Fennel | Foeniculum vulgare

Used in Italian cuisine, Scandinavian and cental European baking and Indian cuisine, fennel is a typical resident of the spice cabinet. It's also a component of the Chinese Five Spice Powder and Bengali Panch Puran and features in Middle Eastern recipes too. Fennel 'seeds' are actually tiny fruits.

With numerous medicinal properties, especially for pitta conditions, female complaints, colicky babies and nursing mothers, fennel is widely used as a home remedy. Here's a compilation of fennel home remedies.

Indigestion: mix 1 teaspoon each of fennel and cardamom seeds, grind the mixture and take ¼ teaspoon of this powder with water after meals.

Indigestion: chew ½ tsp. roasted fennel and cumin seeds after each meal.

For diarrhoea: prepare a mixture by grinding 5 teaspoons of fennel and 3 teaspoons of ginger. Add some honey and mix this paste in your tea and consume 3 times a day.

For fever and stomach ache: boil 2 tablespoons of fennel in 1 cup of water until it is reduced to half. Filter and take 1 tablespoon every morning and evening for few days.

Cold, cough, upper respiratory infection: Chew ½ tsp. fennel seed powder mixed in a tsp. mishri (rock candy) or turbinado sugar 2-3 times a day.

Oedema: drink fennel tea made from 1tsp. fennel seeds boiled in a cup of water. Take twice a day.

Heat exposure: Soak a handful of fennel seeds in water overnight. Strain, add a pinch of black salt and little turbinado sugar and drink

For anaemia: take one and half cup of water, add 2 Tbsp. of fennel seeds and 2 Tbsp. rose petals. Boil the mixture and strain it. Drink this solution 2 times a day.

Rheumatic and arthritic pain: apply fennel oil on the affected areas.

Sore throat: Mix 2 to 3 drops of fennel oil in 1 tablespoon of honey. Take 1 tsp. at a time.

Bad breath: swoosh mouth with warm fennel water once a day.

For eyesight, night blindness: Drink a cup of carrot juice mixed with ½ teaspoon of powdered fennel.

Eye irritation and inflammation: add ½ teaspoon of fennel to a cup of water and boil until solution reduces to half. Cool and strain the liquid and use it as eye drops.

Burning urination: drink fennel tea made from 1tsp. fennel seeds boiled in a cup of water, sweetened with turbinado sugar.

Menstrual cramps: apply 1 drop of fennel oil, 1 drop of geranium, 2 drops of clary sage oil and 1 tablespoon of whole fat milk on the lower abdominal area.

To increase lactation: drink an infusion prepared by boiling 2 teaspoons of fennel in a cup of barley water for 2 to 3 times a day.

For Colicky Newborns: Add 1 tsp. fennel seeds to 8 ounces of boiling water. Cover and steep for 30 minutes. Strain. The steeping time can be reduced to 10 to 15 minutes by crushing the seeds first. A breastfeeding mother can drink this tea and pass along the benefits through her milk (an added benefit is that fennel also promotes lactation).

Gripe water for colicky babies 3 months to 1 year old: Dry roast a tbsp. of fennel seeds in an empty pan for few seconds. Add a cup of water to it and boil until it reduces in volume and the colour changes. Give 1tsp at a time babies 3-6 months, 2 tsp. for babies 6 months to 1 year..

Obesity: take a cup of water and add ½ teaspoon haritaki and 2 tablespoons of fennel. Boil the mixture until it reduces to ¼ quantity. Strain and mix a teaspoon of honey and drink this solution in the morning on an empty stomach.

Migraine: steep ½ cup fennel seeds in a litre of boiling water. Cool and strain the mixture. Apply this solution on the temples and forehead 3 times a day.

Alakananda Ma M.B., B.S. (Lond.) is an Ayurvedic Doctor (NAMA) and graduate of a top London medical school. She is co-founder of Alandi Ayurveda Clinic and Alandi Ayurveda Gurukula in Boulder Colorado, as well as a spiritual mother, teacher, flower essence maker and storyteller. Alakananda is a well known and highly respected practitioner in the Ayurveda community both nationally and internationally.

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