Sweet Fennel Essential Oil Health Benefits Explained
Most of us have come into contact with Fennel at some point or another during the course of our lives. Whether it’s in its natural form, in a variety of dishes or even as a candy – it has a very distinct odor that is easily recognizable. I for one really love Indian food and find myself making curry quite regularly during the winter times – a spicy curry is a great way of warming up the body, easing congestion and boosting your immune system.
One of the most important ingredients I find myself adding to almost every curry I make is Fennel because it tastes similar to anise. It is both sweet and savory, so it can really balance out a dish. The added benefit of Fennel is that it grows like a weed – and I mean that in the best possible way. I started with two plants in my garden a year ago, and now I have to constantly trim the new sprouts as I have quite a small garden – but I can honestly say that I got my money’s worth.
The beauty of this plant is that practically every part of it can be used for something. It can be eaten, either raw, or used as a herb/spice for a variety of dishes – you’re not only limited to curries. In fact, the Fennel plant has been used in desserts such as licorice candy, cakes, sorbet and even in shortbread – not to mention the many other savory dishes this herb can be used in.
Fennel is native to Southern Europe and part of the Mediterranean basin, but is currently cultivated around the world in parts of Northern Africa, Australia and even Northern America. It is easy to cultivate in large amounts because it takes well to most soil types (even dry, acidic soils) and is quite a resistant plant – it can last well during times of drought or low rain.
Because of the plants high rate of growth due to seed cultivation, it has also been deemed an invasive species in many of these parts – but where many see a problem – I see an opportunity.
If the plant didn’t have as many uses as it does, I would be quick to label it as invasive – largely because it grows so fast. But the awesome thing about Fennel is, as I mentioned, that every part of it can be used – even in it’s raw, natural form. So perhaps, instead of treating it like we would most invasive species by cutting, burning and poisoning them, I suggest incorporating them into our daily diet in as many ways as possible.
This, as a means of limiting their growth. In other words, when you see the plant growing on the roadside on a hiking trail, pluck it straight out of the ground (root included) and take it home. You can use it in your teas, soups, curries, desserts and even to make a really potent essential oil out of. This is the real gold of the Fennel plant and I’ll be focusing on why I say that, below. So keep scrolling!
What Is Sweet Fennel Essential Oil And How Is It Made?
Sweet Fennel essential oil is produced from the seeds of the Fennel plant and has played an important role as a medicinal agent throughout history. The oil is extracted through a method known as steam distillation – to date, the oldest means of producing essential oils and is still regarded as the best means to do so. It produces the finest grade of oil with the no impurities.
With this method, the seeds of the plant are crushed to release the nutrients that are contained in their inner core. The crushed seeds are then placed in a chamber which is connected to another chamber via a copper, iron or glass tube which contains water. This water is then heated via open flame or electrically in order to produce steam.
The steam passes through the tube and fills the chamber with the crushed seeds. The essential nutrients and minerals contained in the crushed seeds are removed through the process of evaporation. The vapor (which contains all the nutrients) now passes through a second, thinner tube that is also connected to the chamber.
As the volume of the gas builds in the seed chamber, it is pushed through the second tube and enters a final chamber where the vapor condenses to form droplets. The droplets then gather at the base of the chamber to form the finished product as we know it – essential oil.
This oil can be used for a variety of things as well as a treatment for various illnesses and ailments. It’s totally non-toxic and can be ingested in small amounts. However, I’ll get into the warnings, considerations and possible side-effects later in the article.
For now, know that the Sweet Fennel essential oil has strong natural antiseptic and antimicrobial properties which make it suitable as an anti-fungal treatment and can also help to balance dry or oily skin. The oil also has depurative qualities which means that it can be used to detoxify your blood stream and kill off any bacteria inside your stomach. This helps to ease stomach cramps and digestive issues.
Personally, I’ve found that using the oil in a steam treatment when I’m sick helps to relieve me of my fever. Simply add 6 – 8 drops to some boiling water and breath in the steam for about 5 – 10 minutes. The oil will get to work very quickly. It also helps to relieve you of any congestion caused by backed up phlegm or mucus which harbors much of the bacteria that furthers your illness.
Making your own Sweet Fennel blend at home is quite easy, however it’s important for me to stress that this is NOT PURE EXTRACT and should not be used topically or ingested in large amounts as it may contains impurities as it has not been steam distilled.
For proper, medicinal grade oil – I recommend buying some from a reputable wholesaler or online store to reduce the risk of anything going wrong, allergic reactions or simply not getting the desired results. However, as a tester or to simply experiment at home, this is what you’ll need:
- 250 grams x Whole Fennel Seeds.
- 1x Food Processor (a mortar and pestle can work, but I recommend a food processor as it produces a finer powder and better finished product.
- 500 ml x Carrier Oil (olive, almond, sesame or canola).
- 1x Glass Mason Jar (with removable lid).
- 1x Muslin or Cheesecloth filter.
First, grind the seeds into a fine powder with the food processor (or mortar and pestle) and add them to the glass mason jar. Then add the carrier oil and stir for a short while. After that, simply place the glass jar on a sunny windowsill or anywhere it receives loads of direct sunlight. Leave it there for two weeks and stir the oil once a day. After the time has elapsed, filter the oil through the muslin/cheesecloth and voila! You’ve got infused sweet fennel oil!
Sweet Fennel Essential Oil For Breastfeeding And Babies
Okay, so this is quite a tricky topic for me to address as there’s no way for me to give a definitive, ‘one-size-fits-all’ answer to the question. Every woman is different and every pregnancy is different. So, as a rule of thumb – I highly recommend speaking to your doctor or a professional medical practitioner (not a nutritionist!) before using the oil during pregnancy. It’s potent stuff and could have an adverse effect on the development of your child as it can pass into your bloodstream and through the placenta reaching your child.
