What is fennel good for? A lot actually.
There are tons of fennel seed benefits and I have found 24 different problems it can be an asset with. There’s a few different ways to take this helpful herb and a couple dangers to look at, especially for women and with fennel oil.
You’ll see all that in this article and a few other bits of information to make you knowledgeable enough to decide whether or not you want to buy and start using.
Here’s a quick video I made to explain everything:
24 Different Fennel Benefits
I’ll get into the history of fennel and the science/studies that prove these benefits later in the post. Here’s a list of conditions these seeds are known to improve:
- Body odor
- Acid reflux
- High blood pressure
- Women’s libido
- Painful joints
- Weight loss
- Sore Throat
- Digestive issues
- Prostate cancer
- Breast enlargement
- Flavoring other medicines
- Insect bites
- Food poisoning
Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare
Common Names: Large fennel, wild fennel, sweet fennel
Parts Used: Seeds and leaves
Medicinal Properties: Stomachic, carminative, pectoral, diuretic, diaphoretic, aromatic
Why You Shouldn’t Look For FDA Approval With Fennel
After a series of unfortunate events, the FDA pretty much wiped clean what was approved and what wasn’t approved in the 1970’s and 1980’s. This was both good and bad. It was good because people couldn’t make outrageous claims about their products anymore. It was bad because it made the cost of getting herbs approved impossibly high.
How much is to prove to the FDA something is effective for a problem? Around 500 million dollars.
Only big pharmaceutical companies can afford such a high price. Once they get approval they receive a patent and make the money back 10 times over. You can’t do this with herbs. If you spend 500 million to prove fennel is effective with gas, you’ll never make the investment back; you can’t patent fennel.
Saying something isn’t FDA approved is a weak argument at best.
Consider this too. An extensive study done by Toronto University found that, on average, 106,000 people die from the side effects from pharmaceutical drugs a year in America. I’m not talking about human error or abuse by the patient, this is deaths from the standard dosage as prescribed by doctors. This makes adverse reaction to pharmaceutical drugs the 4th leading cause of death in America. That’s more than the death rate of all illegal drugs combined. It’s also more than the combined death rate of AIDS, suicide and homicides. It even kills more people than automobile accidents.
Those numbers are staggering.
The Germans have always been ahead of the game with medicine. There, herbs are much more mainstream and are often prescribed by doctors.
As far as government authority on herbs go, they have the most respected. Their FDA, called Commission E, tested hundreds of herbs and found 200 to be useful.
They approve fennel in many digestive issues. Still, people use the seeds successfully for other medicinal purposes.
There’s two ways to really get to know what fennel is good for:
- Science/clinical tests
Let’s look at history first.
The Fantastic History Of Fennel
History is a wonder resource for herbs. When you see cultures from around the world, who had no contact with each other and for thousands of years using fennel for the same purposes, you can be pretty confident it’s helpful for that problem.
Hippocrates, known as the father of western medicine in Ancient Greece, prescribed fennel as a stomach soother and to treat colic in infants. Another well known Ancient Greek physician Dioscorides, prescribed these seeds for nursing mothers for increased milk production. They nicknamed fennel maraino, which means “to grow thin.” It was known by them to aid in weight loss.
Famed Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder, included this plant in 22 medicinal recipes. He noticed snakes rubbed against the fennel plant after shedding to help clear their glazed eyes. He took this as a sign that fennel could be used in blindness.
Ancient Indian Ayervedic physicians believed it to be a digestive aid and Charlemagne, French king, ordered fennel to be grown in all of his medicinal gardens. King Edward I’s family ate pounds of the seeds a month.
Respected 12th century German herbalist Hildegard of Bingen recommended this herb for colds, flu, heart conditions and to “make us happy, with good digestion and good for body odor.”
17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpeper claimed the seeds were great to “break wind, increase milk, cleanse the eyes from mists that hinder sight, take away the loathings which often times happen to stomachs of sick persons, and in drink and broth to make people lean that are too fat. ” He also added it “brought women’s courses” (menstruation).
Many herbalists of the 1800’s used it as an ingredient in laxatives. They found it to ease digestive problems and improve milk production in nursing women and to promote menstruation. Also, to improve the taste of bitter and unpleasant herbs.
As you can see this herb goes back thousands of years and was prescribed by histories greatest physicians and herbalists.
What Does Science And Modern Studies Have To Say?
Although testing is very expensive, this herb has been tested extensively. These studies and science echo what past cultures knew.
Digestive Problems (Gas And Indigiestion)
Fennel relaxes the muscle lining of the digestive tract making it an antispasmodic. According to Michael Castleman in his book The New Healing Herbs fennel “expels gas and promotes the secretion of bile, which helps in the digestion of fats. And European research shows that fennel kills some bacteria lending its support as a traditional treatment to diarrhea.”
In one German test, 60 participants who suffer from indigestion, heartburn, nausea, burping and unusual fullness were given either a standard pharmaceutical drug for the issue (metoclopramide) or an herbal combination of fennel, peppermint, caraway and wormwood).
Both sides took their medicines 20 minutes before eating, and after 2 weeks, the group taking the herbal combination found greater relief and suffered from less side effects than the group taking the pharmaceutical drug.
Menstruation And Menopause
As an antispasmodic, fennel has an effect on the uterus in women. One study suggested fennel has ” a mild estrogenic effect” meaning it acts like the female sex hormone estrogen. This proves why people of the past used it as a menstruation promoter.
Many herbalists today feel it’s useful in menopausal discomforts too.
