A member of the parsley (Umbelliferae) family, fennel is prized for its mild liquorice-like flavour. There are three types of edible Fennel: one is an herb and the others are vegetables. Originally from southern Europe, it is now naturalised around the world.
Common fennel is grown for its seeds and leaves, Sicilian for its tender young stems, and Florence fennel is cultivated for its very thick basal leaf stalks.
The plant resembles a plump celery plant with finer leaves. Its three swollen bases form a false bulb.
Herbalists use fennel for treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach pains, especially if associated with anxiousness. It is also used to reduce inflammation. Aromatherapists used fennel to cleanse oily, congested skin types.
Infused with water, the dried herb is commonly used as a tea to ease digestion and to help to dispel trapped gas. It is also believed to be very good for the spleen and liver.
Fennel is used chopped up raw in salads and blended into smoothies. When cooked, it can be sautéed in butter, steamed and served in a cream sauce. It is used in Italian Finocchiona salami and in Fenouillet, a French wine.
People believed that hanging parts of the fennel plant outside the house would prevent witchcraft and ward off evil spirits.
One of the chief constituents of fennel is anethol, which has strong antimicrobial properties.
We use both fennel oil and fresh fennel in our Sugar Scrub for its aroma and the cleansing, toning and stimulating effects on the skin.
Brazened Honey contains fresh fennel blended and added straight into the facemask. We use the antioxidant quality of quercetin, a constituent of fresh fennel, to brighten the skin.