Foeniculum vulgare 

Common Names: Fennel, Bitter Fennel, Sweet Fennel
Family: Apiaceae
Part/s Used: Seeds, flowers, foliage
Energetics: Warming
Taste: Pungent, bitter, sweet 
Actions: Carminative, aromatic, antispasmodic, stimulant, galactagogue, rubefacient, expectorant
Planet: Mercury
Element: Fire

Habitat and Botanical Description:

Fennel is a licorice scented perennial that can grow up to 6 feet tall. The roots large, white and thick and produce a stout, pithy stem. The feathery like leaves are finely dissected and threadlike (similar to dill). The bright golden flowers are produced in large, flat terminal umbels with thirteen to twenty rays. Wild fennel has followed civilization and can often be found in roadsides, pastures, along the edge of wild habitat, rocky shore and hills forming in dense colonies. Wild fennel has naturalized throughout most of the US and in places that have Mediterranean climate, it grows so prolifically that it is often considered and invasive weed.

Medicinal Uses:

Wild fennel is a pleasant-tasting medicinal herb with an aroma reminiscent of anise. It's often used to add balance to tea blends for those who enjoy the flavor of fennel.

Beyond its appealing taste and scent, fennel offers numerous digestive benefits. As a carminative and stomachic, it aids digestion and eases discomfort by soothing muscle spasms and promoting healthy movement in the intestines. It's particularly effective in reducing gas and bloating. Fennel also has a numbing effect on digestive tract nerves, making it useful for issues like ulcers, hernias, and indigestion. You can chew fennel after meals or include it in dishes like curries and soups for extra digestive support.

Mothers seeking natural support for breastfeeding will find fennel valuable as well. It's considered a galactagogue, meaning it can enhance the quality and quantity of breast milk. This can provide relief to both lactating mothers and their infants, offering comfort for colic and indigestion. During pregnancy, fennel tea can assist with morning sickness and heartburn, especially when combined with peppermint.

Fennel's uses extend beyond digestion and lactation. It can serve as an eye wash for issues like bloodshot eyes, allergies, and pink eye. When combined with other herbs like calendula and goldenseal, it forms a soothing solution. To create an eye wash, prepare a cup of fennel tea, allow it to cool, then gently use it to wash the eyes.

In the realm of astro herbalism, Fennel, with its delicate feathery leaves and striking golden flowers, resonates harmoniously with Virgo's essence. Just as Virgos possess the ability to dissect complexities and discern the hidden layers, fennel reveals its intricacies through finely dissected foliage that resembles the focused gaze of a meticulous observer.

One of fennel's remarkable qualities lies in its affinity for facilitating clarity. The hollow tubes that form its structure invoke imagery of the clear channels of communication that Virgo seeks to establish. Like the skilled healer who seeks to cleanse and purify, fennel aids the digestive system, aligning with Virgo's association with bodily wellness and healing.


Harvest young fennels feathery fronds in the early summer by clipping from the stems, before the bulb has matured. Add to soups, salads and tea. In the summer when the flower is in full bloom you can harvest the pollen. Fennel pollen tastes lighter than the seeds and some describe pollen taste as a hint of licorice, honey, and marshmallows. Fennel pollen is a flavorful addition to breads, pesto, roasted meats, and fish. Harvest by clipping the entire flower head and shake upside down into a bag. Hang the bag in a cool, dry place where the flowers can dry, and the pollen can drop to the bottom of the bag.  Harvest the seeds in the fall on a warm afternoon by clipping off the mature flower heads when the when seeds are turning from green to brown. The wild seeds are small, dark, and irregular than the seeds from the cultivated variety.  Bundle and hang them upside down in bunches to dry. Shake or comb the seeds off.  Keep the seeds to sow in spring or use as a spice to afternoon digestive tea. Unlike garden fennel, wild fennel has an unpalatable root and does not produce a bulb. As always when wildcrafting be sure to harvest wild fennel in a clean area, away from roadsides or construction sites.

Recommended Products:


Fennel seed powder can be used as a poultice for insect bites and poison oak or as a mask to soothe irritated skin. A fennel facial steam is soothing, cleansing and detoxifying.


Seeds are gentle but sometimes irritating. Can cause allergic reaction to some individuals in the GI tract or skin dermatitis. Avoid during pregnancy with individuals that have estrogen issues as fennel can cause an estrogen like hormones. High doses or overdose of essential oil are toxic and can cause vomiting, edema, seizures. 



  • Hoffman, David. The Complete Herbs Sourcebook. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing Inc; 2016
  • Sinadinos, Christa. The Essential Guide to Western Botanical Medicine. Fieldbrook, CA; 2020
  • Sinadinos, Christa. Northwest School for Botanical Studies Course. Lecture Notes; 2014
  • Popham, Sajah. The Vitalist Herbal Practitioner Program: School of Evolutionary Herbalism. Lecture Notes; 2021

 Disclosure: This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.