©2007 Publications International, Ltd. Fennel is a digestive aid and a carminative, or agent capable of diminishing gas

Fennel looks much like a large version of its relative, dill. Also like dill, this herb has a score of herbal remedy and culinary uses.

Fennel's medicinal uses include reducing gas discomfort, cramps, bloating and more -- and it can be a useful addition to the diet of those sufferings from stomach problems.

Uses for Fennel

It is recommended for numerous complaints related to excessive gas in the stomach and intestines, including indigestion, cramps, and bloating, as well as for colic in infants. Other Apiaceae family members, such as dill and caraway, also are considered carminatives.

As an antispasmodic, fennel acts on the smooth muscle of the respiratory passages as well as the stomach and intestines; this is the reason that fennel preparations are used to relieve bronchial spasms. Since it relaxes bronchial passages, allowing them to open wider, it is sometimes included in asthma, bronchitis, and cough formulas.

Fennel long has been used to promote milk production in nursing mothers. And because of its antispasmodic activity, breastfed infants whose mothers drink fennel tea are less likely to suffer from colic than other babies.

Fennel Preparations and Dosage

Bulk fennel seeds are most commonly used as medicine and as a cooking spice. For the best results and flavor, crush the seeds a bit before using them: Use a mortar and pestle to crush them, or simply rub them between the palms of your hands.

Another simple way to get your fennel is through this delicious quinoa and orange fennel dressing salad. The recipe is below:

  • 1  cup quinoa (a whole grain available in health food stores)
  • 3  cups water
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 2  cups peas, fresh or frozen
  • 1/2 cup purple onion, chopped
  • 2  cups arugula, shredded
  • 1/2  cup nuts (walnuts, almonds, or pine nuts)

Boil quinoa in water until soft. Drain and place in a salad bowl with carrots, peas, onion, and arugula. Chill. Toss with fennel dressing (recipe below) and nuts, and serve.

Fennel Precautions and Warnings

None cited in popular references.

Jennifer Brett, N.D. is director of the Acupuncture Institute for the University of Bridgeport, where she also serves on the faculty for the College of Naturopathic Medicine. A recognized leader in her field with an extensive background in treating a wide variety of disorders utilizing nutritional and botanical remedies, Dr. Brett has appeared on WABC TV (NYC) and on Good Morning America to discuss utilizing herbs for health.This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies.   Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness. Each state and each discipline has its own rules about whether practitioners are required to be professionally licensed. If you plan to visit a practitioner, it is recommended that you choose one who is licensed by a recognized national organization and who abides by the organization's standards. It is always best to speak with your primary health care provider before starting any new therapeutic technique.