Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)
| Common Names: Fennel, Sweet Fennel, Carosella, Florence Fennel, Finocchio, Garden Fennel, Wild Fennel.|
Parts Used: Seeds (fruits).
Cosmetic Properties: Properties: Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, estrogenic, expectorant, galactagogue.
Benefits of Fennel are well recognized by practitioners of herbal medicine. Fennel is known for its ability to stimulate estrogen receptors. Estrogenic compounds have significant, well-known cosmetic benefits. Estrogenic materials help to maintain firm skin tone as well as reverse androgen-mediated conditions such as excess sebum production or premature hair loss. As with all metabolically active plant tissues, the seeds of Foeniculum vulgare Miller, contain significant levels of antioxidants. Most important are the oxido-reductases present such as Superoxide Dismutase, Catalase, and nonspecific Peroxidases. Unlike traditional antioxidants, enzymatic antioxidants are not consumed in the process of neutralizing reactive oxygen species (ROS). Almost all biological stress is translated into oxidative damage, with the skin this presents itself as erythema. Traditionally most cosmetics have focused on combatting the threat presented by the Superoxide anion. Most people fail to recognize that the Superoxide anion is transformed into hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is the most dangerous of the ROS, because it can affect cells in so many ways. Hydrogen peroxide can react with lipids to form self-propagating lipid peroxides. It can inactivate sulfhydryl-containing enzymes. Finally, Hydrogen peroxide can react with oxygen to form hydroxyl radicals. Out Fennel Extract has been standardized to contain a minimum of 200μM/g of Peroxidase. Peroxidases are enzymes that catalyze the reaction: 2 H2O2 2 H2O + O2 Effectively, Peroxidase transforms hydrogen peroxide to water, completely eliminating the threat of oxidative damage. Fennel Extract can help protect hair or skin from the detrimental effect of the enviroment. In hair care applications. Fennel Extract can also be used to scavenge residual peroxide left after bleaching or dyeing. Fennel contains anethole, which can explain some of its medical effects: it, or its polymers, act as phytoestrogens.
Historical Uses: Fennel was known by the ancient Chinese, Indian, Egyptian, and Greek civilizations. It has been used as an appetite suppressant and to treat stomach problems. The seeds known to be carminative have served in cases of flatulent colic and abdominal cramps. Fennel has been employed for the treatment of gastroenteritis and indigestion, to prevent gas, dissolve fat, and stimulate lactation (milk flow). It has also been used in the treatment of gout and tonsillitis, and as an eyewash for pink eye and ulcers on the eye. Fennel is said to possess estrogenic properties and may have a positive effect on menopause and PMS.
On account of its carminative properties, Fennel is chiefly used medicinally with purgatives to allay their side effects and for this purpose forms one of the ingredients of the well-known compound Liquorice Powder.
Fennel water has properties similar to those of anise and dill water: mixed with sodium bicarbonate and syrup, these waters constitute the domestic 'Gripe Water', used to ease flatulence in infants; it also can be made into a syrup to treat babies with colic or painful teething. Long term ingestion of fennel preparations by babies is a known cause of thelarche. For adults, fennel seeds or tea can relax the intestines and reduce bloating caused by digestive disorders. Essential oil of fennel has these properties in concentration.
Fennel tea, also employed as a carminative, is made by pouring boiling water on a teaspoonful of bruised fennel seeds.
In the Indian subcontinent, Fennel seeds are also eaten raw, sometimes with some sweetener, as it is said to improve eyesight. Fennel tea can be used as an eye tonic, applied directly like eyedrops or as a compress, to reduce soreness and inflammation of the eye. Extracts of fennel seed have been shown in animal studies to have a potential use in the treatment of glaucoma.
Blood and urine
Some people use fennel as a diuretic, and it may be an effective diuretic and a potential drug for treatment of hypertension.
There are historical anecdotes that fennel is a galactogogue, improving the milk supply of a breastfeeding mother. This use, although not supported by direct evidence, is sometimes justified by the fact that fennel is a source of phytoestrogens, which promote growth of breast tissue. However, normal lactation does not involve growth of breast tissue. There is a single case report of fennel tea ingested by a breastfeeding mother resulting in neurotoxicity for the newborn child.
Syrup prepared from fennel juice was formerly given for chronic coughs. Fennel is also largely used for cattle condiments. It is one of the plants which is said to be disliked by fleas, and powdered fennel has the effect of driving away fleas from kennels and stables.Plain water drunk after chewing and consuming fennel seeds tastes extremely sweet.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.