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Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

About

Fennel is a perennial, pleasant-smelling herb with yellow flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, but is now found throughout the world. Dried fennel seeds are often used in cooking as an anise-flavored spice. But don't confuse fennel with anise; though they look and taste similar, they are not the same. Fennel's dried ripe seeds and oil are used to make medicine.

Fennel is used for various digestive problems including heartburn, intestinal gas, bloating, loss of appetite, and colic in infants. It is also used for upper respiratory tract infections, coughs, bronchitis, cholera, backache, bedwetting, and visual problems.

Some women use fennel for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, easing the birthing process, and increasing sex drive.

Fennel powder is used as a poultice for snakebites.

In foods and beverages, fennel oil is used as a flavoring agent.

In other manufacturing processes, fennel oil is used as a flavoring agent in certain laxatives, and as a fragrance component in soaps and cosmetics.

How does it work?

Fennel might relax the colon and decrease respiratory tract secretions.

Traditionally used for

Colic in breast-fed infants.
Swelling of the colon (colitis).
Constipation.
Painful menstruation.
Excess hair on women (hirsutism).
Sunburn.
Stomach upset and indigestion.
Airway swelling.
Bronchitis.
Cough.
Mild spasms of the stomach and intestines.
Intestinal gas (flatulence).
Bloating.
Upper respiratory tract infection.

Dosage

For colic in breast-fed infants: a specific multi-ingredient product containing 164 mg of fennel, 97 mg of lemon balm, and 178 mg of German chamomile (ColiMil) twice daily for a week.

Possible Side Effects

Fennel is SAFE when taken by mouth in the amounts commonly found in food. For the most part, there is not enough evidence to know whether it is safe for adults when used in medicinal amounts.

Some people can have allergic skin reactions to fennel. People who are allergic to plants such as celery, carrot, and mugwort are more likely to also be allergic to fennel. Fennel can also make skin extra sensitive to sunlight and make it easier to get a sunburn. Wear sunblock if you are light-skinned.

Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the safety of using fennel during pregnancy. It's best to avoid use.

During breast-feeding, fennel is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. It's been reported that two breast-feeding infants experienced damage to their nervous systems after their mothers drank an herbal tea that contained fennel.

Children: For the most part, there is not enough evidence to know whether it is safe for children when used in medicinal amounts. However, researchers have studied a combination product (ColiMil) for colic that contains fennel, lemon balm, and German chamomile. This product seems to be safe in infants when used for up to one week.

Allergy to celery, carrot or mugwort: Fennel might cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to these plants.

Bleeding disorders: Fennel might slow blood clotting. Taking fennel might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Fennel might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use fennel.

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