Fennel

Foeniculum Vulgare

An aromatic perennial that grows on stout, cylindrical stems to approximately 1.5m (5ft) in height. It has dark green, feathery leaves, umbels of yellow flowers with 14-15 rays and small, ridged oval-shaped fruit.

Family: Apiaceae

Which probiotic is it in?: Fennel is a key herb in Women and Detox

Habit and cultivation: Fennel grows wild in most parts of temperate Europe and globally. Generally considered a native of the Mediterranean region. It grows wild on dry soils near the sea coast and river banks, flourishing particularly well in limestone soils.The seeds are harvested in autumn. Loves sunny dry environments.

Actions (known for): Hepatoprotective, bitter, anti-diabetic, anti-lipemic and diuretic.

History

Named by the Romans, derived from the Latin foenum meaning hay. Cultivated by the Romans for its aromatic fruits and succulent edible shoots. It was used in medieval times to ward off evil influences and witchcraft. The Spanish recorded it as early as 961AD for agricultural purposes. The seeds were also discovered in the tombs of the Egyptian pharaohs. Has a long reputation for strengthening eye sight and used for its carminative properties.

Parts used:

Seeds.

Constituents (bio available chemicals):

Sesquiterpene, lactone, cynaropicrin (strongly bitter) and insulin.

Nutritional constituents:

Vitamins: ProVitamin A, B1, B2 and C.

Indications:

Flatulence and colic (especially with babies), stimulates appetite and digestion. Enhances lactation, promotes menstruation, facilitates birth, calms effects of bronchial cough. Externally: the oil eases muscular and rheumatic pain. Eye wash or compress to treat conjunctivitis and blepharitis.

Dosage:

Tincture: 1-2ml, Liquid extract: (1:2), 20-40ml per week.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia

Cautions for therapeutic doses

The ‘celery-carrot-mugwort-spice’ syndrome well known in Europe. People with sensitivities to carrot may also have allergic reactions to other vegetables and spices from the Apiaceae family.

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