Fennel Seed Information and Benefits

Fennel Seed Information and Benefits

Native to Europe, Fennel is now cultivated in many regions in North America, Western Asia, China and Iraq. The fennel seed has used in herbal medicine for colic (in combination with chamomile, vervain, licorice and lemon balm), gastrointestinal pains, bronchitis, and heart burn. While there is at least one study to support the effectivenss of fennel seed for colic, there have been very few studies done on the effectiveness of fennel for any of these other conditions.

The major chemical compound found in fennel, terpenoid anethole, is believed responsible for fennel's ability to inhibit spasms in smooth muscles such as those in the intestinal tract.
When combined, peppermint, fennel, caraway, and wormwood appear to have a soothing effect on the intestines. For this reason, they are often included in supplements that support the digestive system.

Dosage and Administration

  • Fennel oil: 0.1 to 0.6 milliliters (about 2 to 12 drops)
  • Fennel seed: 5 to 7 grams (about 1 to 1-1/2 teaspoonfuls)

This herb is not suggested for small children and should not be used for a prolonged period of time. Preparations using fennel are also not recommended pregnant women.

Supporting Literature

Forster HB and Niklas H. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Plant Med 1980;40:303-319.
Blumenthal M, Busse WR, and Goldberg A. The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 128-129.