Heirloom Fennel- Perennial
(Tip: Use a paper or plastic bag and rubber band over drying blooms to catch seeds)
Fennel is an excellent herbal additive to many culinary dishes, including salads, fish, and sauces. Fennel has through history been considered an appetite depressant, and as such, a weight loss aid. All parts of the Fennel plant are safe for use. A tea can be made to increase the flow of milk in nursing mothers and menopausal women may want to try it to ease the associated symptoms. The leaves or stems can be pounded into a paste and given to nursing mothers to relieve breast swelling. Fennel Teas, or Fennel Water have been used throughout history to break up kidney stones, quiet hiccups, prevent nausea, aid digestion, prevent gout, purify the liver, reverse alcohol damage to the liver, and treat jaundice. For babies, it is said to to relieve colic and flatulence, and to expel worms. It may be effective when used along with conventional treatments in prostate cancer (and it is definitely worth trying, but consult with your doctor first). The tea can also be gargled as a breath freshener and applied as an eye wash. Alternatively, the leaves can be dried, pulverized into a powder, and made into Capsules for when it’s not convenient to utilize a tea. To make Fennel water, use 8 drops of Oil to 1 pint of water – take up to 8 teaspoons per day. It is disliked by fleas, and can therefore be used around the house in doorways and near pet bedding to reduce flea populations. Fennel is a cleansing and medicating herb, and can be used for a steam facial for opening pores and rejuvenating facial skin.
Remove seed heads from the fennel plant when the seeds turn brown. Clip off the seed heads with the pruning shears and place them into the paper bag. Leave the seed heads in the sealed bag for one or two weeks until they dry completely and then carefully brush the seeds from the seed heads to save the seeds. Store the seeds in a small plastic container or glass jar.