Native to Europe, Fennel is now cultivated in many regions in North America, Western Asia, China and Iraq. The fennel seed is used in herbal medicine as remedy for colic (in combination with chamomile, vervain, licorice and lemon balm), gastrointestinal pains, bronchitis, and heart burn.
The major chemical compound found in fennel, terpenoid anethole, is believed responsible for fennel's ability to inhibit spasms in smooth muscles such as those in the intestinal tract. This is thought to contribute to fennel's use as a carminative, a gas-relieving and gastrointestinal tract cramp-relieving agent.
When combined, peppermint, fennel, caraway, and wormwood appear to have a soothing effect on the intestines. This combination of herbs may also be useful when used in connection with: indigestion, heartburn, and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS).Dosage and Administration
- Fennel oil: 0.1 to 0.6 milliliters (about 2 to 12 drops)
- Fennel seed: 5 to 7 grams (about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls)
This herb is not suggested for small children and should not be used for a prolonged period of time. Preparations using fennel are also not recommended pregnant women.Supporting LiteratureForster HB and Niklas H. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Plant Med 1980;40:303-319.
Blumenthal M, Busse WR, and Goldberg A. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 128-129.