Fennel  

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This herbal plant mostly can be grouped with herbs having  volatile oil.

It is produced in Egypt from a long time ago.

It is known in common language as fennel or fennel seeds, hinojo, fenkel, in Arabic as shamar while its botanical name is: Foeniculum vulgare.

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The fennel seeds are used from a long time ago in ancient civilizations such as the Egyptians and the Chinese in medicine to relieve mostly stomaches and indigestion.

Ancient Chinese and Hindus used Fennel as a remedy for snake bites and scorpion stings.

The Romans believed that fennel improved stamina and eyesight.

In the Middle Ages it was hung over doorways to ward off evil spirits or Seeds were stuffed into keyholes to protect the house from evil spirits. The aroma was used to repel insects.

Indians chew Fennel Seeds at the end of a meal to aid digestion and freshen the breath.

Greek athletes ate Fennel to keep up their strength and keep down their weight.

Fennel was also used to improve the libido.

However, other parts such as the leaves and roots were used in ancient times. This aromatic plant has pale, celery-like stems with emerald green, feathery foliage, and a characteristic anise-like flavor.

The fennel seeds are mostly widely used nowadays.

Fennel Seeds are oval, light brown and have a subtle, sweet anise-like flavour. Fennel is an aromatic herb with many benefits for the digestive and respiratory systems. The colour of the seeds ranges from yellow to greenish-brown.Anethole is the principal flavour - giving volatile oil.

Uses

Fennel is used in cooking and also used in medicine in the form of herbal remedies.

In cooking Fennel complements  fish, veal, potatoes, rice, eggs, cheese, pickles. In the kitchen you can use the green parts of the plant as well as the seeds. The flavour of fennel is similar to that of aniseed and goes very well with marinades, soups and salads.

In Italy, it is used to season salmon and a salami called finocchiona.

It is widely used to flavour an increasing range of soups and stews.

Stimulating the appetite is obviously an important action when treating the debilitated and chronically ill. Fennel tea is traditionally used as a galactogogue [it increases the flow of milk in nursing mothers] and to disperse wind and alleviate spasm caused by colic in infants.

Fennel tea made with the crushed seeds can be useful when slimming because it suppresses the appetite and breaks down fat. Fennel seeds are aromatic and often prescribed for flatulence, colic, and as a stimulant for the appetite. They are also used to make an infusion as an effective remedy for bronchitis and coughs or the relief of fever and during convalescence. The cold infusion may be used as an eyewash to treat conjunctivitis and inflammation. The essential oil eases muscular, arthritic and rheumatic pains. An infusion of the leaves is used to treat the nervous system.

 

Other Uses:

Diuretic, anti-spasmodic, tonic, galactogogue.

It is useful for indigestion, bloating, wind, IBS and mild constipation.

In addition, it is a gentle expectorant and urinary disinfectant.

It also acts as a cleansing and stimulating herb to support effective liver function.

Babies that suffer from colic will benefit from drinking two teaspoons of fennel tea after each feed. As an inhalation, fennel volatile oil is also used in travel sickness. 

Fennel seeds contains phyto-oestrogens which are helpful in menopausal and menstrual problems. 

 In cosmetics, an infusion used as a compress is excellent for softening rough chapped hands. Pour hot water over the leaves and stems for a cleansing facial steam bath.


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