Common Sage

Sage Leaf & Oil (Salvia officinalis)

Salvia officinalis (sage, also called garden sage, common sage, or culinary sage) is a perennial, evergreen subshrub, with woody stems, grayish leaves, and blue to purplish flowers. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae and native to the Mediterranean region, though it has been naturalized in many places throughout the world. It has a long history of medicinal and culinary use, and in modern times it has been used as an ornamental garden plant. The common name “sage” is also used for a number of related and unrelated species.

Sage is an herb. The leaf is used to make medicine. There are many species of sage. The two most common species are common sage (Salvia officinalis) and Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia). Sage is used for Alzheimer disease, diabetes, high cholesterol, and symptoms of menopause. Sage might help with chemical imbalances in the brain that cause symptoms of Alzheimer disease. It might also improve how the body uses insulin and sugar.

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Like many herb and spice oils, Sage is helpful for digestive issues. It can help relieve symptoms of stress, such as emotional exhaustion, nervousness, mental fatigue, and head and neck tension. Also, Sage is a powerful oil that can be neurotoxic in large amounts. It is recommended to be used at a maximum dilution of 0.4%. This oil should also not be used while pregnant or breastfeeding.

The health benefits of sage essential oil can be attributed to its properties as an antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, cholagogic and choleretic, cicatrizant, depurative, digestive, disinfectant, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, laxative, and a stimulating substance.

This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of sage leaves and is constituted mainly of aesculetin, alpha-humulene, alpha thujene, alpha-thujone, alpha-terpineol, alpha terpenes, alpha-pinene, alpha maaliene, aromadendrene, beta-pinene, beta copaene, beta-thujone, borneol, camphor, cineole, caryophyllene oxide, camphene, delta cadinenes, linalool, limonene, myrcene, ocimene, octanol, paracymene, para cymenol, salviol, terpineol, thujanol, and terpinolene.

Blending: Essential oil of sage blends well with the essential oils of Clary Sage, Geranium, Ginger, Lavender, Orange, Vetiver, Neroli, Rosemary and Tea tree.

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Benefits of Consuming Sage

Alzheimer disease. Taking extracts of two different sage species, common sage and Spanish sage, for 4 months seems to improve learning, memory and information processing in people with mild to moderate Alzheimer disease.

Diabetes. Taking common sage leaf extract three times daily for 3 months lowers fastingblood sugar and average blood sugar over time (HbA1c) in diabetes patients.

High cholesterol. Taking common sage three times daily for 2 or 3 months reduces “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood fats called triglycerides. It also increases “good” high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, in people with high cholesterol.

Symptoms of menopause. Research shows that taking common sage extract for 8-12 weeks improves symptoms of menopause, especially hot flashes and night sweats.

Decline in memory and thinking skills that occurs normally with age. Taking a single dose of common sage extract might improve some measures of memory in healthy older adults.

Hot flashes in men receiving androgen deprivation therapy (ADT) for prostate cancer. Early research shows that taking common sage extract three times daily for 4 weeks reduces the severity and frequency of hot flashes in men receiving this treatment.

Lung cancer. Some research suggests that people who regularly use sage as a spice may have a 54% lower chance of developing lung cancer than those who don’t use sage as a spice.

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Memory. Taking a single dose of common sage extract or Spanish sage essential oil by mouth seems to improve some measures of memory in healthy adults. But these sage species do not seem to improve memory when used as aromatherapy.

Sore throat (pharyngitis). Using a spray containing common sage extract 15% reduces throat pain in people with a sore throat. But sprays containing higher (30%) and lower (5%) amounts of common sage extract do not seem to reduce throat pain.

A hormonal disorder that causes enlarged ovaries with cysts (polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS). Some research shows that taking sage helps to reduce some, but not all, symptoms in people with PCOS.

Sunburn. Applying an ointment containing common sage extract to the skin after exposure to UV light seems to reduce the development of skin redness.

Dosing BY MOUTH:

For Alzheimer disease: 1 gram of sage per day. A dose of sage extract, gradually increased over time to 2.5 mg three times daily, has also been used.

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For diabetes: 500 mg of common sage extract has been used three times per day for 3 months.

For high cholesterol: 500 mg of common sage extract has been used three times per day for 2 or 3 months.

For symptoms of menopause: 300 mg of common sage extract has been used daily for 12 weeks. Also, 280 mg daily of a specific thujone-free common sage extract (Sage Menopause, Bioforce AG) has been used for 8 weeks.

Benefits of Using Sage Oil

Antifungal: The presence of camphor and camphene in this essential oil gives it an antifungal property. This oil can inhibit fungal infections, both internally and externally, and gives relief from fungal infections like dysentery, skin diseases, Athlete’s Foot or dermatitis. This property is one of the causes behind its use in skincare products.

Antimicrobial: The components in sage essential oil which give protection against fungal infections also provide protection against microbial infections too. Therefore, you can protect small wounds or cuts from developing irritating or potentially dangerous infections, as confirmed by a report published in the African Journal of Biotechnology.

