Ancient Roman Herb: Fennel

Ancient Romans believed that serpents would suck the juice of the fennel plant in an attempt to improve their eyesight, so what does fennel do for humans? Pliny would go on to write that fennel was good for treating the “dimness of human vision.” During medieval times, the herb helped to ease a rumbling stomach that may arise during church lectures. Back then , they would chew on the seeds to ease their gastric protests. Today, the herb is known to accomplish much more.


Fennel has a warming effect, accompanied by a dry, pungent, sweet taste. Significant components contained in the herb includes volatile oils, essential fatty acids, flavonoids, vitamins, and minerals, which help intensify its healing properties. When creating an herbal remedy that includes fennel, it is the seeds, root, and essential oil one will concentrate on.


The Seeds


The seeds of the fennel plant are known to provide a soothing result in digestion, where the seeds also encourage the flow of milk in breast-feeding mothers. When nursing mothers embrace the herb into their life, they possess the power to relieve a colicky babe’s symptoms. Within Chinese medicine, the seeds (also known as hui xiang) may help treat the spleen and kidneys, as well as restore the balance within the urinary and reproductive systems. The harvesting of the seeds should take place in the fall when they are ripe.


The seeds of the fennel plant create decent infusions, tinctures, decoctions, and mouthwashes. A fennel infusion is useful in treating the digestive system, which should be consumed after eating a meal. An individual stands to ease their flatulence, indigestion, and colic concerns. A decoction of fennel is a staple in Chinese medicine, as it treats stomach chills, colic, and abdominal pains. The tincture also aids digestive problems and when combined with laxatives (like senna or rhubarb root), colic is treated. An herbal mouthwash made with fennel helps loose teeth, gun disorders, laryngitis, and a sore throat.


Essential Oil


The seeds are used to create the essential oil through the process of distillation. People then use the oil to treat digestive problems, as well as coughs and other respiratory concerns, as it also serves as a mild expectorant. The essential oil makes a great chest rub, which is made combining a total of 25 drops of thyme, eucalyptus, and fennel oils with 25 milliliters of sunflower or almond oil.


Fennel Root


While the root of the fennel plant is not considered as effective as the seeds, it is still used in similar ways. Today, the root is often set aside for treating disorders of the urinary tract. In the late fall, the root is harvested, where some people even use the bulbous stems as a vegetable. A decoction made of fennel root treats urinary concerns, such as kidney stones and disorders that bring about a high uric acid concentration within the body.


Fennel Cautions


Since fennel is a uterine stimulant, it is suggested to avoid taking high does of the herb if you are pregnant. Keep in mind that small amounts of the herb are still safe when cooking.