Fennel is a diuretic, meaning it promotes urination. This can be helpful for anyone with excess water weight. My sister used a herbal diuretic once, I forget which one, and she slimmed down a good amount from it.
You shouldn’t abuse fennel this way or rely only on fennel to lose weight, but it can certainly give you results.
According to Michael Castleman “female sex hormones are often prescribed for prostate cancer.” If you wish to incorporate fennel into your treatment for this problem, make sure to ask your doctor and discuss options.
As a man I really can’t comment on how much large breasts play into a women’s self esteem. Common sense and observation (I’ve seen $100 bras that are meant to make a female’s breast look larger) say they matter; some women obviously care more than others.
There’s always danger involved in surgery and you run the risk of scarring if you opt for silicone implants. Plus you could just get a below average surgery done, making matters worst.
Before you opt for an expensive surgery you should try natural means first. Because fennel is an estrogenic herb it can improve the size of your breasts. It works best when combined with another bust enlarging herb, fenugreek.
Don’t use the oil if you are pregnant, it can cause a miscarriage. You can’t ingest the oil either, a teaspoon can be toxic.
Again, the estrogenic properties of fennel make it useful here. Women who want to improve milk production should take 2 teaspoons of crushed seeds per cup of boiling water and drink up to 3 cups a day.
Fennel is 1.5 percent bactericidal components, making it useful against the bacterias that cause body odor.
According to leading herbalist Dr. James A. Duke you can buy fennel essential oil, dilute it in vegetable oil (a drop or two of essential oil per tablespoon of vegetable oil) and use the resulting mixture as an underarm massage lotion. Remember to never ingest the oil.
This can help a lot of teenagers in gym class..
Heartburn And Acid Reflux
Heartburn and acid reflux happen when the muscular opening from the esophagus into the stomach doesn’t work properly; This causes stomach acids to rise too high and get into the esophagus. This causes the burning feeling.
30 percent of adults suffer from this problem once a month. My dad is one of them and suffers really badly. He recently started incorporating fennel into his diet. Just last week we enjoyed some tuna fish seasoned with fennel and it was really tasty.
Fennel soothes the digestive tract and because of this, treats heartburn.
High Blood Pressure
Recently my father started having blood pressure problems too. This is another reason he’s been using fennel a lot more.
Some believe doctors prescribe hypertension medicines much too quickly. There’s good evidence that lifestyle changes like exercising and improving diet can be just as useful as prescription medicines. You won’t see big pharmaceutical companies making a push for change though, they make 2.5 billion dollars a year off these medications.
There are many herbs that have been extensively tested and are proven to be as useful, or more useful, than the leading drugs for high blood pressure. One of these herbs is hawthorn. Another is fennel. My dad takes both and has gotten his blood pressure back to normal with them.
Fennel contains at least 10 compounds that lower blood pressure.
According to the Lawrence Review of Natural Products fennel increases the libido of both female and male rats. Just like the other female problems fennel helps with, this is mainly because fennel has compounds that act like estrogen.
Fennel contains many nutrients that are good for your eyes. Some of them include:
- Vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- And different antioxidants
This has lead some to believe it can slow down cataracts and protect against many eye conditions that cause blindness. Some people use it as an eyewash to treat eye infections.
According to famed herbalist Jethro Kloss, colic in infants is caused by “eating too rapidly, excessive air swallowing, indigestion, improper food and constipation.”
University of Maryland Medical Center recommends fennel for colic. Breast feeding is known to calm a crying baby and fennel increases the milk supply of a mother. A nursing mother should drink fennel tea because of this.
Gout is caused by the build up of uric acid in the blood and causes pain to the joints; usually in the big toe.
Drinking a decoction of fennel can lower uric acid content, making it useful with gout.
How To Take And Potential Side Effects
Some herbs don’t really taste good; fennel is not one of these herbs. It has a sweet, licorice taste to it, making it very pleasant to drink as a tea. Many people add it to bad tasting herbal teas to improve the flavor.
To make a tea steep 1 to 2 bruised seeds in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. You can drink up to 3 cups a day.
As a digestive aid you can chew a handful of the seeds. To prevent gas you can sprinkle ground fennel on your food. You can rub fennel oil on painful joints to ease pain.
There are a few dangers when taking this herb. If your doctor has advised you not to take birth control pills, you should not take medicinal amounts of fennel. The same is true if you have a history of abnormal blood clotting or estrogen dependent breast tumors.
Pregnant women should avoid medicinal amounts of fennel.
If you are giving to children, weak and debilitated people, or the elderly give 1/3rd to 2/3rd of the recommended dosage. It’s a good idea to give yourself breaks after prolonged use of any herbs.
**This is important: Make sure to consult with your doctor before doing anything. Discuss using fennel for all these problems. You are responsible for what goes into your body, prescription medications and herbs included. Always talk natural cures before getting into drugs.
Speaking of which, herbs and drugs don’t usually mix well together.
Avoid fennel oil if you are pregnant. The oil can cause skin rashes too. NEVER ingest fennel oil, it’s toxic.
Give Fennel A Try
This is a really wonderful herb that can help you in so many ways. For thousands of years people have treated different problems with these seeds and found great relief in doing so.
History and science prove fennel’s worth.
If you are interested in purchasing, I would like to recommend Starwest Botanicals. This is where my family and I purchase herbs and we have never had a problem. They offer high quality fennel at a fair price, and ship directly to your home. They are well known and well respected. If you would like to learn more click below:
If you have any additional questions, comment below and I’ll respond as fast as possible. Also, share on social media for friends and family to see.
Thanks for reading!