Antibacterial: This oil is equally useful at countering bacterial infections since it kills bacteria and inhibits their growth in the body. This property can also be used to heal ailments like bacterial infections in the ears, nose, throat, eyes, genitals, urethra, colon, intestines as well as on the skin and in wounds.

Antioxidant: This is perhaps the most valuable aspect of this essential oil and the reason behind its extensive use in anti-aging and skin treatment products. Sage gets it potent antioxidant power from rosmarinic acid and carnosic acid. Antioxidants, as the name suggests, act against oxidants or free radicals in the body, which are the main causes of aging. These antioxidants slow down aging and prevent symptoms like wrinkles, sagging skin, and muscles, reduction in vision and hearing capabilities, malfunctioning of the brain, memory loss, degeneration of tissues, macular degeneration, and nervous disorders.

Antiseptic: Since it has antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal properties, it serves as an antiseptic for wounds, surgical incisions, post-natal injuries, ulcers, and sores.

Anti-inflammatory: It reduces inflammation on the skin, inflammation due to fever, and prevents the entry of poisonous material into the bloodstream. It also reduces the effects of excessive intoxicants and narcotics, ingestion of excessive salty or spicy food, the influence of hot winds, etc. A study in Pharmaceutical Biology journal suggests that it helps cure inflammation in the stomach, intestines, and excretory tracts too.

Antispasmodic: This property of sage essential oil is useful in treating all problems that arise from spasms, including pain in the stomach, chest, and intestines, as well as coughs, convulsions, and cramps.

Cholagogue & Choleretic: According to the International Journal of Biology, sage promotes the discharge of bile. Sage essential oil helps in digestion, soothing the stomach, and improving the functionality of the whole digestive system against inflammation caused by excessive acids. It also neutralizes acids in the stomach and the bloodstream, thereby providing relief from acidity and acidosis, which in turn protects us from peptic ulcers due to acidity, as well as from boils, eruptions, and skin diseases that occur when acid levels rise in the blood.

Cicatrisant: This is yet another property which has given sage essential oil a strong place in the world of cosmetics as a key ingredient of anti-mark and anti-spot cream. Sage oil helps to eliminate scars, post-natal abdominal stretch marks, and blemishes caused due to boils, pox, and sores. It also helps in quick healing of wounds and incisions.

Depurative: Sage essential oil speeds up the removal of toxins from the blood through excretion or sweating and thus purifies the blood, acting as a depurative.

Digestive: It acts as a digestive medicine in case of indigestion by facilitating the decomposition of food. It does so by promoting the secretion of bile and gastric juices and by inhibiting microbial growth in the digestive system, which interferes with the digestive process.

Disinfectant: The antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiseptic properties of essential oil of sage make it an effective disinfectant, as it gives sound protection from both internal and external infections.

Emmenagogue: This essential oil regularizes menstrual cycles and helps relieve obstructed menses. It activates certain hormones, such as estrogen, which helps to bring about clear menstruation and gives relief from problems like a headache, nausea, weakness, fatigue, depression, mood swings, and other associated symptoms of periods.

Expectorant: It can give you relief from a cough, cold, and infections in your chest and respiratory tracts. It also provides relief from congestion that results from the common cold.

Febrifuge: Sage essential oil reduces fevers by fighting infections and reducing inflammation caused by them.

Laxative: It facilitates excretion and eliminates constipation by promoting the discharge of certain fluids, as well as stimulating the intestines.

Stimulant: If all the properties of this essential oil are to be described with a single term, ‘stimulant’ would be the appropriate one. Most of the properties it displays are different expressions of this property. It stimulates the brain, nervous system, liver, spleen, and the circulatory and excretory systems, thereby activating and optimizing them.

Other Benefits: Sage essential oil helps to manage dermatitis, herpes, psoriasis, sinusitis, asthma and bronchitis, accumulation of phlegm, cerebral palsy, depression, sciatica, and lumbago as well as induces mental stability, alertness.

Side Effects of Using Sage

When taken by mouth: Sage is likely safe in amounts typically used in foods. It is possibly safe when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts, for up to 4 months. But sage is possibly unsafe when taken by mouth in high doses or for a long time. Some species of sage, such as common sage (Salvia officinalis), contain a chemical called thujone. Thujone can be poisonous if you take too much. This chemical can cause seizures and damage the liver and nervous system. The amount of thujone varies with the species of sage, the time of harvest, growing conditions, and other factors.

Special Precautions and Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Taking sage during pregnancy is LIKELY UNSAFE because of the possibility of consuming thujone, a chemical found in some sage. Thujone can bring on a woman’s menstrual period, and this could cause a miscarriage. Avoid sage if you are breast-feeding, too. There is some evidence that thujone might reduce the supply of mother’s milk.

Diabetes: Sage might lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use sage. The dose of your diabetes medications may need to be adjusted by your healthcare provider.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might have the same effects as the female hormone estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use Spanish sage.

