(Foeniculum vulgare, Foeniculum officinale, Anethum foeniculum)
Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae
Description: Sweet fennel is a biennial or perennial herb with distinctive, delicate feathery leaves and golden flowers. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the crushed seeds.
Countries of origin: France, Greece, Italy, Hungary
Characteristics: Sweet fennel has clean, sweet, aniseed top notes and earthy, spicy, peppery undertones. It blends well with geranium, lavender, black pepper, rosemary, sandalwood, verbena and lemon.
Main therapeutic properties: Antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, depurative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactagogue, splenic, stomachic.
Sweet fennel is one of the best detoxifying essential oils and is much used in lymphatic drainage massage. Its diuretic qualities help to rid the body of toxins, and it is a good urinary-tract antiseptic. Fennel is also excellent for alleviating flatulence and digestive problems, and local massage combined with drinking fennel tea is recommended. Overall, fennel is deeply cleansing, purifying and revitalizing.
As a galactagogue, fennel helps in the production of breast milk, and it can help to normalize and regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the fluctuation of hormones during the menopause.
Psychologically, fennel is protecting, warming and grounding. A couple of drops rubbed between the palms and brushed over the aura can protect against psychic disturbance.
Contraindications: Avoid throughout pregnancy and do not use on those who suffer from epilepsy.