Medicinal Properties of Fennel.
- Basic Botanical Information of Fennel,Fructus Foeniculi.
- What Is It?General Description of the Fennel Seed.
- History,Region and Habitat of Fennel Origin.
- History and Modern Use of Fennel.Traditional and Ethnic Uses of Fennel.
- Fennel Legends,Myths and Stories.
- Constituents and Pharmacology Properties of Fennel.
- Medicinal Properties,Healing with Fennel for common health problems.
- Various Common Uses Of Fennel.
- Fennel:Administration and Indications Guide,Dosages and Safety.
- Research Update:Fennel.Fructus Foeniculi.Foeniculum vulgare Mill.
Medicinal Properties of Fennel.
Properties: Pungent in flavor, warm in nature, it is related to the liver, kidney, spleen and stomach channels.Stomachic, carminative (relieves gas), pectoral (relieves chest congestion and cough), diuretic, aromatic, antispasmodic, expectorant, mild expectorant, anti-inflammatory, stimulant
Functions: Dispels cold, kills pain, regulates the flow of qi and normalizes the functioning of the spleen and stomach.Fennel helps to take away the appetite. Taken before meals, it can help you eat smaller meals and still feel full. It is often used as a sedative for small children and to treat colic. It improves digestion, and is very helpful with coughs. It is also used for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help rebuild the digestive system. It is used to enrich and increase the flow of milk for lactating women. Fennel oil is used externally to ease muscle and joint pain. Avoid internal use during pregnancy.
Ethnobotany: Worldwide Uses:
China:Abdomen, Ache(Back), Ache(Stomach), Anodyne, Aphrodisiac, Bite(Snake), Colic, Cancer(Uterus), Carminative Digestive, Dysmenorrhea, Dyspepsia, Energy, Enteritis, Enuresis, Expectorant, Flux, Gas, Gastritis, Hernia, Lactagogue, Nausea, Toothache, Respiratory, Stomachic, Strangury, Tenesmus, Tonic, Virility, Vision
Dominican Republic:Cardiotonic, Diuretic, Stomachic, Stimulant, Tonic
Elsewhere:Abortifacient, Amenorrhea, Carminative, Chest, Cholera, Colic, Diaphoretic, Diuretic, Kidney, Lactagogue, Spleen, Stimulant, Stomachic, Tonic, Vermicide
Europe:Cancer, Tumor, Digestive, Gonorrhea
Haiti:Colic, Emmenagogue, Lactagogue, Aerophagia, Carminative , Diuretic, Nerve, Spasm
Iraq:Carminative, Parturition, Spice, Stimulant
Malaya:Abdomen, Dermatosis, Gastralgia, Rheumatism, Hepatosis
Turkey:Carminative, Digestive, Diuretic, Emmenagogue, Expectorant, Lactagogue, Parasiticide, Pectoral, Restorative, Stomachic, Stimulant
Healing with Fennel for common health problems.
To make fennel tea, steep ?teaspoon of crushed fennel seed in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Allow the tea to cool sufficiently if you're giving it to an infant.
1.For a digestive aid:either chew a handful of seeds or try an infusion or tincture. The seeds have a pleasant, licorice-like flavor. Reach for fennel to:
2.Soothe Indigestion:Like many other aromatic herbs, fennel appears to relax the smooth muscle lining of the digestive tract to help expel gas. European research shows it also kills some bacteria, lending support to another of its traditional uses-to treat diarrhea.
3.Stimulate menstruation:One study suggests the herb has a mild estrogenic effect, meaning it acts like the female sex hormone, estrogen. This action may have something to do with its traditional use as a milk and menstruation promoter.
4.Cure colic:In a recent Israeli study, researchers gave an herbal fennel tea to 33 colicky babies and a non-medicinal drink to 35 other colicky infants for seven days. More babies who received fennel tea showed improvement that those who received the placebo drink. Although the study is from conclusive, it can't hurt to try giving fennel tea to a colicky baby. "It' worth a try, because colic is such a complex thing," says Dr. DerMarderosian.