High blood pressure, low blood pressure: Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulaefolia) might increase blood pressure in some people with high blood pressure. On the other hand, common sage (Salvia officinalis) might lower blood pressure in people with blood pressure that is already low. Be sure to monitor your blood pressure.

Seizure disorders: One species of sage (Salvia officinalis) contains significant amounts of thujone, a chemical that can trigger seizures. If you have a seizure disorder, don’t take sage in amounts higher than those typically found in food.

Surgery: Common sage might affect blood sugar levels. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgery. Stop using common sage as a medicine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Medication Interactions

Medications for diabetes (Antidiabetes drugs) interacts with SAGE: Sage might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are also used to lower blood sugar. Taking sage along with diabetes medications might cause your blood sugar to go too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed. Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), chlorpropamide (Diabinese), glipizide (Glucotrol), tolbutamide (Orinase), and others.

Medications used to prevent seizures (Anticonvulsants) interacts with SAGE: Medications used to prevent seizures affect chemicals in the brain. Sage may also affect chemicals in the brain. By affecting chemicals in the brain, sage may decrease the effectiveness of medications used to prevent seizures. Some medications used to prevent seizures include phenobarbital, primidone (Mysoline), valproic acid (Depakene), gabapentin (Neurontin), carbamazepine (Tegretol), phenytoin (Dilantin), and others.

Sedative medications (CNS depressants) interact with SAGE: Sage might cause sleepiness and drowsiness. Medications that cause sleepiness are called sedatives. Taking sage along with sedative medications might cause too much sleepiness. Some sedative medications include clonazepam (Klonopin), lorazepam (Ativan), phenobarbital (Donnatal), zolpidem (Ambien), and others.

References

https://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/essential-oils/sage-essential-oil.html

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-504/sage

https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/dalmatian-sage-oil.asp

https://www.planttherapy.com/sage-dalmatian-essential-oil

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvia_officinalis

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3809930/

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/292293630_Dalmatian_Sage_Salvia_officinalis_L_A_Review_of_Biochemical_Contents_Medical_Properties_and_Genetic_Diversity

https://www.acanceresearch.com/cancer-research/medicinal-property-of-sage-saliva-for-curing-illnesses-such-as-obesity-diabetes-depression-dementia-lupus-autism-heart-disease-and.php?aid=8089

https://bhma.info/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/SalviaMonograph1.pdf

https://www.iso.org/standard/17791.html

https://europepmc.org/article/pmc/6473381

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003706/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5318325/

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10552494/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5634728/

Rose Buds, Petals & Hips

Rose Buds, Petals & Hips

Rose (Rosa centifolia) is used in the traditional Ayurvedic system of medicine for managing various diseases.

Rose powder or petal jam is useful in managing digestive problems like hyperacidity and diarrhea due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

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Rose tea is useful for soothing digestive tract, calming the mind and reducing internal inflammation.

Rose oil in a diffuser can help calm and soothe the senses as its fragrance is a powerful mood enhancer.

Benefits of Consuming Roses

Chronic Disease due to oxidative stress. This is caused by free radicals, which are natural byproducts of cellular metabolism that can cause healthy cells to mutate. By increasing the number of antioxidants in our body, including myrcene, quercetin, and myrcene from rose tea, it is possible to lower your risk of experiencing some chronic health conditions.

Diarrhea is due to the consumption of contaminated food and water. Apart from this, weak digestive fire is also one of the reasons behind diarrhea. All these factors are responsible for irritating the digestive tract and increasing peristalsis.

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Hyperacidity means an increased level of acid in the stomach. An aggravated Pitta impairs the digestive fire, leading to improper digestion of food. Regular intake of Rose powder helps to reduce the acid level in the stomach.

Low Mood due to stress or depression. The naturally uplifting quality of rose tea makes this an excellent choice for those who are feeling down, depressed, or overly stressed.

Menorrhagia: Heavy menstrual bleeding due to hormonal aggravation or imbalance. Rose helps to bring balance to hormonal secretions and reduce menstrual bleeding.

Respiratory Distress: Commonly prescribed or recommended for soothing the respiratory tract, lungs, and throat rose tea is an excellent choice if you are struggling with a cold or flu. It also helps to expel mucus and phlegm, which is where bacteria and other pathogens can live and thrive.

Sexual Dysfunction: in men can be in the form of loss of libido i.e. having no inclination towards a sexual act. There can also be a low erection time or semen expelled soon after a sexual activity. This is also referred to as ‘early discharge’ or premature ejaculation. Intake of Rose products helps in proper functioning of male sexual performance.

Sleep Disorders: The natural sedative property of rose tea makes it a wonderful beverage to finish a night, allowing it to reduce stress, and regulate sleep patterns and Circadian rhythm. If you suffer from insomnia, or regularly have disturbed or interrupted sleep, try this tea before going to bed.

Benefits of Consuming Rose Hips

Aging skin: Early research shows that taking rose hip powder helps to reduce wrinkles and improve skin quality in aging adults.

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Menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea): Early research shows that taking rose hip extract might help to reduce pain from menstrual cramps.

