What is Fennel?
Fennel is native to the Mediterranean, Asia, and Africa but has been naturalized around the world. Growing up to six feet tall, has green feathery leaves (think of dill leaves), has bright yellow cone-shaped flowers, and it can grow annually, biennially, or perennially. Fennel is known for its black licorice smell, like its cousin anise which is used in similar ways as fennel. There are a number of different types of fennel, for example, for medicinal purposes bitter fennel is used, for culinary purposes sweet fennel is used, and in other countries such as Italy, copper and bronze fennel are eaten as vegetables.
Benefits of Fennel?
How fennel is used for its health benefits has remained basically unaltered for thousands of years, and remains best known as a powerful (and tasty!) digestive aid, an intoxicating spice and food, an effective relief for coughs, and a gentle stimulant for normal milk production in nursing mothers. On top of that, fennel is seeped in folklore. Since the time of Hippocrates, fennel was not just a digestive aid but a sacred plant - athletes used it to keep their weight down and contribute to their endurance, and fennel was hung in households to fend off evil spirits and to bring prosperity. In ancient Roman culture, fennel was believed to support the ability to see clearly, both literally and figuratively; many Ayurvedic texts support the same premise. In Ayurvedic medicine, fennels harmonious nature is believed to bring the three doshas (elemental bodily constituents) into balance. Thousands of years of love for fennel surely must be onto something, and that something says that fennel nourishes both the brain and eyes, calms a raging libido, and brings peace to the soul...though that may be all due to having digested your food properly!
How to consume Fennel?
fennel can be used as an herb in cooking, whether ground or whole, it can be made into tea, tinctures, capsules, or eaten whole