Fennel essential oil (Foeniculum vulgare) is an acquired taste — there is no doubt about it. Strong licorice-like flavor with a hint of herb and spice, it is true that this essential oil is not one that most people reach for instinctively. However, with its wide array of health benefits, it would be a terrible shame to disregard this oil simply because of its more unique scent.


Hence, in this article, we will be exploring all things related to fennel essential oil — from the extraction of the essential oil to its myriad benefits.


What is Fennel Essential Oil Made Of?


Fennel essential oil is made of the seeds of the fennel plants. Green and white with yellow flowers, fennel is an evergreen perennial native to the Mediterranean. Today, fennel plants are found all around the world and commonly grown in vegetable and herb gardens.


Fennel, fennel essential oil, and dried fennel seeds have multiple uses and are often utilized in cooking and baking as well as a typical addition to perfumes, soaps, skincare, and pharmaceuticals.


How is Fennel Essential Oil Extracted?


The essential oil of fennel is extracted via steam distillation of the fennel seeds. Here, crushed fennel seeds are subjected to hot steam that converts the natural oil in the seeds into vapor. The vapor is then condensed into liquid fennel essential oil.


Benefits of Fennel Essential Oil


1.      Heals wounds


Fennel essential oil and fennel itself has long been used to heal wounds, scrapes, and cuts. For example, in ancient China, fennel was used as a remedy for snakebite.


This likely because of the antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds within fennel — such as limonene ­­­— that help to prevent infection and speed up the healing of wounds.


2.      Reduces and prevents spasms


Spasms are abnormal contractions in the intestines, muscles, nerves, or respiratory tracts that result in coughing, hiccups, cramps, pain, convulsion, and even epilepsy. Not only painful, but spasms can also be fatal if not properly treated.


Here is how fennel essential oil can help: the oil has a relaxing effect on nerves, muscles, and the respiratory system. This helps to provide some quick relief to the conditions mentioned above.


A study on the effect of fennel seed oil in infantile colic found that the oil reduces intestinal spasms and increases the movement of cells in the intestines of infants. The findings then concluded that the oil helps to decrease the intensity of colic in infants.


3.      As a remedy for digestive issues


Fennel essential oil is a carminative and it provides some much-needed relief from digestive problems such as indigestion, gas, bloating, pain in the abdomen, and constipation. It even helps to stop the formation of additional gases.


Excellent for those suffering from the above conditions, fennel essential oil helps to keep the digestive system healthy and functioning properly.


To allow the essential oil to work its magic, add one or two drops of the oil to your water or tea. Alternatively, combine two drops of fennel essential oil with a carrier oil (coconut oil, for example) and massage onto your abdomen and the bottom of your feet for some quick relief.


4.      Contains remarkable antioxidants and powerful compounds


Packed to the brim with antioxidants and powerful compounds, fennel essential oil has been shown to contain more than 87 volatile compounds. This includes the polyphenol antioxidants chlorogenic acid, gallic acid, cinnamic acid, rosmarinic acid, quercetin, and apigenin.


Besides that, fennel essential oil also contains compounds such as anethole, fenchone, and limonene. These are all vital for the good health of the body. For instance, anethole is anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and chemopreventive, antidiabetic, and neuroprotective — amongst other things, of course. Limonene, on the other hand, has been shown to demonstrate immunomodulatory properties and may even help with asthma and allergies.


5.      Helps with chronic cough


Fennel essential oil also provides relief for congestion of the respiratory system (due to cold and viral infection) and chronic coughs.


In fact, in Germany and the United States, fennel essential oil is often used as an expectorant in cough remedies. For example, fennel can be found as an ingredient in expectorant syrups and lozenges for coughs.


6.      Adds flavor to dishes


Besides that, fennel also absolutely belongs in the kitchen. Everything from fennel seeds to fennel essential oil is a great addition to the kitchen. As fennel oil has strong flavors, it adds some “oomph!” to just about any dish.


To utilize the potent flavor of fennel in cooking, start small to make sure that the essential oil does not overpower the dishes. Try adding a toothpick’s amount to soups and stir-fries. Alternatively, fennel essential oil also adds a delicious complexity to dips and salads.


7.      Minimizes sugar cravings


For those of you who are cutting out sugar as part of your New Year’s resolution, fennel essential oil should be your new best friend. Its naturally sweet taste is a great substitute for processed sugar and sweets. This is because fennel contains trans-Anethole, a compound that is 13 times sweeter than table sugar. As a matter of fact, trans-anethole is even used as a flavoring agent in the United States and various other countries.


To fight the siren calls of processed sugar, simply add a drop of fennel essential oil in water or a green juice. Alternatively, place a drop of the essential oil on your toothbrush to help with the cravings.


8.      Enhances productivity


When the mid-afternoon slump looms near, whip out your fennel essential oil to get you to the finishing line. The essential oil can help you to regroup and redirect your focus for productivity.


To allow fennel essential oil’s distinctive and stimulating aroma to revive your productivity, add a few drops of the oil to your diffuser.


9.      Perfect as a stimulant


On top of that, fennel essential oil also stimulates all the essential activities in the body. For example, it stimulates the nervous system, the secretions from endocrine and exocrine glands (including enzymes, saliva, mucus, and sweat), and the digestive system.


This helps to keep the systems working regularly and this, in turn, ensures that the body is healthy.


Mixing Fennel Essential Oil with Other Essential Oils


Now, unlike the typical floral scents, fennel essential oil requires a little more thought when it comes to blending it with other essential oils.


Its unique sweet and earthy scent blends perfectly with spice essential oils like cinnamon, clove, and nutmeg.


Alternatively, fennel essential oil is also excellent when used as a juxtaposition for fresh citrus essential oils like lime and bergamot.


Of course, this distinctive essential oil pairs well with the typical floral scents mentioned above, too. This includes lavender and rose.


Other Good-to-Know Information


Fennel essential oil is typically safe and not very prone to causing an allergic reaction. However, even then, you should always start with a patch test before using the essential oil liberally.


Besides that, fennel also potentially interacts with certain medications, including estrogen pills and cancer medication. Hence, it is a good idea to check with your physician first before using the oil in high doses.


Is Fennel Essential Oil Right For You?


Indeed, fennel essential oil is not for everyone because of its distinctive aroma. However, once you look (and smell) beyond its scent, you will discover an extremely beneficial essential oil that can do wonders for your body.


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