Osteoarthritis: Most research shows that taking rose hip by mouth can reduce pain and stiffness and improve function in people with osteoarthritis.

Pain after surgery: Some research shows that taking a single dose of rose hip extract immediately prior to a C-section helps to reduce pain and the need for pain medications after surgery.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA): Early research shows that taking rose hip by mouth improves some symptoms of RA.

Urinary tract infections or UTIs: Early research shows that taking rose hip powder after a C-section might lower the chance of having bacteria in the urinary tract.

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Recommended Dosage of Rose Products

Rose Powder – ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day. Add to milk or water and have it on an empty stomach. Use it once or twice a day to get rid of acidity.

Rose Capsule – 1-2 capsules twice a day. Take 1-2 Rose capsules. Swallow it with water or milk after taking food twice a day.

Rose Jam – ¼ to ½ teaspoon twice a day

Rose Juice – 2-3 teaspoons twice a day.

Rose Leaves – Take 2-4 leaves of Rose. Chew them preferably in the morning to get rid of mouth ulcers.

Rose Tea – 1 tsp rose powder or 1 tbsp rose petals/buds boiled in 8oz water for 3 min.

Rose Water – 2-3 teaspoons twice a day.

Medication Interactions with Roses

Aluminum interacts with ROSE HIP: Aluminum is found in most antacids. Rose hips contain vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase how much aluminum the body absorbs. But it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern. Take rose hip two hours before or four hours after antacids.

Estrogens interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains a large amount of vitamin C. Vitamin C can increase how much estrogen the body absorbs. Taking rose hip along with estrogen can increase the effects and side effects of estrogens. Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.

Fluphenazine (Prolixin) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might increase how quickly the body gets rid of fluphenazine (Prolixin). Taking rose hip along with fluphenazine (Prolixin) might decrease the effectiveness of fluphenazine (Prolixin).

Warfarin (Coumadin) interacts with ROSE HIP: Warfarin (Coumadin) is used to slow blood clotting. Rose hip contains vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin). Decreasing the effectiveness of warfarin (Coumadin) might increase the risk of clotting. Be sure to have your blood checked regularly. The dose of your warfarin (Coumadin) might need to be changed.

Lithium interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip might have an effect like a water pill or “diuretic.” Taking rose hip might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Aspirin interacts with ROSE HIP: The body breaks down aspirin to get rid of it. Rose hip contains large amounts of vitamin C. Large amounts of vitamin C might decrease the breakdown of aspirin. Taking large amount of rose hip along with aspirin might increase the effects and side effects of aspirin. Do not take large amounts of vitamin C if you take large amounts of aspirin.

Choline Magnesium Trisalicylate (Trilisate) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of choline magnesium trisalicylate (Trilisate). But it is not clear if this interaction is a big concern.

Salsalate (Disalcid) interacts with ROSE HIP: Rose hip contains vitamin C. Vitamin C might decrease how quickly the body gets rid of salsalate (Disalcid). Taking rose hip along with salsalate (Disalcid) might increase the effects and side effects of salsalate.

References:

https://www.webmd.com/diet/rose-tea-good-for-you

https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-76146/rose-water/

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-839/rose-hip

https://www.livestrong.com/article/412805-what-are-the-benefits-of-eating-rose-petals/

https://www.1mg.com/ayurveda/rose-105

https://www.baldwins.co.uk/blog/5-benefits-of-rose-petals-for-natural-health-beauty

https://www.healthline.com/health/rose-water-benefits

https://draxe.com/beauty/rose-water/

https://healthyfocus.org/8-benefits-of-rose-tea/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3586833/

Flax Seed

Flax Seed & Flax Seed Oil (Linum usitatissimum)

This is the seed of the flax plant, which is believed to have originated in Egypt. It was cultivated in Babylon as early as 3000 BC. In the 8th century, King Charlemagne believed so strongly in the health benefits of flax seed that he passed laws requiring his subjects to consume it. Flax seed oil comes from cold pressed flax seeds. The most common folk or traditional use is as a laxative; it is also used for hot flashes and breast pain.

Flax seed oil has different folk or traditional uses, including arthritis. Both the seed and seed oil have been used for high cholesterol levels and in an effort to prevent cancer. Whole or crushed flax seed can be mixed with water or juice and taken by mouth. The oil is available in liquid and capsule forms. The seed contains lignans (phytoestrogens, or plant estrogens), while flax seed oil preparations lack lignans.

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Benefits of Consuming Flax

Flax seed contains soluble fiber, like that found in oat bran, and may have a laxative effect. Omega-3 essential fatty acids, “good” fats that have been shown to have heart-healthy effects. Each tablespoon contains about 1.8 grams of plant omega-3s.

Lignans, which have both plant estrogen and antioxidant qualities. Flax contains 75 to 800 times more lignans than other plant foods.

Several studies have suggested that diets rich in flax seed omega-3s help prevent hardening of the arteries and keep plaque from being deposited in the arteries partly by keeping white blood cells from sticking to the blood vessels’ inner linings. Lignans in it have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.

