Foeniculum vulgare herb side effects, Health benefit and research review. commonly known as fennel plant
Feb 28 2014

For centuries, Foeniculum vulgare fruits have been used as traditional herbal medicine in Europe and China. Foeniculum vulgare is the herb of first choice for the treatment of infants suffering from colic. Practically every part of the Foeniculum vulgare plant is edible. Foeniculum vulgare seed is widely used in India as an after-dinner breath freshener and also to help in digestion. You can find this plant growing as a weed in fields. You can make tea from fennel and it can help soothe your stomach. It can also help reduce the bad breath from consuming fish oil pills.

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Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) is an herb of the carrot family. Fennel's aromatic seeds are cultivated for both culinary and herbal uses. The fennel seeds have a licorice-like taste and are offered at the end of a meal in Asia and in South America to sweeten the breath and aid digestion.

Buy Foeniculum supplement (seed) 480 mg each pill

Recommendation: As an addition to the daily diet, take one or two Foeniculum vulgare capsules 1 to 3 times daily, preferably with food.


Health benefits of the herb
Foeniculum vulgare herb is helpful in colic, protects the liver from toxins, and has a slight pain reducing potential in dysmenorrhea (painful menstrual cramps).

What's in Foeniculum vulgare herb?
Many substances have been identified in Foeniculum vulgare including estragole, hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives, flavonoid glycosides, flavonoid aglycons, quercetin, kaempferol, chlorogenic acid, eriocitrin, rutin, miquelianin, rosmarinic acid, and caffeoylquinic acid. Most of these substances in fennel are antioxidants.

Historical uses
Foeniculum vulgare, and anise, Pimpinella anisum, are plants which have been used as estrogenic agents for millennia. Specifically, they have been reputed to increase milk secretion, promote menstruation, facilitate birth, alleviate the symptoms of the male climacteric (andropause), and increase libido. In the 1930s, some interest was shown in these plants in the development of synthetic estrogens. The main constituent of the essential oils of fennel and anise, anethole, has been considered to be the active estrogenic agent. However, further research suggests that the actual pharmacologically active agents are polymers of anethole, such as dianethole and photoanethole.

Foeniculum vulgare for menstrual pain
Comparison of the effectiveness of fennel and mefenamic acid on pain intensity in dysmenorrhoea.
East Mediterr Health J. 2006l; Modaress Nejad V, Asadipour M. Modaress Nejad V, Asadipour M. Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Kerman University of Medial Sciences and Health Services, Kerman, Islamic Republic of Iran.
A study in Kerman, Islamic Republic of Iran in 2002 compared the effectiveness of Foeniculum vulgare and mefenamic acid on pain relief in primary menstrual pain. Two groups of high-school girls (mean age 13 years) suffering from menstrual pain were randomized to receive Foeniculum vulgare extract or mefenamic acid for 2 months. In the Foeniculum vulgare group, 80% of girls and in the mefenamic acid group, 73% of girls showed complete pain relief or pain decrease, while 80% in the fennel group and 62% in the mefenamic acid group no longer needed to rest. There was no significant difference between the 2 groups in the level of pain relief.

Full of Foeniculum vulgare - Every part of the plant can be eaten
Foeniculum vulgare roots. bulbs and stalks can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable. Fennel bulbs could also be eaten raw.
Stems and leaves can be chopped and used in salads or soups.
Seeds can be used in liqueurs, tomato sauces, and pickles. Fennel seeds can also be chewed and kept in the mouth as a mouth freshener.
Foeniculum vulgare oil is used in liqueur, candy and perfume.

