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Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare) of the Apiaceae (Carrot) family.
Action: Aromatic, Anti-inflammatory, Antispasmodic, carminative, digestive and appetite stimulant, expectorant, hepatic, and galactagogue.
Fennel contains a synergistic blend of volatile oils such as antheole (oil-soluble phenylpropanoid) and fenchone. Fennel pairs well with other volatile oil-rich herbs such as cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), peppermint (Mentha piperita), rosemary (Rosemarinus officinalis) when your goal is to relieve colic, suppress spasms, reduce inflammation, and assist the removal of flatulence from the digestive system. Fennel helps treat respiratory conditions like coughing and bronchitis. It has also been used externally as a compress for the reduction of inflammation in the eye and eyelids.
As a nervine relaxant fennel can be combined with antispasmodic herbs such as lobelia (Lobelia inflata), kava (Piper methysticum), chamomile (Matricaria recutita), catnip (Nepeta cataria), and more.
Fennel has helped increase milk flow in nursing mothers. Other herbs that may combine well include fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-gracum), blessed thistle (Cnicus benedictus), and goat’s rue (Galega officinalis).
Fennel contains quercetin a flavonol that is anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, anti-carcinogenic, and inhibits mast cell degranulation.
Preparations & Dosage:
1:5 Tincture of 60 to 65% ethanol 1 to 2 ml three times a day.
Pour one cup of boiling water over one tablespoon of crushed seed and allow it to steep covered for ten minutes. Drink a half of a cup of the infusion thirty minutes before each meal. A range of daily consumption is anywhere from 0.9 to 7 grams of fennel.
Cautions/Notes: Fennel may enable the onset of menstruation (emmenagogue) so it is contraindicated in early pregnancy however, with caution it can be used later on. Avoid an excess (more than 2 liters a day) of fennel while breast-feeding. Restrict inhalation of fennel essential oil by toddlers under two years old. No other side effects have been reported.
Herbal constituents Foundations of Phytochemistry. Lisa Ganora
Herbal Contraindications and Drug Interactions plus Herbal Adjuncts with Medicines. Francis Brinker, N.D.
Medical Herbalism The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. David Hoffman, FNIMH, AHG.