a).Fennel is a safe way to treat baby colic:Various plants have been used to relieve of infantile colic, including catmint (Nepeta cataria), chamomille (Matricaria chamomilla), dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), and others. Among these plants, fennel is the most frequently recommended by herbologists and naturopaths. All of these listed plants are rich in volatile oils, and their beneficial effects are attributed to volatile oils. The highest concentration of the fennel oil, ranging from 2 to 7%, is found in the seeds. Fennel volatile oil is a mixture of at least a dozen of different chemicals. The main ingredients of fennel seed oil are: anethole, 40 to 70%; fenchone, 10 to 30%; and estragole, 2 to 9%. Other components are present in concentrations usually less than 1%. Animal experiments have shown that fennel oil regulates contractility of the small intestine (36, 37, 38). Anethole has a chemical structure similar to a chemical that is naturally present in the body, called dopamine. Dopamine is known to have a relaxing effect on the intestine, and perhaps, explains why fennel has a beneficial effect on infantile colic.
Fennel has a long documented history of use, dating to an ancient Egypt. Even today, many lactating mothers in Asian countries routinely take fennel.
Preparations of fennel seed available on the market today exist as either teas or extracts, and contain variable and unpredictable concentrations of the volatile oil. This variability in oil concentration results from many factors, including soil and climate of the growing region, harvesting methods, manufacturing, and storage conditions. The inconsistency in the concentration of oil makes it difficult to obtain an effective, predictable and reproducible response. That explains why until recently there has only been one clinical study supporting the use of herbs, including fennel for infantile colic.
Fennel has the remarkable qualities of being both effective and very safe. No acute or chronic toxic reactions to fennel, or to fennel products in humans have ever been reported. Laboratory animals given 3000 milligrams of fennel extract per kilogram of weight showed no sign of toxicity). Likewise, fennel seed oil tested in animal experiments has been found to be non-toxic at doses significantly higher, than those used in humans. For example, animals fed a diet containing 1% of anethole, the main component of fennel seed oil, had no toxic effects (40). The recommended daily amount of fennel seed oil for an average colicky 1 month old, who weighs approximately 4 kilograms (9 lbs.), would be 20 to 40 milligrams. Such an infant consumes approximately 600 gram (20 oz) of formula, or milk per day. Therefore, 20 to 40 mg. of fennel seed oil given to an infant daily would be equal to 0.0035 to 0.007% of the total daily food consumption, which is 140 to 280 times less, than in a study quoted.
Besides its antispasmodic qualities, fennel seed oil has antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, probably attributed to anethole, which itself has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and also anticarcinogenic effects.
Even though fennel is mentioned as an allergen, the allerginicity of fennel is extremely low, probably much lower than of milk, soy or eggs. In fact, since 1948 there were only two reports of allergic reaction to fennel plant in the English literature. However, all statements of experts regarding the allerginicity of fennel are based on these two reports. It has been shown that fennel allergy is caused by pollen,which is always present in unprocessed seeds. Fennel seed oil, which is produced by distillation of fennel seeds, has no pollen particles in it, and therefore, cannot produce allergic reactions.
Undiluted, or 100% fennel seed oil applied to the skin for a long period of time can produce local irritation. However, diluted fennel seed oil is not irritating. In an experiment on human volunteers, application of 4% oil did not produce any reactions.
The Council of Europe included fennel in the list of spices and seasonings in 1973. Fennel seed oil has been on the FDA's GRAS (Generally Recommended As Safe) list of flavoring substances in the United States since 1970's.
5.To treat abdominal pain with cold hernia, swelling with bearing-down and distending pain of one testis, cold pain in the lower abdomen and dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation):
a).Abdominal pain with cold hernia:This herb is often used together with three-nerved spicebush root (Radix Linderae), dried green orange peel, lesser galangal (Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum), etc., e.g., Tiantai Wuyao San. It can also be parched until hot and wrapped in cloth for heating the abdomen when warm.
b).Swelling with bearing-down and distending pain of one testis due to the stagnation of liver-qi:This herb can be used together with tangerine seed, hawthorn, etc.
c).Cold pain in the lower abdomen due to affection of the liver channel by pathogenic cold or dysmenorrhea due to deficiency-cold in the chong and ren channels:This herb can be used together with Chinese angelica, chuanxiong (Rhizoma Ligustici Chuanxiong), cassia bark, etc.