Foeniculum vulgare plant research
Fennel tea: risk assessment of the phytogenic monosubstance estragole in comparison to the natural multicomponent mixture.
Forsch Komplementarmed Klass Naturheilkd. 2004.
For centuries, Foeniculum vulgare fruits have been used as traditional herbal medicine in Europe and China. For the treatment of infants and sucklings suffering from dyspeptic disorders, Foeniculum vulgare tea is the drug of first choice. The administration of fennel as a carminativum is practiced in infant care in private homes and in maternity clinics as well where it is highly appreciated for its mild flavor and good tolerance. Some sources advise consumers to reduce their intake of foods containing estragole and methyleugenol, e.g. tarragon, basil, anis, star anis, jamaica pepper, nutmeg, lemon grass as well as bitter and sweet fennel fruits for reasons of health. These warnings are based on experiments with rats and mice where estragole, a natural ingredient of fennel fruits, proved to be carcinogenic. Meanwhile, criticism arose amongst experts concerning the interpretation of these studies. The crucial points of criticism concern the transfer of data obtained in animal models to the human situation as well as the high doses of the applied monosubstance, which do not at all represent the amounts humans are exposed to as consumers of estragole-containing foods and phytopharmaceuticals. Furthermore, studies on estragole metabolism revealed at least quantitative differences between the estragole metabolism of mice and men. In addition, it has been shown that an agent when administered in its isolated form may have significantly different effects and side effects than the same agent applied as a constituent in naturally occurring multicomponent mixtures. Thus, a multicomponent mixture such as fennel tea contains various antioxidants known to be protective against cancer. These differences were not considered in the risk assessment. A well done risk assessment should be based on appropriate data collected in humans. Considering the long traditional use of fennel tea and the total lack of epidemiological and clinical studies indicating a well founded cancerogenic potential, the probability of a serious risk connected with the consumption of Foeniculum vulgare tea seems to be negligibly small.

Antiinflammatory, analgesic and antioxidant activities of the fruit of Foeniculum vulgare.
Fitoterapia. 2004.
Oral administration (200 mg/kg) of Foeniculum vulgare fruit methanolic extract exhibited inhibitory effects against acute and subacute inflammatory diseases and type IV allergic reactions and showed a central analgesic effect. Moreover, it significantly increased the plasma superoxide dismutase and catalase activities and the high density lipoprotein-cholesterol level. On the contrary, the malondialdehyde (as a measure of lipid peroxidation) level was significantly decreased in Foeniculum vulgare fruit methanolic extract group compared to the control group. These results seems to support the use of fennel fruit methanolic extract in relieving inflammation.

Bioguided isolation and identification of the nonvolatile antioxidant compounds from Foeniculum vulgare Mill. waste.
J Agric Food Chem. 2004.
A bioguided isolation of an aqueous extract of fennel waste led to the isolation of 12 major phenolic compounds. Eight antioxidant compounds were isolated and identified for the first time in Foeniculum vulgare: 3-caffeoylquinic acid, 4-caffeoylquinic acid, 1,5-O-dicaffeoylquinic acid, rosmarinic acid, eriodictyol-7-O-rutinoside, quercetin-3-O-galactoside, kaempferol-3-O-rutinoside, and kaempferol-3-O-glucoside. The isolated compounds exhibited a strong antiradical scavenging activity, which may contribute to the interpretation of the pharmacological effects of fennel.

The effect of Foeniculum Vulgare seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study.
Altern Ther Health Med. 2003.
Dicyclomine hydrochloride is the only pharmacological treatment for infantile colic that has been consistently effective. Unfortunately, 5% of infants treated with dicyclomine hydrochloride develop serious side effects, including death. Foeniculum vulgare seed oil has been shown to reduce intestinal spasms and increase motility of the small intestine. However, there have not been any clinical studies of its effectiveness. To determine the effectiveness of fennel seed oil emulsion in infantile colic. Two large multi-specialty clinics. 125 infants, 2 to 12 weeks of age, who met definition of colic. Fennel seed oil emulsion compared with placebo. Relief of colic symptoms, which was defined as decrease of cumulative crying to less than 9 hours per week. The use of fennel oil emulsion eliminated colic, according to the Wessel criteria, in 65% of infants in the treatment group, which was significantly better than 23% of infants in the control group. There was a significant improvement of colic in the treatment group compared with the control group.  Side effects were not reported for infants in either group during the trial. Our study suggests that Foeniculum vulgare seed oil emulsion is superior to placebo in decreasing intensity of infantile colic.

History of Foeniculum vulgare plant and its medical uses, home remedy
Foeniculum vulgare has a long history of herbal use and is a commonly used household remedy, especially those of the digestive system. The seeds, leaves and roots can be used, but the seeds are most active medicinally and are the part normally used. An essential oil is often extracted from the fully ripened and dried fennel seed for medicinal use, though it should not be given to pregnant women.

Foeniculum vulgare leaf stalks and flower heads can be eaten raw or cooked. A similar aniseed flavor to the leaves. The aromatic seeds are used as a flavoring in cakes, bread, etc. They have a similar flavor to the fennel leaves and also improve digestion. The sprouted seeds can be added to salads. An essential oil from the fully ripened and dried fennel seed is used as a food flavoring in similar ways to the whole seed. The leaves or the seeds can be used to make a pleasant-tasting herbal tea.