Fennel seed is actually not a seed at all – it is the fruit from the Fennel plant. However, due to its small size, and the fact that it is often encountered in dry form, it often appears to be a seed, and has adopted the description as such.
The Fennel plant with its yellow flowers can grow up to six feet tall – which is unexpected from a plant belonging to the parsley family. While much attention is paid to the fruits (or “seeds”), the whole of the plant is actually edible.
The plant is native to southern Europe, but commercial fennel usually comes from eastern Europe, the Middle East, and China.
The seed is both antiseptic and secretolytic – which means that it encourages the secretion of gastric juices. It has the capacity to halt cramps in the stomach, and can be used to break up congestion from colds and allergic conditions.
Fennel seed tea can easily be made by boiling 1/2 teaspoon of seeds in one cup of water. Keep the pot covered while letting the mixture boil for five minutes. Let it cool off, and sip as desired. Up to three cups per day can be consumed.
In order to treat stomach gas or flatulence, let the tea cool off till lukewarm, and add a few drops of Amritdhara Digestive Drops. It stimulates the digestive system, helping everything through.
The tea can also be combined with Chamomile and/or Melissa to treat colic.
The tea can be combined with thyme or licorice to address coughing and congestion.
Lastly, it can simply be chewed – after meal times, or even in between.
It has been used for centuries to aid the digestive process, reducing bloating, indigestion, gas, intestinal spasms, and colic. Fennel Seed has also been found useful in the following ways:
- It has antimicrobial, antispasmodic and fever-reducing properties.
- It can be used to relieve pain.
- It can be used as a diuretic.
- It has the ability to increase milk flow in mothers who are breastfeeding.
- It is used for relief of menstrual problems – even in folk medicine it was used to promote menstruation.
- It is used to reduce the intense effects of laxatives.
- It is used to clear bronchial congestion, and also to treat chronic coughing in both children and adults.
- The root of the Fennel plant is used for addressing urinary problems.
- It is used to address skin disorders and blepharitis of the eye.
- Fennel seed is also used as a mouthwash – to address gum disease as well as a sore throat.
Keep in mind that any antimicrobial substance can be toxic if over-dosed – so keep to the recommended doses. Side effects include breathing difficulties, palpitations and irregular heartbeats, and even neurotic problems.
Pregnant women should avoid using Fennel seed or the oil.
Some people may experience unusual sensitivity to bright sunlight.
It is safe as long as it is not used for extended periods – it is recommended to limit its use to around two weeks at any given time. Any problem that persists for longer than that would naturally justify a visit to the doctor.