6. To treat syndromes of qi stagnation due to deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach:
a).Distending pain in the abdomen due to stomach-cold and qi stagnation:This herb can be used in combination with lesser galangal (Rhizoma Alpiniae Officinarum), nutgrass flatsedge rhizome (Rhizoma Cyperi), three-nerved spicebush root (Radix Linderae), etc.
b).Distending pain in the abdomen and vomiting with poor appetite due to deficiency-cold in the spleen and stomach:This herb can be used together with largehead atractylodes rhizome (Rhizoma Atractylodis Macrocephalae), dried tangerine peel, ginger, etc.
The Newly Revised Material Medica: "Various syndromes of flaccidity, cholera and snake bite."
Ri Huazi's Materia Medica: "To treat dry beriberi (a deficiency disease marked by inflammatory or degenerative changes of the nerves, digestive system, and heart and caused by a lack of or inability to assimilate thiamine), impairment of the kidneys caused by overstrain, hernia, cystalgia and pain in the vagina by inducing appetite and digestion."
"Fennel helps to release gas from the stomach and bowels and relieve its associated pain and cramping. It helps to clear phlegm from the lungs. It can act as a stimulant and diuretic which calms the nerves, improves appetite and digestion, and acts as an antispasmodic. It is helpful for nursing mothers as it promotes lactation and calms colic. Fennel helps regulate energy to the spleen, stomach, liver and kidneys and can be used topically for joint inflammation. The dried powder is said to keep fleas away from kennels and stables. Folklore indicates it can be used as a poultice for cancerous wounds and indurations (hardening) of the mammary glands."
"Medicinal Actions and Uses: On account of its aromatic and carminative properties, Fennel fruit is chiefly used medicinally with purgatives to allay their tendency to griping and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known Liquorice Powder."
"A sweet herb used as an appetite suppressant and as an eyewash. Promotes function of the spleen, liver and kidneys, and also clears the lungs. Used for acid stomach. It relieves gas, gastrointestinal tract spasms, abdominal pain, and colon disorders. Effective in the treatment of gout, and good for the cancer patient after chemotherapy and radiation."
"Actions: Carminative, circulatory stimulant, anti-inflammatory, promotes milk flow, mild expectorant, diuretic. Soothing for the digestion, the seeds also promote milk flow in breastfeeding. CAUTION: Fennel is a uterine stimulant, so avoid high doses of the herb in pregnancy; small amounts used in cooking are safe."
"Botanical name: Foeniculum vulgare. Pharmaceutical name: Fructus Foeniculi Vulgaris Properties: acrid, warm. Channels entered: Stomach, Liver, Kidney. Functions and clinical use: Regulates Qi and alleviates pain: used to warm and encourage movement in the Live Channel or the Lower Burner as in Cold hemia-like disorders, or any kind of lower a dominal pain from Cold. Warms the Middle Burner and opens the Stomach: used for Cold Stomach patterns wit such symptoms as abdominal pain, indigestion, decreased appetite, and vomiting.
Pharmacological and clinical research:Gastrointestinal effect: the oil of Fructus Foeniculi Vulgaris (Yiao Hui Ciang) regulates the peristaltic functions of the gastrointestinal tract, thereby reducing emptying time and increasing the passage of gas. It also relieves spasms of the intestines. This latter effect is destroyed by local anesthesia and therefore may be caused by a nervous reflex. Antibiotic effect: anethole contributes to the inhibitory effect of streptomycin against tuberculosis in guinea pigs, but has no effect by itself. Treatment of hernias: in one series of 26 patients with incarcerated hernias, preparations of Fructus Foeniculi Vulgaris (Xiao Hui Xiang) given orally reduced the hernias in 22 cases. After the preparation was administered, the patients were asked to lie supine with their knees bent. Usually the hernia and symptoms were reduced within half an hour. If there was no resolution within one and a half hours, surgery was immediately performed. The principal factor that determined the outcome was the duration of the incarceration: the longer the duration, the less effective the treatment. Use in urology: a preparation of Fructus Foeniculi Vulgaris (Xiao Hui Xiang), together with salt and other ingredients taken at bedtime with rice wine, was used in 64 cases of hydrocele of the tunica vaginalls. After six weeks, 59 cases were cured and one was improved."
- 1.Fennel Seed or Xiao HuiXiang,the seed of Foeniculum vulgare Mill,a pungent herb nature warm,its botanical introduction,chemical constituents,history and uses since ancient till today.
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