Fennel Essential Oil | History, Health Benefits & Uses
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Fennel Essential Oil | History, Health Benefits & Uses by Coach Karen Thorley

Fennel Essential Oil | History, Health Benefits & Uses by Coach Karen Thorley

I love using foods as medicine and fennel is no exception. 

Many would know fennel as a flavoursome culinary herb tasting much like a mild liquorice and available in most supermarkets in the fresh produce section. Fennel itself has anti-diuretic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits. The seeds also contain a powerful essential oil which has enhances these medicinal benefits.  

For hundreds of years, fennel seeds have been used to balance menstrual cycles and as a digestive aid. The Ebers Papyrus which comes from the 16th Century BC mentions Fennel seed as does the Hildegard’s Medicine from the 11th Century.  

If you are addicted to food and have no self-control when it comes to portion size, fennel seeds have been found to curb appetite. 2g of fennel seeds (about 1 teaspoon) made into 1 cup of tea and drank before a meal, can aid in reducing your hunger and in helping you consume fewer calories during that meal. The reason for this is the anethole which is the flavoured part of the seed. If you crush the seeds, you will release the oils and it will be more effective.

Medicinal Uses of Fennel

Here are some other results of modern scientific studies:


  • Fennel can be used to prevent and treat stress-induced neurological disorders such as anxiety, depression, memory disorders and social isolation. 

  • Fennel is effective for treating menopausal women with depression and anxiety disorders.

  • Fennel is an effective treatment for menopause symptoms in menopausal and post-menopausal women.  

  • Fennel essential oil works as effectively as Fluoxetine without the negative side effects. Flouxetine is the main ingredient in antidepressant and bi-polar medications, such as Prozac. The side effects of fluoxetine include nausea, heartburn, breathing disorders, seizures, pain, agitation, concentration and memory problems.

  • Test-tube and animal studies have shown promising benefits treating and protecting against both breast and liver cancer. Human studies have yet to be done.  

  • Fennel essential oil can be used on wounds to help heal as well as stave off infection due to its antibacterial effect. 

  • Fennel seed oil works more effectively than the only current treatment of dicyclomine hydrochloride which has potentially life-threatening side effects. Most babies will grow out of colic but using a little fennel seed oil has no side effects and can give significant relief from colic.

So how would you take fennel or use it as a medicine?

Firstly, you can add it to your diet as a food. Purchase fresh, and preferably organic fennel from your local farmers market and eat the food. It is a low g.i food and high in fibre so great for diabetics.  It has vasodilatory and vaso-protective properties, making it great for reducing blood pressure.  

You can add the seeds to your salads and cooked dishes to enhance the flavours.

Fennel Essential Oil Uses

The Essential Oil Desk Reference states that Fennel Essential oil is antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, antitumoral, estrogen-like, digestive aid, antiparasitic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, analgesic and increase metabolism. 

Fennel Oil can be used it neatly (without dilution) on wounds or on Vita Flex points and chakras.  

You can diffuse for up to 30 minutes, 3 times per day or directly inhale. 

Adding 1-2 drops to peppermint tea will provide relief from digestive cramping and bloating and even the hiccups. You can add 1-2 drops to your water and sip throughout the day. As it is a muscle relaxant, you can drink it before bedtime without fear it will disturb your sleep. 

Whether you are a lover of fennel’s strong unique flavour or not, there is no denying its many health benefits. And if you aren’t a fan, using it as an essential oil is a great alternative to still benefiting from its many medicinal uses.

Thanks for reading!


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