The medicinal parts are the Fennel oil extracted from the ripe fruit and the dried ripe fruit and Fennel seeds of Foeniculum vulgare.
Flower and Fruit
The inflorescence is fairly large umbels almost 15 cm across on very irregular rays. The flowers are fairly small and usually androgynous. The petals are a rich yellow, broadly ovate, and have an involute lobe at the tip. The style is very short and almost wartlike. The fruit is glabrous, brownish or greenish-gray. They are 6 to 10 mm long, somewhat cylindrical with blunt ribs and strongly domed.
Leaves, Stem, and Fruit
The plant is biennial to perennial, about 80 to 150 cm high, glabrous, sea-green, and has a strong spicy smell. The stem is erect, round, glabrous, smooth and filled with latex. The lower leaves are petiolate and have long sheaths.
Fennel has a spicy aroma.
Fennel is indigenous to the Mediterranean region, has spread to England, Germany, South Tyrol, and Argentina. Fennel is also found today in Iran, India, and China.
Fennel oil is the essential oil obtained from the dried, ripe fruits of Foeniculum vulgare by steam distillation. Fennel seed consists of the dried, ripe fruits of Foeniculum vulgare.
Large Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Wild Fennel, Fenkel, Bitter Fennel
Actions & Pharmacology
Compounds: Fennel Oil
When extracted from bitter fennel the chief components are:
Additional components are - alpha-pinenes, camphene, p-cymene, myrcene, limonene, alpha- and beta-phellandrene, gamma-terpenes, terpinols, cis-ocimene
When extracted from sweet fennel the chief components are:
Additional components are - alpha-pinenes, camphene, p-cymene, myrcene, limonene, alpha- and beta-phellandrene, gamma-terpenes, terpinols, gamma-fenchen
Effects: Fennel Oil
Stimulation of gastrointestinal motility; in higher concentrations, antispasmodic; experimentally, anethole and fenchone have shown a secretolytic action on the respiratory tract. In vitro, the herb is antimicrobial.
Compounds: Fennel Seed
With bitter fennel the chief components are:
Additional components - alpha-pinenes, camphene, p-cymene, myrcene, limonene, alpha- and beta-phellandrene, gamma-terpenes, terpinols cis-ocimene
With sweet fennel the chief components are:
Additional components - alpha-pinenes, camphene, p-cymene, myrcene, limonene, alpha- and beta-phellandrene, gamma-terpenes, terpinols, gamma-fenchen
Hydroxycoumarins (traces): umbelliferone, scopoletine, osthenol, scoparin, Furocoumarins traces) including bergapten, columbianetin, psoralen, xanthotoxin
Effects: Fennel Seed
The seed promotes gastrointestinal motility. In higher concentrations, Fennel has an antispasmodic effect. Experimentally, anethole and fenchone have been shown to have a secretolytic effect in the respiratory tract of frogs. Aqueous Fennel extracts raised the mucociliary activity of the ciliary epithelium.
Indications & Usage
Fennel Oil and Seed
Approved by Commission E:
- Dyspeptic complaints
Peptic discomforts, such as mild, spastic disorders of the gastrointestinal tract, feeling of fullness, flatulence; catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.
Fennel honey is used for catarrh of the upper respiratory tract in children. In folk medicine, the herb was used for fish tapeworms, skin conditions, and for various eye complaints, including conjunctivitis.
Precautions & Adverse Reactions
Health risks or side effects following the proper administration of designated therapeutic dosages are not recorded. Allergic reactions following intake of Fennel have been only very rarely observed. Cross Sensitivity among patients with celery allergy appear to be possible.
Preparations, excluding the drug itself and tea infusions are not to be administered during pregnancy.
Preparations, excluding the drug itself and tea infusions are not to be administered to small children.
Mode of Administration
Essential oil and galenic preparations for internal use.
Note: Diabetics must check the sugar content of available preparations.
0.1 to 0.6 mL of Fennel oil after each meal.
Duration of administration: Maximum of 2 weeks.
Mode of Administration
Crushed or ground seeds for teas, tea-like products, as well as other galenic preparations for internal use.
5 to 7 g of drug; as a tincture, 5 to 7.5 g per day, with a single dose being 2.5 g 2 to 3 times a day.