Fennel Seed

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Foeniculum Vulgare (Fennel Seed)

Foeniculum Vulgare also known as Fennel, Sweet Fennel or Bitter fennel is native to the Mediterranean but can be cultivated around the globe, they grow with yellow flowers and bloom blue fruit that turn gray-brown when ripe. The seeds are often used for medicinal purposes while the fresh bulb is used for culinary uses.1 Fennel seeds are gathered in the autumn season.2
Historically fennel seeds have been used in cooking and meal preparation for upwards to 2000 years and were also traditionally used to relieve snakebites and were known for promoting life longevity. During the middle ages, the plant was thought to be an antidote to witchcraft.2, 3
The primary use of fennel seeds is to relieve bloating, assist with stomach pain, and increase appetite. When the seeds are infused, they are excellent in promoting digestion, constipation relief, and reducing abdominal bloating. Hence, fennel is a common stomach and intestinal remedy, and was traditionally used for relieving intestinal colic, nausea, dyspepsia, diarrhea and flatulence. Studies have also found fennel to be helpful in the treatment of kidney stones.2
Fennel seeds can also be used to aid in relieving coughs such as in bronchitis, due to it’s calming and soothing effects. Moreover, for nursing mothers it has also been used to increase milk flow, for women experiencing difficult milk lactation production.4, 5
Other health benefits of fennel seeds include topical uses as a compress to treat external eye conditions including conjunctivitis and blepharitis.6 In addition it can also be used for irritable bowel syndrome and may be an aid in assisting with weight loss.5
1. Godfrey, Anthony and Saunders Paul R. Principles and Practice of Naturopathic Botanical Medicine: Volume I: Botanical Medicine Monographs. CCNM Press Inc, 2010. Print.
2. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
3. Stuart, Malcolm. The Encyclopedia of Herbs & Herbalism. Classic Bookshops, 1979. Print.
4. Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press: 2003. Print.
5. Bone, Kerry. The Ultimate Herbal Compendium: A Desktop Guide for Herbal Prescribers. Phytotherapy Press, 2007. Print. 
6. Talbott, Shawn M. A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements. New York: Haworth, 2003. Print.


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