Because plant omega-3s may also play a role in maintaining the heart’s natural rhythm, they may be useful in treating arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and heart failure. More research is needed on this.

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Eating these daily may also help your cholesterol levels. The level of LDL or “bad” cholesterol in the bloodstream has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome. A study of menopausal women showed a decrease in LDL level after the women ate 4 tablespoons each day for a year. Fitzpatrick says the cholesterol-lowering effects of it are the result of the combined benefits of the omega-3 ALA, fiber, and lignans.

Preliminary research also suggests that daily intake of the lignans in may modestly improve blood sugar (as measured by hemoglobin A1c blood tests in adults with type 2 diabetes).

Some studies suggest that alpha-linolenic acid may benefit people with heart disease

Precautions

Flax seed, like any supplemental fiber source, should be taken with plenty of water; otherwise, it could worsen constipation or, in rare cases, even cause intestinal blockage.

The fiber may lower the body’s ability to absorb medications that are taken by mouth. It should not be taken at the same time as any conventional oral medications or other dietary supplements.

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Fennel

Fennel seeds, bulb, stalk, and leaves. Brian Hagiwara/Getty Images

Fennel seed & oil (Foeniculum vulgare)

Common Names: Large fennel, sweet fennel, wild fennel, sweet cumin, finnochio, fänkål (Swedish), hinojo (Spanish), Fenchel (German), fennikel (Danish), hui-hsiang (Chinese), fenouil (French), fennika (Icelandic).

Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) comes from either a perennial or biennial herb with yellow flowers in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family. It is a hardy, perennial herb with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

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You will find Fennel Seeds in Mother Jai’s Heartburn Relief Tea

There are two variations: bitter/common (F. vulgare var. amara) and sweet (F. vulgare var. dulce). Bitter fennel oil should be avoided in aromatherapy and home use. Sweet fennel smells like anise with a hint of earth and spicy pepper.

Fennel is a member of the carrot and parsley family. It can grow to five feet tall and has delicate, lacy leaves. Sweet fennel oil is produced in places like Bulgaria, France, Germany, and Japan.

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It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel or finocchio is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable.

Fennel has several subspecies and varieties including:

  • Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. dulce (Mill.) Batt. (Sweet fennel)
  • Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. piperitum (Ucria) Cout. (Bitter fennel)
  • Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. azoricum (Mill.) Thell.
  • Foeniculum vulgare Mill. subsp. vulgare var. vulgare (Sweet fennel)

Historical Uses

Fennel is considered one of the oldest medicinal plants and culinary herbs. It is fairly certain that fennel was in use over 4000 years ago. It is mentioned in the famous Ebers Papyrus, an ancient Egyptian collection of medical writings made around 1500 BC. There it is referred to principally as a remedy for flatulence.

The name foeniculum is from the Latin word for “fragrant hay.” Fennel was in great demand during the Middle Ages.

Wealthy people added the seed to fish and vegetable dishes, while the poor reserved it as an appetite suppressant to be eaten on fasting days.

The plant was introduced to North America by Spanish priests and the English brought it to their early settlements in Virginia. Fennel has been used to flavor candies, liqueurs, medicines, and food, and it is especially favored for pastries, sweet pickles, and fish.

Fennel was used by the ancient Egyptians as a food and medicine and was considered a snake bite remedy in ancient China.

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During the Middle ages fennel was hung over doorways to drive away evil spirits. (Herb Society of America) Fennel has been used since ancient times to treat menstrual disorders, dyspepsia, flatulence and cough, and to reduce the griping effect of laxatives.

Fennel fruits have been used as TCM for the treatment of infants suffering from dyspeptic disorders in China for centuries. It was also recommended for bronchitis, chronic coughs, kidney stones, dysmenorrhea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

The ancients believed eating the fennel herb and seeds imparted courage, strength, and conveyed longevity. In Imperial Roman times the physicians were in high regard of fennel for medicinal purposes.

The ancient Greeks and Anglo-Saxons snitched on their fast days by nibbling a little fennel, which reduced the appetite. The ancients believed that myopic reptiles ate fennel to improve their vision and so used it themselves for this purpose. It is still prescribed as an eye-wash. Also, for failing eyesight, a tea was made from fennel leaves to be used as a compress on swollen eyes.

As Old English finule, fennel is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century.

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In the 15th century, Portuguese settlers on Madeira noticed the abundance of wild fennel, and used the Portuguese word funcho (fennel) and the suffix -al to form the name of a new town, Funchal

Longfellow’s 1842 poem “The Goblet of Life” repeatedly refers to the plant and mentions its purported ability to strengthen eyesight:

Above the lower plants it towers,

The Fennel with its yellow flowers;

And in an earlier age than ours

Was gifted with the wondrous powers

Lost vision to restore.

Known Hazards of Fennel

Skin contact with the sap or essential oil is said to cause photo-sensitivity and/or dermatitis in some people. Ingestion of the oil can cause vomiting, seizures and pulmonary edema.

Epileptics, people with cancer or on multiple medications, and anyone pregnant or trying to be shouldn’t use fennel.

