety, insomnia, hot flushes and loss of bone density. They increase sexual desire as they are a mild aphrodisiac.


Can also be taken as whole seeds (added to muesli for example) and/or as a tea to help prevent osteoporosis as fennel seed lessens bone destruction by slowing the activities of osteoclast cells (cells that break down bone). They also seem to increase/stabilise mineral concentrations in the bones.


Fennel seeds are very useful in digestive issues such as bloating, intestinal spasms, flatulence,  gastritis....in fact inflammation anywhere in the digestive tract (any condition ending in '- itis'), irritable bowel, general indigestion and upset stomach, colic in babies, heartburn, peptic and duodenal (small intestine) ulcers, nausea and vomiting (including morning sickness), acid reflux, pyloric stenosis, pain from appendicitis, bad breath due to digestive issues,  improve the appetite in anorexia and other eating disorders..... They also make a good companion to herbs used for constipation as they help ease any spasm and pain that may arise form stronger laxative herbs.

It also has a general tonic effect on other organs such as the pancreas and spleen and protect the liver from toxicity.


They help to reduce high blood sugar levels in the blood.


Helps reduce blood pressure in the eye in glaucoma, has been used historically as an eyewash for improving weak vision and eye health generally.


The seeds can also be chewed to ease coughs and sore throats.


Historically the seeds have been used to treat nervousness and headache.


They also help in formulas to combat obesity and encourage weight loss.


Fennel seeds have an anti-ageing effect on the skin.


Fennel seeds have a diuretic action (increase urine output) and can be used in formulas to treat kidney and bladder stones.


Fennel seeds have shown to protect against cancer and tumour growth and help protect the body against the effects of chemotherapy.


Here is an extensive monogram on the components and medicinal applications of fennel.






dosage and cautions

dosage and cautions


* Long term regular use of fennel seeds (in medicinal doses) can lead to signs of oestrogen increase and should be carefully monitored in babies and young girls and those who already have oestrogen excess (fibroids, endometriosis, ovarian cysts etc) or need to avoid extra oestrogen intake. Premature breast development has been noted in some young girls who take regular, medicinal doses of fennel seed tea. Some post-menopausal women have reported their periods returned after regular medicinal doses also.

* Avoid in medicinal doses during pregnancy due to their oestrogenic activity.



Tincture: 2 - 4ml, up to 3 times daily.

Dried herb in tea form: 1 - 2 teaspoons of lightly crushed seeds per cup, infuse for 10 minutes, up to 3 cups daily. Alternatively, chew up a teaspoonful of whole dried seeds.


* Fennel seeds (whole, crushed or powdered) are often used to sweeten other herbal teas and make them more palatable.


Add 12 to the child’s age. Divide the child’s age by the total.
E.g. dosage for a 4 year old...... 4 {age} divided by 16 {age + 12} = . 25  or 1/4 of the adult dosage.
* For colic, use as part of formula containing other aromatic seeds such as dill and caraway in infants and only for short periods of a few days.





Child watering plants




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