Fennel Seed Monograph

Foeniculum vulgare
Common names:
Fennel, Bitter Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Marathos
Family: Apiaceae (formerly Umbeliferae)
Plant Parts Used: Fruit (Seeds)
Description & Habitat:
Native to Europe & the Mediterranean.  Grows freely in New Zealand, well established along river beds, railways & wastelands.  Self sows easily, loves an open sunny situation.  Grows up to 1.5 metres high.  Leaves are dark green and divided into thread like lobes.  Umbels of yellow flowers 5-8cm across.  Flowers are 2mm across.  Fruit/Seed ovoid 4-6mm long with distinct ribs.
Main Active Constituents:
1. volatile oil – anethole, fenchone, limonene, camphene, phellandrene, pinene, estragole, cymene, myrcene, sabinene, terpinene, terpinolene.
2. flavonoids – rutin, quercetin, kaempferol
3. coumarins, bergapten
4. fixed oil – petroselenic acid, oleic acid & linoleic acid
5. tannins
6. resins
7. sterols
8. protein (up to 20%)
Nutritional Constituents:
Vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C
Minerals: Potassium, Sulphur, Sodium, Calcium, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus & Zinc
Main Actions:
1. Anti-inflammatory
2. Carminative
3. Diuretic
4. Galactagogue
5. Orexigenic
6. Anti-spasmodic
7. Expectorant
8. Anti-microbial
9. Mildly oestrogenic
Medicinal Uses/Applications:
Gastrointestinal Tract
Fennels main area of use, helping with the following:
• colic (babies)
• flatulence
• intestinal cramps
• hiccoughs
• flatulent dyspepsia
• indigestion
• anorexia
• bloating
Respiratory Tract
• coughs
• bronchitis
Urinary Tract
• cystitis
Reproductive System
• breast milk production
Eyewash used for:
• blepharitis
• conjunctivits
• pharyngitis
Dosage (3 x daily):
Decoction: 0.9 – 2gms
Contraindicated if you have a known sensitivity/allergy.
No known drug interactions.
Do not use during pregnancy.
Compatible with breastfeeding – used to enhance lactation.
Naturalus Products with Foeniculum vulgare:
History & Folklore:
Historically used to treat epilepsy, counter poison & venom, relieve headaches (in the form of snuff) and as a breath freshener (when chewed).  Used as a diuretic; urinary stones; nausea; opening obstructions of the liver, spleen, gall bladder; jaundice; gout; dyspnoea; wheezing; aid in menstruation and delivery of placenta; make fat people lean; for longevity & to deter fleas.  
Folklore has fennel as a magical herb, a sure defence against evil.  In Greek Mythology, Prometheus concealed the fire of the sun in a hollow fennel stalk and brought it down to earth from heaven for the human race.  The Greek name for fennel is marathon or marathos, and the place of the famous battle of Marathon and the subsequent sports event Marathon, literally means a plain with fennels.
Research Links: