Fennel (Foeniculum Vulgaris)


You may often see the tall feathery stems of Fennel in hedgerows. It does seem to like growing near the sea as I have seen it quite often near the beach as well as growing wild inland on our country walks. If you crush the leaves they give off a warm aniseed smell. Both the leaf and seed are used medicinally.


It contains coumarins, volatile oils and flavonoids. By now you will be getting the picture that anything with volatile oils has antibacterial properties, but fennel’s main action is as a “carminative”. This means it calms stomach cramping due to its antispasmodic properties, therefore settling and soothing any discomfort in the digestive tract, as well as dispersing wind by breaking it up into small pockets so that it can be eliminated easily.

I use it in a mix with chamomile as an anti colic mix for babies and it is, in fact, in some proprietary anti colic mixes you can buy over the counter.

Fennel tea made from the seeds is a wonderful digestive calmer and “soonf” (fennel seeds) are often handed around after an Indian meal sometimes coated in sugar like sugared almonds…..very nice to chew after a heavy Indian meal and will help aid digestion.

I’ve just read that it smoothes wrinkles when drunk as a tea! I’m definitely going to give that a go!

Sadly, I’m allergic to Fennel oil which is extracted from the seeds as it is a most wonderful smelling oil. Fennel seeds were found amongst the royal grave goods of ancient Egypt, so obviously has a long history of usage.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist/Herbal Health Information

Passiflora or Passion Flower (Passiflora Incarnata)

If I want an Herb which really looks after someone suffering from nervous strain, I reach for the Passiflora.

It is such a wonderful gentle, calming, supporting nervine with mild sedative properties, that it is useful for any condition involving stress where the person needs calming and supporting.

Because of these properties, Passiflora may be used for cases of Insomnia, as it calms the brain as well as relaxes the body. One of the problems with insomnia is the brain goes in to hyperdrive and starts thinking about stupid things in a loop system, such as shopping, cleaning, washing, work, children’s activities, anything really, to prevent you getting to sleep.

Passiflora is an Herb which calms this mental restlessness down so that people can fall into a natural relaxed sleep. Night Night!

Don’t use it in pregnancy though; you will just have to put up with that little footballer having fun inside you at two o’clock in the morning.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist