AKA: finocchio, carosella, Florence fennel
RX: chew seeds for a digestive aid, infusion, tincture
Fennel relaxes the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract and also helps expel gas. Traditionally used to stimulate the uterus into menstruation. This herb may also help fight prostate cancer.
Fennel is used by women trying to get pregnant. This helps to clear the fallopian tubes caused by infections and other conditions and balances female hormones.
All parts of the fennel plant are considered safe for human consumption and it is widely used in culinary dishes for a nutty flavoring. Fennel tea has a soothing effect on the stomach, making it widely used for a multitude of digestion issues. In fact, many herbalist will recommend that fennel be used along with flax seed as part of a daily regime to a healthy body. Due to the nutty flavoring it suits itself well to be sprinkled on salads and soups for an easy way to add fennel to your diet.
The only known side effect of fennel being ingested is with nursing mothers. It is believed it will help increase the flow of milk when nursing. It has been used in this way since the days of Hippocrates and Dioscorides. They recommended that nursing mothers chew on the seeds as you would celery to keep the flow of milk progressing as the baby required more milk. It was also believed during the medieval time that fennel would help break up kidney stones, cure the hiccups, prevent gout and nausea, clear the liver and lungs of mucus, and was an antidote to poisonous mushrooms.
Warnings: Since fennel has an estrogenic effect do not use if you are using birth control pills, have a history of abnormal clotting , or estrogen dependant breast tumors. Do NOT ingest fennel oil, seeds are fine but the oil may cause nausea, vomiting or possible seizures.