Foeniculum is an aromatic spices with a high volatile oil content. It also contains bitter substances, given the duel benefit of stimulating a sluggish digestion and helping to calm the irritation that can result in griping pains, flatulence and over activity in the bowel. Like many of the aromatic spices it helps stimulate milk production in lactating mothers. It was used as an early slimming aid by Roman women as it was supposed to prevent pangs of hunger. It was also used as an insect repellent.
Foeniculum may be raised from seed in Spring and Autumn. The seed should be covered lightly with fine mould and when the plants are strong enough they may be set out in a bed about a foot apart. May be propagated by root division in Autumn in light sandy soils. It self seeds easily.
The plant enjoys sunny fertile well drained position. Although hardy it does not grow well where there are cold damp places. Collect ripe seeds for sowing or for culinary use. Dig up the root when mature.
Uses of the plant in culinary: the root can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable, the seeds used in sauces especially with chicken, lamb, fish and soups. The leaves can be used in salads. Uses as medicinal: for indigestion and colic, the root has been used for urinary disorders, for mouthwash and gargles for gum disease and sore throats. Other uses for facial and steam baths for deep cleansing.
Less than 2 percent of the insects in the world are harmful. Most are beneficial.