Those who are allergic to celery, carrot, mugwort, or other plants in the Apiaceae family may have a reaction to the herb and its oils.

Fennel might slow blood clotting. Taking fennel might increase the risk of bleeding or bruising in people with bleeding disorders.

Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Fennel might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, do not use fennel.

Keep in mind that fennel interacts negatively with multiple medications including Cipro and may decrease the effects of birth control. If you are taking any prescribed drugs, confer with a physician before using any form of fennel.

Cautions and Contraindications: avoid use of oil in liver disease, alcoholism, while breast feeding, or during the use of acetaminophen; pregnancy due to emmenagogue action (empirical), essential oil use with infants or small children under 2 y.o.a. (speculative), prolonged use (speculative), acid reflux (speculative)

Constituents of Fennel

Fennel oil contains 50-60 percent of the licorice-tasting terpenoid anethole, the same active constituent found in anise. Anethole is thirteen times sweeter than sugar and is widely used as a flavoring agent in many things including liqueurs like Ouzo, Absinthe, and Pernod.

The main chemical components of fennel oil are a-pinene, myrcene, fenchone, trans-anethole, methyl chavicol, limonene, 1,8-cineole and anisic aldehyde.

Blending Fennel

Fennel blends well with other seed oils like cardamom and caraway, spicy oils like black pepper and ginger, and citrus oils, as well as geranium, lavender, rose, and sandalwood.

Therapeutic Uses

The dried seeds are steamed distilled to produce a thin yellow liquid that is good for a variety of therapeutic uses. This oil is helpful for conditions like gastrointestinal disorders and menstrual issues. It is detoxifying and can be used for weight loss and to reduce fluid retention and cellulite.

The plant is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactogogue, hallucinogenic, laxative, stimulant and stomachic.

An infusion is used in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal distension, stomach pains etc. It helps in the treatment of kidney stones and, when combined with a urinary disinfectant like Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, makes an effective treatment for cystitis.

It can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as an eyewash for sore eyes and conjunctivitis. Fennel is often added to purgatives in order to allay their tendency to cause gripe, and also to improve the flavour.

For the mind, it adds courage and strength in the face of adversity. It has a cleansing and toning effect on the skin, helping with bruises, sorting out overly oily skin and to fight wrinkles in more mature complexions (possibly due to the estrogenic properties of the oil).

The essential oil of fennel contains several bioreactive secondary metabolites, such as aldehydes. The oil apparently affects the stability of biomembranes and interacts with molecular targets, such as proteins and DNA, which causes a low cytotoxicity.

It has a toning effect on the spleen and liver, that helps with the results of excess drink and food. Hepatoprotective properties.

It is also used for increasing insufficient milk in nursing mothers – but for boosting breast milk, rather use the fresh herb, since the oil contains very high concentrations of trans-anethole.

An infusion of the seeds is a safe and effective cure for wind in babies.

An infusion of the root is used to treat urinary disorders.

An essential oil obtained from the seed is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is “Normalising”. The essential oil is bactericidal, carminative and stimulant.

Benefits of Fennel

Rich in phytoestrogens, Fennel is often used for colic, wind, irritable bowel, kidneys, spleen, liver, lungs, suppressing appetite, breast enlargement, promoting menstruation, improving digestive system, milk flow and increasing urine flow. Fennel is also commonly used to treat amenhorrea, angina, asthma, anxiety, depression, heartburn, water retention, lower blood pressure, boost libido, respiratory congestion, coughs and has been indicated for high blood pressure and to boost sexual desire. Fennel offers us the opportunity to release toxins, increase energy, release self-limiting beliefs, and support our ability to ‘digest’ and ‘transform’ food/experiences/thoughts in a healthy way.

Increases Confidence: If you have a problem being assertive, fennel can help break you out of it. Add a drop of fennel to a cotton ball to sniff throughout the day. Changes will not happen overnight, but with repeated use, you may find your confidence increasing. Alternatively, you could blend fennel with other ‘meek-busting’ oils like jasmine, ginger, patchouli, bergamot, carnation, or lime. Find a mix you enjoy, and add a drop of that to a cotton ball.

Calms Digestive Disorders: Fennel has long been used for digestive complaints. A fennel massage using four drops of the essential oil in a tablespoon of a carrier can be made to help with diarrhea, constipation, or painful bloating. Rub this into the abdomen three times a day until symptoms subside. If you have fluid buildup elsewhere in the body, then simply rub the oil there instead of the abdomen.

If nausea is the issue, add this blend to a pint of hot distilled water. Mix as well as possible, then soak a small towel in it to make a compress and lay it over the stomach. Alternatively, you can rub the blend on first and then put a hot towel over instead of using the oil water.

Fennel seeds, particularly in powdered form, can act as a laxative. The roughage helps clear the bowels, whereas its stimulating effect helps maintain the proper peristaltic motion of the intestines, thereby helping promote proper excretion through the stimulation of gastric juices and bile production. Fennel is also commonly found in medicines that treat abdominal pain, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and other intestinal issues.

