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Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Adas (Indonesian, Malay), adas pedas (Malay), alpha-pinene, anason dulce (Romanian), aneth doux (French), anethole, Anethum foeniculum, anis (Tagalog), Anthemis cotula (dog fennel), Apaiaceae (parsley family), aptechnyj ukrop (Russian), apteegitilliseemne (Estonian), badesopu (Kannada), badishep (Marathi), bitter fennel, carosella, cây thì là (Vietnamese), common fennel, édeskömény (Hungarian), estragole (methyl chavicol), Fenchel (German), fenchone, fenheļi parastie (Latvian), fenhelis (Latvian), fenicol, fenikel (Slovak), fenkel, fenkhel (Russian), fenkoli (Finnish), fenkolo (Esperanto), fennel honey syrup, fennel oil, fenneru (Japanese), fennika (Icelandic), fennikel (Danish, Norwegian), fenouil (French), fenoun (Provençal), fenykl (Czech), ferula communis (giant fennel), finocchio (Italian), finokio (Greek), florence fennel, Foeniculi antheroleum, Foeniculum capillaceum, Foeniculum officinale, Foeniculum vulgare, Foeniculum vulgare ssp. piperitum (bitter fennel), Foeniculum vulgare Mill. var. dulce (sweet fennel), Foeniculum vulgare Mill. var. vulgare (bitter fennel fruits), fructus Foeniculi, funcho (Portuguese), garden fennel, guamoori, haras (Tagalos), harilik apteegitill (Estonian), hinojo (Spanish), hoehyang (Korean), hoehyang-pul (Korean), h?i hương (Vietnamese), hui xiang (Mandarin Chinese), jinten manis (Indonesian), kama (Georgian), komorač (Serbian, Croatian), kopër (Albanian), koper włoski (Polish), koromač (Croatian), large cummin, large fennel, limonene, lus an t'saiodh (Gaelic), madhurika (Sanskrit), maduru (Sinhala), marac (Albanian), maratho (Greek), mehul (Basque), mellet karee (Thai), merula obisnuita, mieloi (Basque), miur belar (Basque), molură (Romanian), morach (Bulgarian), moti saunf (Hindi), mouri (Bengali), pačiolis (Lithuanian), pak chi duanha (Thai), pan modhuri (Oriya), paprastasis pankolis (Lithuanian), pedda jilakarra (Telugu), pennel (Korean), perunjiragam (Tamil), phak si (Laotian), phong karee (Thai), phytoestrogen, razianaj (Arabic), razianeh (Farsi), razyana (Azeri), rezene (Bulgarian, Turkish), samit (Armenian), samong-saba (Burmese), saunf (Hindi), shamaar (Arabic), shamar (Arabic), shamari (Swahili), shamraa (Arabic), shatpushpa (Sanskrit), shoap (Marathi), shoumar (Arabic), shumar (Arabic, Hebrew), siu wuih heung (Cantonese), sladki komarček (Slovenian), sladkij ukrop (Russian), sohikirai (Tamil), so-hoehyang (Korean), sombu (Tamil), sonf (Urdu), sopu (Telugu), spice of the angels, sulpha, sweet cumin, sweet fennel, thian-klaep (Thai), tian hi xiang (Mandarin Chinese), tiêu h?i hương (Vietnamese), tihm wuih heung (Cantonese), trans-anethole, uikyo (Japanese), ukrop sladki (Russian), Umbilliferae (parsley family), venkel (Dutch, Estonian), wariari, wild fennel, wuih heung (Cantonese), xiao hui xiang (Mandarin Chinese), yira (Thai).
  • Combination Products: Aloe Max Lax, Bust Fuel, Catnip and Fennel, Catnip and Fennel Extract, Colic and Gas Pains Formula Tincture, ColiMil®, Colon and Liver Cleanser Organic, Diet Support Tea, Digestive Enzymes, Digestion Supplement with Enzymes, Fennel Yam, Fennel Wild Yam Supreme, Femtone, Gastrix Formula with Chamomile, Hawthornia, Herbal Blemish Stick, Herbal Slim, Menstrual Cramping Formula Tincture, Naturlax 2, Naturlax 3, Nursing Milk Increase Tincture, Pedi Tone Natural Herbal Tonic, Restoring, Sattwa Shanti Herbal Chai Tea, Smooth Move®, TheraClear Anti Parasite Formula, Tummy Soothers.
  • Shao-Fu-Zhu-Yu Decoction is an herbal formulation used in Traditional Chinese medicine (1).
  • Note: Some languages do not differentiate between anise and fennel. Sea fennel or Siciline marine fennel (Crithmum maritimum) will not be included in this monograph.

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background:

  • Fennel is native to the Mediterranean region and is popularly used in the cuisine of that region. It has a mild licorice flavor and celery-like texture. It is a good source of potassium. Fennel may be served raw, sautéed, broiled, or fried, or used in a wide variety of other preparations.
  • For centuries, fennel fruits have been used as traditional herbal medicine in Europe and China. For the treatment of infants suffering from dyspeptic disorders, fennel tea may be a remedy of first choice. Its administration as a carminative is practiced in infant care in private homes and in maternity clinics, where it is appreciated for its mild flavor and good tolerance.
  • There is promising evidence from clinical trials that suggests that oral fennel may be useful for infantile colic, ACE inhibitor-induced cough, and dysmenorrhea. Its topical use has been studied for ultraviolet light skin damage protection and hirsutism. Although its use for infantile colic seems to be promising, additional research is needed before further conclusions may be drawn. Fennel tea alone or in combination with other herbs is popularly used for gastrointestinal disorders and to improve digestion. However, clinical trials evaluating fennel monotherapy for this use are lacking.
  • Fennel and teas containing fennel are generally well tolerated and considered safe in adults and children (2). Allergic reactions and gastrointestinal discomfort are the most common adverse effects, but occur rarely (3;4;5).

Dosing/Toxicology

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Precautions/Contraindications

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Mechanism of Action

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History

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Evidence Table

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Evidence Discussion

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Products Studied

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.