Used in herbalism and aromatherapy, fennel oil is distilled from the crushed seeds of the fennel plant. Most widely known as a cooking herb, fennel was traditionally used to help support breastfeeding mothers as it helps to promote milk flow, and soothe colic in babies.
Fennel contains plant oestrogens, that help to balance female hormones during menstruation and the menopause. It has diuretic properties, which helps ease premenstrual water retention and soothe the symptoms of cystitis and other urinary tract infections. It should be avoided during pregnancy, however.
It also has an antispasmodic effect, useful for treating nausea, wind, stomach cramps and irritable bowel syndrome. Fennel can also help to treat the symptoms of gum disease and mouth infections as well as anxiety and depression. During a fast or a detox, fennel is useful for reducing hunger.