I have been harvesting my seeds, flowers and herbs over the last month or so, as you can see from the photographs above … and amongst these have been Fennel Seeds. They create such a lovely pungeant sweet smell that wafts for days across the kitchen! But not only that, they can be used to in so many ways to improve your health including treating infants with colic …. and keep the fleas away!
The scientific name for fennel is Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce and it is a member of the parsely family, otherwise known as the or umbelliferae family, along with cumin, dill, anise and caraway. It grows to about 6 ft in height – I really love the way it looks in midsummer with it’s delicate branches wafting in the wind, exuding an anise like sweet and fruity aroma when rubbed between your fingers.
I tend to use the soft growing tops, root-bulb and dried stalks throughout the summer extensively in a wide variety of dishes. At the end of the year I collect the seeds and leave them whole, crushing them only as and when I use them for either medicinal purposes or in cooking to flavor breads, dough, cakes, biscuits, and cheese or in fish or vegetable dishes.
Fennel symbolizes strength, longevity and courage.
In addition fennel seeds have many health benefiting nutrients, essential compounds, anti-oxidants, dietary fiber, minerals like copper, iron, calcium, potassium, manganese, selenium, zinc, and magnesium, and vitamins such as Vitamin A, vitamin E, vitamin C as well as many B-complex vitamins like thiamin, pyridoxine, riboflavin and niacin. They contain numerous flavonoid anti-oxidants (which is something that many people look for in a label in the supermarket these days) like kaempferol and quercetinompounds. These function as powerful anti-oxidants by removing harmful free radicals from the body thus protect from cancers, infection, aging and degenerative neurological diseases. The seeds are a rich source of dietary fiber, ie. 100 g seeds provide 39.8 g of fiber easing constipation condition and helps to lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of fennel helps protect the colon mucus membrane from cancers.
The tea from fennel leaves and seeds is beneficial for removing intestinal worms and bacteria. The syrup made from fennel juice alleviates the violent bouts of cough.
The volatile oil is antiseptic, sedative, carminative, expectorant and it is also used in the making of soap and perfumes.
The herb is also reduce (as by crushing, beating, or grinding) to very small particles and used to keep the flees away!
During the Summer Sostice In the Middle Ages fennel was placed by the door in order to fend off the evil spirits and the fennel seeds were used to block the keyhole to keep the ghosts from entering their homes.
PREPARATION OF THE TEA
To prepare an infusion of tea crush a spoonfull of fennel seeds and add to a cup of water or milk. Boil the mixture (apparently it is best if the container you heat it in is not made out of metal) and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Two to three cups of this mixtures can be consumed daily, until your symptoms disappear.
And I must add …
As with everything in life, Fennel seed should be avoided in large doses. Compounds in the fennel may be neuro-toxic in higher concentrations and may cause hallucinations and seizures. Due tot he estrongeic compound within it It may also exacerbate estrogen receptor linked cancer conditions like endometrial, breast, ovarian… etc. So, pregnant women may be advised to avoid eating fennel in large amounts and you should be careful if putting it in the feeding of a pregnant bitch.
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- 7 Surprising All-Natural Ways to Banish Bad Breath (naturesbeautysecrets.me)
- Fennel in Perfumes (fragrantica.com)
- Real Food Right Now and How to Cook It: Fennel (ecocentricblog.org)