Fennel is helpful in curing diarrhea if it is caused by bacterial infections because some components such as anethol and cineole have disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Some amino acids, such as histidine, can aid in digestion and the proper functioning of the digestive system, thereby helping to eliminate diarrhea due to indigestion. Fennel has long been used by indigenous cultures as a way to eliminate diarrhea.

Reduces Heart Disease: Fennel is a great source of fiber, as mentioned above, but besides the advantages to digestion that fiber provides, it also helps maintain healthy levels of cholesterol in the bloodstream. This means that it can stimulate the elimination damaging LDL or bad cholesterol, which is a major factor in heart diseases, atherosclerosis, and strokes.

Eases Menstrual Issues: Fennel is also an emmenagogue, meaning that it eases and regulates menstruation by properly regulating hormonal action in the body. Furthermore, fennel is used in a number of products to reduce the effects of PMS, and it is also used traditionally as a soothing pain reliever and relaxing agent for menopausal women.

Promotes Breast Enlargement: The flavonoids present in fennel seeds increase the amount of estrogen thereby acting as a stimulant and tonic. Fennel seeds help increase the size of the breasts as they increase the formation of new cells and tissues in the breast.

Helps Hangovers: Drinking too much alcohol can wreak havoc on the body. If you imbibed too much the night before, dropping 3-4 drops of fennel in your shower and breathing in the steam can help make you feel better.

Soothes Infant Colic: Besides calming gastrointestinal disorders in adults, fennel can be helpful for infants. ‘Gripe water’ is either dill, anise, or fennel water mixed with syrup and bicarbonate of soda that eases painful flatulence in infants.

Prohibits Growth/Causes Apoptosis in Prostate Cancer Cells: In 2017, researchers found that the high anethole content present in fennel essential oil has an inhibitory effect on cancerous prostate cells. It stops proliferation of the cells and leads to apoptosis, or spontaneous death of the prostate cancer cell line (PC-3 cells). This study shows that anethole could be promising in the fight against the often-fatal prostate cancer.

Regulates Blood Pressure: Fennel is a very rich source of potassium, which is an essential nutrient in our bodies and is vital for a number of important processes. One of the attributes of potassium is its quality as a vasodilator, which means that it relaxes the tension of blood vessels, thereby reducing blood pressure. High blood pressure is connected to a wide range of health issues, including heart attack, stroke, and atherosclerosis. Also, for diabetics, blood pressure issues can make management of their insulin and glucose levels very difficult and can be the cause of many potentially lethal complications. A cup of fennel bulb in your daily diet will pump you full of potassium and all the benefits that come along with it.

Improves Brain Function: Potassium, found in high levels in fennel bulbs and seeds, is an electrolyte, which means that it facilitates increased electrical conduction throughout the body. This includes connections within the brain, which is a veritable switchboard of electric currents. Potassium can help increase brain function and cognitive abilities through this quality. Also, fennel is a vasodilator, which means more oxygen reaches the brain and neural activity can work at optimal functionality.

Eye Care: Using fennel in food helps protect the eyes from inflammation and also help reduce disorders related to premature aging and macular degeneration. This is due to the high abundance of antioxidants (vitamin C and amino acids like arginine are very beneficial for rejuvenation of tissues and the prevention of aging), detoxifiers and stimulants. They are more specifically found in fennel essential oil, as well as minerals like cobalt and magnesium. Finally, the juice of its leaves and the plant itself can be externally applied to the eyes to reduce irritation and eye fatigue.

Fennel is also a rich source of flavonoids, which are very useful in protecting against pigment cells dying due to oxidative-stress-induced death. By protecting against this destruction of the pigment cells, fennel can safely be classified as effective in eye health for numerous reasons.

Treats Respiratory Disorders: Fennel is useful in respiratory disorders such as congestion, bronchitis, and cough due to the presence of cineole and anethol, which are expectorant in nature, among their many other virtues. Fennel seeds and powder can help break up phlegm and prompt loosening of the toxins and buildup of the throat and nasal passages for elimination from the body to ensure quick recovery from respiratory conditions.

Other Benefits & Uses: Fennel is a diuretic, which means that it increases the amount and frequency of urination, thereby helping the removal of toxic substances from the body and helping in rheumatism and swelling. It also increases the production and secretion of milk in lactating mothers and since this milk contains some properties of fennel, it is an anti-flatulent for the baby as well. It strengthens hair, prevents hair loss, relaxes the body, sharpens memory, and has a marvelous cooling effect in summer. This can be achieved if the pale, greenish-yellow water, in which it is soaked, is ingested with a bit of sugar and black salt.

FENNEL TEA

Fennel tea is a delicious and popular variety of tea that happens to provide a number of health benefits, including its ability to lower blood pressure, protect the respiratory system, improve digestion, detoxify the body, and help with weight loss, among others.

Anti-spasmodic Effects: Calming the stomach and other organs can be an important first step in eliminating inflammation and stomach upset. The natural soothing effects of fennel tea can reduce spasms in the gut and other parts of the body, thereby reducing stress hormones and taking less of a toll on your overall system.

