Family: Umbelliferae or Apiaceae
Synonyms: Roman fennel, F. officinale
Aroma: Warm and sweet aniseed-like aroma.
Colour: Colourless to pale yellow.
Plant: Perennial herb that grows up to 2 metres high with feathery leaves and golden yellow flowers.
Main Growing Areas: The Mediterranean, Southern California, India and Japan.
Major Constituents: Anethole, limonene, fenchone, methyl chavicol, myrcene, anisic aldehyde, 1.8-cineole. Possibility of the essential oil being adulterated with synthetic anethole.
Ancient Chinese used fennel as a cure for snakebite.
The seeds were carried by Roman soldiers on long marches to chew when they didn’t have time to stop and have a meal.
Ancient Greek athletes who took part in the Olympic Games ate fennel seeds to give them energy without putting on extra weight.
Pliny recommended fennel for both physical and second sight.
Fennel was introduced to America in the 18th century by Spanish priests and continues to grow wild on the sites of old missions.
Gripe water used to calm colic in children is made by mixing fennel water with sodium bicarbonate and syrup.
Part of Plant used /Extraction: Steam distillation of the dried crushed seeds (called fruit by some). 225 kgs of fennel seeds yields approximately 450 mls of essential oil.
Therapeutic actions: Antispasmodic, stomach tonic, flatulence (wind), abdominal cramps, nausea, hiccups, PMS, regulates scanty painful periods.
Emotional and Spiritual: Calms body and mind, stress, nervousness. Strength and courage in adversity.
Robbi Zeck writes that fennel assists in completing things that are unfinished or requiring further attention in your life. When things are fully completed you reach the end of a cycle knowing that there is nothing more to be done. As a way closes, a way opens and the new can begin with a fresh vibrancy.
Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull write that fennel aids the development of direct, authentic and skilful communication. It helps you discover what you want to say and then accurately express it to others in a positive way. It also protects you from being harmed by someone else’s negative words as well as thoughts and deeds
Gabriel Mojay writes that fennel is suited to the type of individual who tends to ‘over-think’ and over-analyse but is rarely able to communicate or put their ideas into practice. Because they find it difficult to articulate and express themselves or their feelings their emotions are locked inside building up tension that affects the bowels. These unacceptable, unexpressed thoughts and emotions are pushed below consciousness where they accumulate in the intestines as nervous spasm and gas.
Fennel helps unblock these emotions allowing them to communicate freely, without fear or inhibition. As a result their urge to create is released.
Aromatherapy Insight Card:
(Courtesy of J.Jefferies & K. Osborn.)
Fennel is a lively and dynamic oil that removes feelings of being overwhelmed, bored and afraid of failure. It leaves you enlivened and able to regain that competitive edge. Step up to the task, do not procrastinate, and enjoy the feelings of completing your goals. Communicate freely and with confidence. Stay ahead in the game of life and go for it, moving beyond stagnant thoughts that hold you back. It is time to take your place in the world.
Fragrant Change Healing card: I complete what needs to be completed so something wonderful can enter my life.
Contemplations for the Soul Card:
Should you continue persevering with something or someone in your life?
Sometimes you give up just before attaining your goal.
At other times you continue to persevere long after you should have let it or the person go.
Is it time to bring something in your life to an end?
This maybe a relationship that’s not working or some task or goal you set yourself.
Do you really need to persevere with it or will letting it or the person go make space for the new to enter your life?
Make a list of the plus and minuses of continuing down this path.
If this is something you no longer want or need to do, finish it so you can move onto something that truly lights you up.
Safety: Best avoided by those with epilepsy and pregnant and breast feeding women.
Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Fischer-Rizzi S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Hodges C, Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Fennel Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.41 (2008)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy Anointing Oils, Frog Books (2001)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Price L, Fennel. The Aromatherapist No. 1 Sept (1993)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)