Yellow flowers and fluffy leaves best characterize fennel, a plant indigenous to the Mediterranean shores yet widely known because of its use in culinary arts. The bulb, foliage, and seeds of the Fennel Herb are used in cooking recipes in many parts of the world. For example, bulbs and fronds of the plant are common ingredients in salads, pastas, vegetable dishes, and side dishes in Mediterranean cuisines, whether raw or cooked.
Meanwhile, the seeds form part of ingredient in Italian sausages and meatballs and northern European rye breads. Because of its strong sweet anise-like flavor, it is a spice ingredient in India and the Middle East, while roasted seeds of fennel are used as after-meal digestive and as breath freshener in Pakistan and India.
Aside from culinary purposes, Parts of Fennel also serves medicinal uses such as relief of digestive problems, increase in lactation, and reduction of inflammation. It contains an essential oil used in aromatherapy. For internal use, fennel is used to increase milk flow in breastfeeding mothers. Women who are suffering from menstrual cramps also find relief in fennel herb. Meanwhile, juice extracted from the fresh herb or its fruit can also relieve chronic coughs and build up of mucus on the upper respiratory tract in both adults and children. Fennel can also be used for treatment of skin disorders, conjunctivitis, and inflammation of the eyelid. It is a detoxifying agent and it helps reduce the body’s cellulite level by easing constipation and flatulence. It prevents wrinkle formation and can be used to wash your face to rejuvenate your skin. In fact, you may find fennel as an ingredient to the natural products of many holistic facial establishments.
Growing fennel herb is not complicated. You may also want to purchase pre-planted fennel found at any local garden store. It can survive well even after the first frost because it is hardy in nature. It loves the sunlight and is best grown in well-drained soil. It is best to grow this herb in rich soils and then you can just add fertilizer once or twice a season. It does not require much water so during dry periods you can water the plant once or twice per week only. Growing fennel herbs start from seeds which are sown directly into your garden early in the season. If you start planting in mid-summer, expect to have your first harvest in the fall. At anytime, the Fennel Leaves can be gathered while if you want to harvest the bulb, wait until they reach the size of a tennis ball or larger.
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