Improves Digestion: for thousands of years, fennel has been used as a digestive aid. The anti-inflammatory and carminative effects can prevent the formation of gas, thereby eliminating bloating and cramping, while also speeding up the digestive process and ensuring maximum nutrient uptake. Fennel can even help to rebuild damaged tissues and prevent further injury to the digestive tracts.

Boosts Immunity: This herb has powerful antibacterial, antiseptic, and antifungal effects, making it an excellent immune system booster. It is also well known to stave off cold and flu before they can fully manifest into an infection. Drinking fennel tea is, therefore, a preventative measure and a treatment to keep you on the right side of healthy!

Weight Loss: There are a number of ways in which fennel tea can help you lose weight. First of all, by promoting urination, it can eliminate water retention and bloating. Secondly, as a metabolism booster, it can help your body burn fat and calories faster, making your exercise efforts more rewarding. Finally, by regulating your appetite and hormones, it can prevent overeating and obesity.

Detoxifies the Body: One of the most important functions of urination is not only relieving that pressing feeling in your gut, but eliminating excess toxins extracted from the blood and kidneys. Fennel works as a blood cleanser and a diuretic, keeping your kidneys and liver healthy and working at full capacity.

Balances Hormone Levels: When it comes to protecting female reproductive health and wellness, few herbs are as important as fennel. The compounds found in fennel tea have estrogen-like qualities, meaning that they can alleviate many of the painful symptoms of menstruation, while also regulating hormones, increasing libido, and stimulating the production of breast milk in lactating mothers.

Reduces Inflammation: Those suffering from arthritis, gout and other inflammation issues have found relief from fennel tea for generations. By detoxifying the body, you also help your tissues and muscles function more normally and lower the chances of unnecessary inflammatory responses. This can help you get better sleep and have more energy to take on your daily tasks.

Protects the Eyes: Nothing shows a bad night of sleep like swollen or puffy eyes, but fennel tea can be an ideal solution for this. The rapid anti-inflammatory response of this tea can help your physical appearance, while the antibacterial and immune-boosting effects can further protect the eyes from other infection, such as conjunctivitis.

Lowers Blood Pressure: The impact that fennel tea can have on the heart is largely based on its mineral content, namely the potassium found in this herb. Potassium acts as a vasodilator, meaning that it can relieve the tension on arteries and blood vessels, thus making it more difficult for atherosclerosis to occur. This can help prevent coronary heart diseases, as well as lower your risk for heart attack and stroke.

Eliminates Bad Breath: Not only is fennel great for the digestion of a meal, but also to eliminate any traces of it on your breath. As mentioned above, the similarity of fennel to anise seed gives it a refreshing and cleansing effect on your breath, while also protecting your gums and teeth, due to its antifungal and antibacterial effects.

Relieves Respiratory Distress: When it comes to congestion of the respiratory system, fennel tea is an excellent solution, as it works as an expectorant, eliminating the phlegm and mucus where infectious pathogens can reside and multiple. Furthermore, the anti-inflammatory effects help to relieve sore throats and sinus pressure, thus allowing you to breathe normally.

Word of Caution: Fennel tea is generally considered to be very good for overall health, so much so that it is often given to infants in order to calm them down and ward off colic. However, people who are allergic to carrots or celery should avoid fennel tea, due to the plant’s close relationship to those allergens. Furthermore, women suffering from breast cancer or undergoing treatment for such should not consume fennel unless they clear it with a doctor, as the estrogen-like effects can be a dangerous complication in the case of those conditions.

RECIPES

Weight Loss Bath Oil: Taking fennel herb supplements may help those that are trying to lose weight, and oil-lovers can benefit from the stimulating effects of fennel in the bath. Add five drops of the following blend to a teaspoon of carrier oil and mix into your bath water.

  • 8 drops Petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara)
  • 4 drops Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
  • 4 drops Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus)
  • 2 drop Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • 1 drop Fennel, sweet (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)

Facial Steam: Fennel hydrolats are an excellent choice for brightening up normal, dull or oily complexions, and mature skin. Or, try a vapor steam by putting 3-5 drops in a bowl of steaming hot water. Place a towel on the back of the head and lean over the bowl until cool.

Hair Loss: Most people think of rosemary for hair loss. While that is an excellent choice, there are other oils that can be beneficial or this condition. Blend the following oils together and add two drops to a teaspoon of a carrier suitable for hair loss, such as avocado. Massage into hair nightly.

  • 10 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
  • 10 drops Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica)
  • 5 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • 3 drops Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)
  • 2 drops Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Colic Soother: If you are dealing with a colicky baby, you can make a massage blend to help ease the symptoms. This combination, from Kurt Schnaubelt, can be utilized while making the dietary changes needed to solve the problem.

  • 3 drops Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. amara)
  • 3 drops German Chamomile (Matricaria recutica)
  • 3 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
  • 3 drops Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
  • 3 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Gas Reliever: Infusion – 1-2 tsp/cup three times daily, or before meals

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