Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is a native from western Asia and Europe, Fennel adapted so well to the conditions in Australia that it is declared a noxious weed in some places (eg. In Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. It is also widely spread in New South Wales.</p">
Fennel grows on wastelands, beside railway lines and on roadsides. It tolerates dry conditions and heavy soils, growing to 2m tall.
For the taste buds
Fennel has a strong aniseed flavour which some people love and others hate. Eaten raw, the flavour can be very strong, but cooked it is milder. The bulb like base of the plant looks a little like the base of a celery bunch, and this is what is eaten. The smaller, and younger “bulbs” will always be more tender than older ones.
In France and Italy, young and tender leaves are used to add flavour to salads, soups and for garnishes. Tender stems, cut just before bloom, are eaten raw. In Italy, the “Cartucci” salad is prepared from peeled young Fennel stems, dressed with vinegar and pepper.
The foliage can also be dried and crumbled for use in savoury dishes or as a garnish. The strongly flavoured seeds are used in pickling and as a substitute for pepper.
For body care
Washing with Fennel tea is useful for preventing skin troubles and wrinkles.
Herbalist Sebastian Kneipp used fennel tea for eye baths to reduce inflammation and to give the eyes a sparkle.
A rinse with fennel tea after using a mild shampoo will make the hair shiny and easy to manage.
- Eat young peeled stems in the evening for a pleasant sleep.
- Fennel tea is used against bowel disorders, epilepsy, gastro-intestinal disorders, mild intestinal cramps-like conditions, bloat and catarrh of the upper respiratory tract, and to relieve itching
- Fennel syrup and lollies are used in Europe traditionally to treat chronic coughs.
- Fennel tea is beneficial for flatulence, especially used for infants. Instant Fennel tea is available in Europe
- Fennel oil is used for massages to ease aches.
Preparation of Fennel Tea
The seeds (5 - 7 gram daily per adult) are crushed just before pouring 150 ml of boiling water over them. Let the tea soak for about 15 minutes.
Fennel against fleas around and in the house.
Fleas do not like Fennel. Powdered Fennel is used to keep fleas away from stables and kennels.
Do not take fennel if you have high blood pressure or are pregnant. Fennel should not be taken in high dosages or over a prolonged period of time. Some people may, in rare cases, develop skin and respiratory allergies with Fennel.