Fennel has a licorice aniseed flavour and smell. Fennel's health and medicine uses are the following:
- Stimulate for milk production for nursing mothers, particularly if boiled with barley.
- Anti-flatulent and good for indigestion; used for gas, acid stomach, gout and colic in infants (useful in making gripewater).
- Fennel seed tea good for upset stomach.
- Expectorant and helps reduce catarrh (either as a syrup or tea).
- Reduces weight (reputation of making overweight people lean in classical Greece).
- A tisane made with fennel can be helpful in maintaining weight control.
- Inflammed eyes and conjunctivitis: use a compress steeped in fennel tea, place on the eyes, or use an eyewash from the tea of the herb to soothe eyes.
- Strengthens eyes and is reported to improve sight.
- A tea made by the herb can be applied to ease insect bits.
- Fennel rubbed through hands and placed on body as a flea repellant; likewise rub hands through fennel fronds and rub into your cat or dog. Repel fleas around kennels and pet sleeping quarters with fennel fronds.
Should not be taken while pregnant as can stimulate the uterus.
May also increase menstrual flow.
Essential oil: 1 drop massaged over stomach, particularly good for children.
Herbal oil: 1 or 2 teaspoons massaged over stomach (not as strong as the essential oil)
Infusion: 1 teaspoon per cup, steep 10 minutes.
Sources: Claire Loewenfeld and Philippa Back Herbs for Health and Cookery.
Gary & Steve Null, The Complete Handbook of Nutrition.