Fennel - Foenum – Aniseed
Blending Note: Middle to Top
Main Benefits: Woman’s health
Properties: galactagogue emmanagoue carminative a tonic, aperitif
Other producers are: Italy, Hungary, Bulgaria, Germany, France and India.
Allergy Warning: Do not use when pregnant, do not use on children and babies
Short History of Fennel:
In Ancient Greece, fennel seeds were eaten by Olympic athletes in the belief that they would increase stamina and promote longevity. Fennel is mentioned in Anglo-Saxon recipes, and was traditionally eaten with salted fish during lent. This combination fulfilled the dual function of helping to prevent flatulence and making the fish more digestible. By the 17th century, fennel had acquired a reputation as a slimming aid. Its seeds were chewed to relieve hunger pangs. In the 19th century, French Doctors Cazin, Bozin and Bontemps classified fennel essential oil as a tonic, aperitif, galactagogue (stimulates milk flow in nursing mothers), emmanagoue (promotes menstruation) and carminative (alleviates flatulence). More recently, French aromatherapy pioneers Dr Leclerc and Dr Maury recorded cases of gout, rheumatism and kidney stones that had been successfully treated with internal doses of the essential oil.
Native to the shores of the Mediterranean, fennel is a biennial or short-lived perennial herb growing up to 2m, with blue-green feathery leaves and umbels of golden-yellow flowers. All parts of the plant are aromatic, although the highly-prized essential oil derives from the ripened fruit or seed’. There are two main varieties of fennel, bitter or common and sweet or garden fennel. Sweet fennel is the preferred oil for use in aromatherapy, because it’s more gentle nature. The plant has become naturalized in many parts of the world, including India, Japan and the US, and it mostly grows beside the sea. Many varieties are also cultivated worldwide. Sweet fennel essential oil is captured by steam distillation of the crushed seeds.
Although usually colourless, the oil sometimes has a yellowish tint. The powerful aroma is reminiscent of aniseed – very sweet, but slightly earthy with a peppery-spice top note and camphoraceous undertone. The odour effect is generally perceived as warming and energizing. Herbal practitioners today do not credit the herb with quite such remarkable properties, but instead prescribe it in tea mixtures for aliments such as long-term constipation and diarrhoea, indigestion, flatulence (fennel extract is an ingredient of children`s `gripe water`), urinary disorders, coughs and bronchitis, and for its ability to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers. Applied as an eye lotion or compress, cooled fennel-seed tea is helpful of minor eye complaints, such as irritation and morning puffiness. In the kitchen, fresh fennel leaves are excellent for flavouring foods, especially fish, while the thickened base of the related Florence is boiled or braised like celery, and the young stalks eaten raw in salads. The seeds may be chewed after meals to aid digestion and sweeten breath.
Bronchitis, Gum Infection, Slimming Aid, Muscular Pains, PMS, Nursing Mothers, Stress, Flatulence
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