FENNEL (Foeniculum vulgare)
Fennel is added to Meatsnax for its vitamin, mineral and beneficial digestive properties.
Fennel is calmative to expel gas, stomach cramping and intestinal colic. It is also mildly calming to coughs and colds causing amenorrhea. It will increase lactation in nursing mothers. While the root is eaten as a vegetable, it is the seeds which are used medicinally. Fennel has anti-inflammatory and diuretic effects.
Fennel seed is among the first herbs to reach for in cases of flatulence or colic. Fennel is high in vitamin C, A, calcium, iron, and potassium, and varying amounts of linoleic acid. Its activity in the digestive system is very similar to that of catnip, however, fennel tastes very different from any mint, its flavour is often preferred by dogs who dislike minty flavours, it serves as a gentle anti-gas and antispasmodic agent that can be added directly to the animal’s food, to bring symptomatic relief while care is taken to investigate the deeper cause of the problem. It is an especially good nutritional assistant for dogs with chronic indigestion which cannot be attributed to a specific disease entity. Fennel also helps increase appetite, while freshens the breath by minimizing belching and through its antibacterial activity in the mouth. The leaf tea is said to be an effective skin and coat rinse, for repelling fleas. Traditionally, fennel is fed to increase milk flow in nursing mothers.
Fennel herb is carminative by nature, which simply means that it works to prevent the creation of gases. For this reason, it is a well-respected digestive health remedy used in many recipes created to help those with regular intestinal ailments. It is a common ingredient in gripe water, which is given to infants to help ease problems with flatulence. Fennel tea is known to suppress appetite. It also acts as an intestinal relaxant, to ease bloating in adults. Studies done on animals with glaucoma (a disease where damage is done to the optic nerve of the eye) have shown that fennel can help treat this disease. It has been proven that it can help prevent clouded eyesight when used in the eye-wash form.
Around the home fennel can be used to deter fleas which find fennel to be quite revolting by nature and will not live in places where fennel does. Fennel can be sprinkled around pet beds and homes where pets reside to help prevent fleas from staking a foothold within the house.
Fennel like most plants that derive their medicinal activities from volatile oil constituents, fennel should be used with caution in pregnant or lactating animals. The volatile oils in fennel may also cause a photosensitive dermatitis in some animals, but such occurrences are rare. In general, fennel is very safe.
The plant species is native to the Mediterranean shores but can be found growing wild and cultivated in numerous areas of the world now. Most commonly it can be found on river banks and near the sea coast.
Fennel is a popular herb for gardeners who grow herbs for food preparation and medicinal purposes, but is also popular with those who grow butterfly gardens. The herb is said to be like a “siren’s call” to the beautiful swallowtail butterfly and attracts colourful butterflies of all sorts with is a sweet smell and bright yellow colour.
The Romans and Greeks were extensive users of fennel. Fennel has an important and interesting history within Roman and Greek mythology and has been used throughout the ages for a large variety of purposes by these groups of people. The Ancient Greek people called the fennel plant “marathon”. Folklore tells the story of how Prometheus stole fire from the Gods and gave it as a gift to mankind. According to Greek mythology, it was the stalk of a fennel plant that Prometheus used to steal fire from the Gods. Such a colourful history befits this small herb; it would seem that it has had as many uses throughout mythology as it still does today!