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FENNEL

AKA:

Sweet fennel, wild fennel, Florence fennel, bulb fennel, finocchio, anise, Bitter Fennel, Florence Fennel and almost a 100 more names.

Propagation:

It can grow up to 5 feet tall, have light feathery foliage and bears yellow, flat umbels, each having 20-50 tiny yellow flowers. It can be grown from seed or cuttings in temps between 59-68 degrees F to germinate and best done in early spring and fall.


History/Folklore:

The fennel plant originated in the southern Mediterranean region and through naturalization and cultivation it grows wild throughout the Northern, Eastern, and Western hemispheres, specifically in Asia, North America, and Europe. The use of fennel seeds as an appetite suppressant was brought to the US by the Puritans. They would chew the seeds during long church services to keep hunger at bay. This led to the seeds being called “meetin’ seeds”. It is cultivated in fields and grows wild. Fennel was used by the ancient Egyptians as a food and medicine and was considered a snake bite remedy in ancient China. During the Middle Ages it was hung over doorways to drive away evil spirits. Fennel is also associated with the origin of the marathon. Ancient Athenian Pheidippides carried a fennel stalk on his 150-mile, 2 day run to Sparta to gather soldiers for the battle of Marathon with Persia in 490 B.C. The battle itself was also reportedly waged on a field of fennel.


Medicinal:

Fennel has a long history of use as a carminative and weight-loss aid, and seeds have been eaten during Lent and fasts to stave off hunger. In traditional medicine, fennel was used as an aphrodisiac and to encourage menstruation and lactation, although some sources caution against the latter uses due to possible toxicity to infants. Fennel seed and oil are approved by the German Commission E for short-term treatment of dyspepsia, flatulence, and upper respiratory catarrh. Oil is reportedly antioxidant, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and stimulates gastrointestinal motility. It is also believed to help maintain a healthy heart, support healthy skin, anti-inflammatory, aid in weight management, may improve symptoms of anemia, and many other uses.

*** Allergic reactions to fennel are possible but rare. According to the German Commission E, certain preparations are not recommended for pregnant women and young children. ***

Spiritually:

It is believed that if you plant fennel around your home to provide all-around protection. Place fennel seeds near windows to keep away unwanted visitors and malevolent energies. Burn fennel seeds to clear negativity from your home. Use the smoke from the seeds to purify any tools you want to use for your magical practice. You could also use dried flowers or stalks for smoke cleansing. It can be used internally as a tea or sprigs can be carried on the person in sachets or charms for clairvoyance, longevity, fertility, healing, love, purification, and strength. Courage, divination, cleansing, strength, energy, meditation, virility, psychic protection.


Summary:

I have heard of Fennel but didn’t know all the benefits and am excited to try to grow this next spring when I hopefully have a small greenhouse to be able to grow these kinds of things to enrich and bless my life in multiple ways!

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