Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel Overview:

Fennel is a popular culinary herb and medicinal species across the world. It is so far distriubuted, there are reportedly over 100 common names for the herb depending on where you are in the world.

The best use of fennel is likely to be its activity on the digestive tract. It is high in volatile oils, and works to relax the smooth muscle of the digestive tract, and reduce the buildup of gas in the digestive tract. The carminative action of fennel is among the most reliable in the world.

Traditional uses of fennel mainly combine it with cooking, such as with fatty meals like fish or meat to eliminate any side effects from the large meal, while imparting its own unique flavor.


Main Herbal Actions:

  • Carminative
  • Appetite suppressant
  • Spasmolytic
  • Galactagogue
  • Antimicrobial
  • Expectorant
  • Estrogenic
  • Cytoprotective
  • Hypoglycemic
  • Nootropic

Main Uses:

Fennel is mainly used for the digestive system as a carminative to relieve gas and bloating, and to relax the smooth muscle of the digestive tract with dyspepsia, cramping, colic, vomiting, and diarrhea. It can also be used for IBS and other inflammatory conditions of the bowel and is a useful appetite stimulant for anorexia.

In the respiratory tract, fennel is used as an expectorant, and spasmolytic for coughs. Fennel is also used to stimulate the production of milk in breastfeeding mothers, and as a nootropic to improve learning and memory.

Topically, fennel is used for ulcerations, cuts, bruises, eye infections, and arthritis.


Daily Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

3-6 mL

Weekly Dosage

Liquid Extract

Ratio: 1:2

20-40 mL


Part Used

Seeds, leaves, roots

Family Name



Thought to originate from the Mediterranian but has spread all over the world.

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Constituents of Interest

  • Anechol
  • Dianethole

Common Names

  • Fennel
  • Foeniculi fructus (Latin)
  • Bitterfenchel (Germany)
  • Finocchio (Italy)
  • Xian hui xiang (China)
  • Erva-doce (Brazil)
  • Hinojo (Ecuador)

Botanical Info:

Fennel is a member of the Apiaceae family of plants, which comprises 434 genera and 3700 species. The vast majority of the Apiaceae species are arromatic, and include many well known herbal medicinal species or culinary spices including:

  • Angelica archangelica (Angelica)
  • Pimpinella anisum (Anise)
  • Ferula assa-foetida (Asafoetida)
  • Carum carvi (Caraway)
  • Daucus carota (Carrot)
  • Apium graviolens (Celery)
  • Anthriscus cerefollium (Chervil)
  • Coriandrum sativum (Coriander)(Cilantro)
  • Cuminum cyminum (Cumin)
  • Anethum graveolens (Dill)
  • Conium chaerophylloides (Dill)

Level Of Research:


Clinical Applications Of Fennel:

Fennel is reliable as a digestive aid for conditions including dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, bloating and gas, diarrhea, and colic. It is also useful for lactating mothers to stimulate the flow of bile. The essential oil is antiseptic and antinflammatory and can be useful in topical applications to improve the skin, treat wounds, and can be diluted to be used as a gentle eyewash.

There has been a lot of evidence recently for fennels application as a nootropic to imprive learning and memmory.



Fennel has proven to have a high level of safety. Caustion is advised when using concentrated essential oils of any kind.


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For a full list of references visit the fennel monograph.