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A Guide To Fennel Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

Aromatherapy supplies with the words Guide To Fennel Essential Oil Benefits and Uses and photo of a fennel plant.

"With great fortitude and strength [sweet fennel essential oil] brings the light of solution into the shadows of difficulty," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul. She says the emotional benefits of fennel (Foeniculm vulgare) are to encourage enlivenment, motivation, clarity, perseverance, reliability, and assertiveness.

Basic Fennel Facts

Fennel comes in two varieties: Sweet (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce) and bitter  (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce). Most commonly used in aromatherapy is sweet fennel, which is the focus of this profile.

Plant family: Apiaceae

Production: Steam distilled from fresh crushed seeds.

Aroma: Sweet, peppery, licorice-like.

Perfume/Aromatic note: Top to middle.

Is fennel essential oil safe to use during pregnancy? No, and do not use while breastfeeding.

Is fennel safe for children? Avoid use with children under five years of age, according to Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Ed.

Cautions: Do not use fennel if you have endometriosis or estrogen-dependent cancer or epilepsy.

Main components of sweet fennel:

  • (e)-anethole   58.1–92.5%
  • (+)-limonene  0.2–21.0%
  • fenchone        0.2–8.0%
  • estragole        1.1–4.8%

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd Edition

Sweet Fennel Aromatherapy Benefits

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: In skin care sweet fennel encourages cell repair and refines all complexion types, especially mature skin. The essential oil is stimulating and revitalizing, increases self-motivation, and enlivens the personality.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: You can use sweet fennel for digestive orders, colic, indigestion, flatulence, nausea, constipation, cramps and other menstrual problems, menopause symptoms, cellulite, fluid retention, heavy legs, and respiratory conditions.

375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols: Fennel is indicated for all types of digestive and intestinal disorders and all types of menstrual problems.

The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Sweet fennel can nourish dull, oily, or mature skin. The oil may help relieve edema, rheumatism, anorexia, colic, constipation, indigestion, flatulence, hiccoughs, nausea, lack of periods, and menopausal problems.

Aromatherapy For Healing the Spirit: In Traditional Chinese Medicine fennel stimulates the flow of Qi-energy in the stomach and intestines, helping relieve indigestion, abdominal bloating, nausea, belching, and flatulence. The oil's regulating action on Qi-energy extends to the chest area and helps disperse cold phlegm. The oil also invigorates Qi-energy in the kidneys and spleen. Fennel is suited to people who tend to overthink and overanalyze. The oil's energy is warm and dry and it's main element is Earth.

Aromatica: A Clinical Guide to Essential Oil Therapeutics
, Volume 2: Psychologically, fennel promotes emotional stability and integration and also supports self-confidence and courage. Physically, the essential oil warms weak/cold conditions, stimulates hypotonic/weak conditions, and relaxes hypertonic/tense conditions. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the essential function of the oil is to activate Qi and Blood, resolve damp, harmonize the Shen and relieve pain.

Subtle Aromatherapy: Fennel may help protect you from psychic attack.

The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, fennel encourages tolerance, compassion, and understanding. Mentally, the oil helps increase  strength to deal with unwanted thoughts and helps you let go of worries and unhappy memories. Emotionally, the essential oil helps you deal with aggravation that shows up as heartburn, indigestion, or upset stomach.

Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Fennel helps protect you from outside, negative influences. The oil is especially useful for the third chakra to protect against negativity and to promote courage, confidence, self-acceptance, assertiveness, reliability, and motivation.

Essential Oils Handbook for Aromatherapy Practice: In ayurvedic aromatherapy, fennel is sweet, pungent, bitter, and slightly cooling and used to decrease all the doshas.

Fennel Essential Oil Uses and Blends

Do not use fennel if you have endometriosis.

Menstrual Pain Relief

  • 2 tablespoons jojoba oil
  • 7 drops sweet fennel essential oil
  • 7 drops sweet marjoram essential oil
  • 5 drops clary sage essential oil

Combine all of the ingredients. Massage lower abdomen and lower back as needed.

Jade Shutes, B.A., Dipl. AT, CH. "Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare)." Spring 2017.1 NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, p. 23.

Heartburn Relief

  • 2 drops fennel essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil
  • 1 teaspoon carrier oil

Blend oils. Massage the blend onto your upper abdomen.

Source: The Big Book of Essential Oil Recipes for Healing and Health

The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Third Edition, Vol. 1, suggests blending the following essential oils with fennel:

  • To relieve indigestion: black pepper, coriander seed, ginger, sweet marjoram, sweet orange, or spearmint.
  • To reduce menstrual pain: clary sage, geranium, ginger, lavender, sweet marjoram, or rose.
  • To relieve the cough and mucous of a cold: atlas cedarwood, peppermint, eucalyptus, ginger, myrtle, niaouli, or thyme.

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Photo Credit: KENPEI, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons