Fennel Oil (Foeniculum vulgare)
A member of the parsley (Umbelliferae) family, fennel is prized for its mild liquorice-like flavor. There are three types of edible Fennel: one is an herb and the others are vegetables. Originally from southern Europe, it is now naturalized around the world.
Fennel oil (Foeniculum vulgare) is extracted from the dried fennel seeds by steam distillation. The ripe seeds are harvested before they fall by cutting and collecting the seed heads.
Common fennel is grown for its seeds and leaves, Sicilian for its tender young stems, and Florence fennel is cultivated for its very thick basal leaf stalks. The plant resembles a plump celery plant with finer leaves. Its three swollen bases form a false bulb.
This oil is colorless or pale yellow and smells very sweet, but slightly earthy or peppery-spicy, with a hint of a fruity-fresh top note.
Herbalists and homeopaths use fennel for treating Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and tummy pains, especially if associated with anxiousness.
The dried herb, when infused with water, is commonly used as an after dinner tea to ease digestion and to help to dispel trapped gas.
Diet specialists recommend drinking fennel tea for its diuretic action.
Traditional gripe water was made from mixing sodium bicarbonate and fennel together to form syrup for the flatulence of infants.
It even has a traditional history of protecting us from the spirit world. Parts of the fennel plant were hung outside the house to prevent witchcraft and to warn off evil spirits.
Anethol is a chief constituent of fennel and has strong antimicrobial properties.
We use both fennel oil and fresh fennel in our Sugar Scrub for both its aroma and the cleansing and toning effect on the skin.