However, I have looked into the essential oils that are definitely not to use during pregnancy and no one lists Sweet Fennel essential oil as being harmful to your child during pregnancy. In fact the oil is totally non-toxic and should be considered safe to use for most ailments. With regards to pregnancy, the oil is considered to be a natural galactagogue – which means that it stimulates the production of estrogen in a women’s body.
Estrogen is a hormone that is responsible for many of the features that make women feminine. By stimulating the production of estrogen during or directly after your pregnancy, your body produces more milk which means you won’t have to turn to formula. However, I’d like to reiterate that you should only use Sweet Fennel essential oil during pregnancy after having consulted a doctor and in small, regulated doses. It contains an active chemical known as trans-Anethole which can lead to narcotic effects and even hallucinations when used in large doses. So safety first!
Sweet Fennel essential oil can also be used by middle-aged women to help relieve them of menstrual cramps caused by menopause. Menopause is when a woman’s menstrual cycle (natural production of estrogen, ova and other hormones related to her fertility) comes to an end. This period can often be painful for a woman as cramps, hot flushes and even osteoporosis occur quite often.
By increasing the amount of estrogen in your system, you can effectively prevent or delay premature menopause and help to strengthen your body during the first phases of menopause. I recommend using the Sweet Fennel essential oil in teas and in it’s natural form in soups etc. to help relieve you of your hot flushes, menstrual cramps and any general irritation that may be caused during this period of change for you.
Sweet Fennel Essential Oil For Weight Loss Explained
Fennel seed essential oil is really helpful for those seeking to lose weight – however, I should point out that it will not work on its its own. A balanced and regulated diet, along with regular exercise are the only ways in which you’ll be able to burn fat fast enough and keep your metabolism up.
However, using Sweet Fennel essential oil during this process has definite benefits in reducing the amount of fat levels contained in your blood. It can dissolve the low density lipids contained in your blood which lead to high cholesterol levels (and not the good kind of cholesterol your body produces while you jog or eat healthily). The oil also acts a potent metabolism booster which means you’ll be able to burn fat faster and get rid of toxins that slow your system down.
Finally, the oil acts as a natural appetite suppressant – so taking a drop or two in a glass of lukewarm water or adding the same amount to a juice or smoothie can help you fight off the hunger pangs and reduce your carbohydrate intake. The combination of all of these elements in a regulated cycle will definitely help you lose weight and gain confidence quickly.
Sweet Fennel Essential Oil For Skin Use
Firstly, one of the most important aspects of this oil is that it’s a strong natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. This means that the oil works well to rid the surface of your skin of any bacteria or fungal/yeast infections that lead to irritations such as rashes, dryness, itchiness, general redness and other common dermatophytes (skin related bacteria).
Dermatophytes cause more specific infections such as the Staphylococcus aureus which infects open wounds and causes a very serious infection (sometimes even life-threatening if left untreated), as well as more commonly contracted bacterial infections such as athlete’s foot. The oil is non-toxic, so it can be applied to open wounds without worry of worsening the infection or poisoning.
Some of the key active ingredients in Sweet Fennel essential oil are Alpha Pinene, 1,8- Cineole, Limonene and Camphor give it minor, but nonetheless applicable, cicatrisant properties – which means that it helps to stimulate cell regeneration and ultimately heal wounds, scars and scabs faster.
These same antiseptic and antibacterial qualities can be used to treat your face. The oil can be applied to cut through the excess sebum oil produced by oily skin types and can help clear your pores from being blocked as well as removing excess skin cells that also lead to pore blockage.
The cicatrisant qualities of the oil allow your pore and acne scars to heal which also allows your skin to naturally regulate the amount of oil it produces, giving your skin more time to heal. The oil also smells great and can be used as a natural fragrance or deodorant – as it will kill off any bacteria that may linger under your ‘pits’ and leave you smelling fresh for hours.
Side Effects Of Sweet Fennel Essential Oil
As I mentioned before, it’s always advisable to consult a doctor before using any essential oils during a pregnancy as different people might have different reactions to the oil and certain oils are more potent than others. The same applies to children under the age of 6 – a doctor should be consulted first, and if everything checks out, follow a regulated and relatively light dosage at first. However, Sweet Fennel essential oil is considered to be totally non-toxic, so it should be safe to use in most circumstances so long as you don’t do so in excess.
The common signs related to excessive consumption or ingestion of Sweet Fennel essential oil are vomiting, headaches, nausea, convulsions and hallucinations – although you have to take quite an excessive amount of the oil to induce any of these symptoms. However, if either of the above does occur, stop taking the oil immediately, drink lots of water and seek medical advice immediately.
Thank you for visiting Maple Holistics – read about Petitgrain Essential Oil and Lemon Balm Essential Oil at our blog!
I live by the motto: ‘Everything, in moderation’, and so far it’s worked out reasonably well. By this I mean that so long as you aren’t doing things in excess, you should be fine. The same applies to using natural products and especially essential oils. You know what they say about too much of a good thing?
However, Sweet Fennel is one of the few rare ‘good things’ I simply can’t get enough of! I think I’ve started justifying my obsession with this plant as a means of helping to combat the invasive plant species that are doing so much damage to our ecosystem and environment that, dare I say, it’s almost your duty as a national citizen of this great state to consume as much of it as possible! At least, that’s what I tell myself!