Fennel Herb – Uses And Side Effects


Fennel usually is obtained from the seeds of foeniculum vulgare, from which the essential oil is extracted. Some people also use the plant’s root for cooking or other purposes.

Fennel, a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves, grows wild in most parts of temperate Europe, but is generally considered indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean, whence it spreads eastwards to India. It has followed civilization, especially where Italians have colonized, and may be found growing wild in many parts of the world upon dry soils near the sea-coast and upon river-banks. Seeds should be sown directly in the garden in the late spring. Seedlings do not transplant well. The deep taproots are difficult to pull up, so remove unwanted seedlings while young. The plant will self-sow generously. To maintain a continuous supply of fresh leaves throughout the season, sow a few seeds every 10 days.

Common doses of Fennel

Fennel comes as volatile oil in water-2% (Sweet Fennel) and 4% (Bitter Fennel). Some experts recommend the following dose:

  • For digestive problems, 0.1 to 0.6 milliliter of the oil taken daily or 5 to 7 grams of the fruit taken daily.

Uses of Fennel herb

As a herb, fennel leaves are used in French and Italian cuisine’s in sauces for fish and in mayonnaise. In Italy fennel is also used to season pork roasts and spicy sausages, especially the Florentine salami finocchiona

  • To enhance sex drive
  • To increase lactation in breast-feeding women
  • To promate childbirth and delivery
  • To stimulate menstruation
  • Chinese and Hindus used it as a snakebite remedy

Other Uses

Chew the seeds as a breath freshener.

Side effects of Fennel

Call your health care practitioner if you experience any of these possible side effects of fennel:

  • nausea
  • skin irritation from sunlight exposure
  • pulmonary edema
  • seizures
  • tumors


Combining herbs with certain drugs may alter their action or produce unwanted side effects. Tell your health care practitioner about any prescription or nonprescription drugs you’re taking.

Important points to remember

  • Know that you could be allergic to fennel if you’re allergic to members of the same plant family, such as celery, carrots, or mugwort.
  • Don’t use fennel medicinally if you’re pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • Stay out of the sun if you experience skin irritation.
  • If you grow fennel, don’t confuse it with hemlock, which may cause death if eaten.

What the research shows

Because fennel hasn’t been studied scientifically, medical experts don’t recommend using the herb to treat any medical condition.

Other names for Fennel : –

Other names for fennel include aneth fenouil, bitter fennel, carosella, common fennel, fenchel, fenchel, fenouille, finocchio, Florence fennel, funcho, garden fennel, hinojo, large fennel, sweet fennel, and wild fennel.

Preparation and Storage

Seeds can be used whole or ground in a spice mill or mortar and pestle. Store away from light in airtight containers.

Products containing fennel are sold under such names as Bitter Fennel and Sweet Fennel.

Useful References

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