Sweet Fennel

Essential Oil Allies: Sweet Fennel

Fennel essential oil is obtained by steam distilling the seeds of Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce. It is mainly grown and distilled in France, Spain, Germany, Hungary and India for its essential oil.

Originating around the Mediterranean basin, this hardy perennial has been introduced to and naturalized across Eur-Asia, India and North America—adapting to most temperate climates. An ancient plant, the Ancient Chinese, Indian, Egyptian and Roman cultures employed this herb for medicine and culinary uses. According to Grieve: “It has followed civilization, especially where Italians have colonized.

The Birth of Venus, c. 1485. Uffizi, Florence by Sandro Botticelli

Like many plants from the Apiaceae family, fennel’s seeds have been used for centuries to address digestive complaints (mainly through chewing the seeds, infusions and tinctures). Sweet fennel has also been used to promote lactation, to aide in eyesight, ward off hexes and evil spirits and as a detoxifier/slimming agent (according to Grieve, it was originally called “marathon” by the ancient Greeks, derived from maraino, to grow thin).

Hildegarde von Bingen realized both physical and emotional benefits of fennel: “A person whom melancholy is harming should pound fennel to a liquid and rub it often on his forehead, temples, chest and stomach. His melancholy will stop.” This statement made hundreds of years ago still holds true—fennel essential oil is quite an uplifting and clearing agent. Its volatile oils ease into the mind-body, clearing away the cobwebs so thoughts and creativity may be freely and playfully expressed.

Sweet fennel essential oil shines in the realm of woman’s health, supporting breathing space, spastic pain and uplifting the mood. Fennel is widely used to support digestion but an herbal tincture, infusion of the seeds or chewing the seeds is best used for this versus the essential oil. However there are always exceptions: check out this online French Aromatherapy course to explore the internal use of essential oils, a great way to support digestive issues once you have solid guidelines.

Following are core applications for the essential oil:

System Core Applications
Reproductive Balancing to hormones, PMS, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, lack of or reduced sexual drive, lack of or reduced milk flow in lactating woman (fennel tea is indicated or inhalation of fennel e/o), cramps, menopause, perimenopause
Respiration Anti-inflammatory, bronchodilator, spastic coughing
Musculoskeletal & Circulatory Muscle spasms or cramps, general muscular aches and pains, detoxifier
Nervous/ Psyche/ Emotion Inflamed mind, difficulty communicating, mental fatigue, expressive, creativity, light-hearted, throat & sacral chakras
Digestion Massaged onto the abdomen for gaseous cramping, inhaled to promote digestive fire, and quell nausea

Chemistry Highlights: Sweet Fennel essential oil is rich in phenylpropanoids, specifically trans-anethole, which lends to its “anise-like” aroma, and methyl chavicol.

Of note: sweet (dolce) fennel of is not to be confused with the bitter (amara) variety, which is not used in aromatherapy due to its relatively higher content of fenchone and its more “harsh” nature.

Is Sweet Fennel Essential Oil Safe?

Due to its trans-anethole content, fennel essential oil should be avoided by any route (method of application, especially oral) in pregnancy, breastfeeding, endometriosis, and estrogen dependent cancers. Trans-anethole exhibits estrogenic actions. Essential oils with estragole (Methyl chavicol) should also be used carefully (especially internally) for its effect on the blood.

Blending with Sweet Fennel Essential Oil

Fennel stands well on its own and may over-take a blend (depending on country of origin)—start with fewer drops and add more as your blend matures and your olfactory sense sees fit. When blending with fennel, think about the core issue you are trying to address AND how you cook using fennel as it gets along quite well with many other culinary herbs and citrus.

Fennel essential oil swiftly, but sweetly, announces itself: bringing gifts of honey, clear blue skies, open meadows and pollinating insects. It exudes a slightly sweet-floral note, reminiscent of almond and anise confectionary. A bright, clean smell is apparent: memories of seafoam and clean blue water. The dry-down brings an expressive honey-hay aroma that playfully communicates fennel’s memory of its nectar-giving umbels that elegantly looked up at the same sky as you.

Fennel essential oil blends well with: other members of the Apiaceae family (Angelica archangelica, Coriandrum sativum), friends from the Lamiaceae family (Clary sage (Salvia sclarea), Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana), Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole), Peppermint (Mentha x piperita), the Zingiberaceae family (Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Ginger (Zingiber officinale)), Citrus oils (Grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)) and florals (Cananga odorata Complete, Pelargonium graveolens, Rosa spp.)

Creating Wellness Products with Sweet Fennel

Supporting Feminine Power

This hormone-balancing massage oil is intended to support women of all ages (except during pregnancy and breast feeding). It features plants from the Apiaceae family and is supported by plants from the Lamiaceae family—these plant families have many powerful feminine allies.

What you need:

  • 1 ounce bottle (I prefer glass, pump-tops)
  • 1 ounce fixed oil of your choice: choose penetrating oils like Sesame (Sesamum indicum), Tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) or Hemp (Cannabis sativa) for pain.
  • Label
  • 5 drops Fennel seed (Foeniculum vulgare)
  • 5 drops Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
  • 5 drops Angelica root* (Angelica archangelica)
  • 8 drops Coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum)
  • 12 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

How to make:

  • Combine the essential oils in the glass bottle, affix the cap and shake to combine.
  • Allow the essential oils to mingle for at least a few hours
  • Add the fixed oil(s) of your choice to the bottle
  • Affix the bottle dispenser and label the bottle

How to use:

  • A best practice to use powerful oils like these on a protocol: use one week before menses to work with PMS symptoms and during menses for cramping and mood balancing. Then take a break from this blend, until 7 days before menses starts.
  • Use up to 3 times per day, especially when experiencing cramping.
  • Apply a small amount of oil to the lower abdomen and pelvic joint-creases.
  • Massage the oil over your lymph nodes and utilize the hair follicles to help the oils absorb into the body.
  • *Safety note: Angelica archangelica root has photo-toxic properties. Keep the treated area out of UV/sunlight (and tanning beds) for at least 12, if not 24 hours.

Brighten Your Day with this Mind and Lung Opening Blend

My experiences with this synergy have been absolutely joyous and bright, always quite expansive and dare I say bubbly. Use this synergy of allies for a pick-me-up during any time of the day. Consider using it during meditation and breathing exercises to harness the benefits of these cephalic oils.

Create the synergy in a standard 5 ml bottle equipped with a cap and orifice reducer. Combine the essential oils and let them sit for at least one day. Use as needed for your preferred method of application. I suggest using it in a nebulizing diffuser, an aromatic inhaler or with direct palm inhalation.

  • 10 drops Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)
  • 8 drops Rosemary ct. cineole (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole)
  • 14 drops Black pepper (Piger nigrum)
  • 12 drops Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
  • 16 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

Foaming Soap for Spring Cleaning the Soul and Hands

Bring the uplifting, cleansing qualities of fennel to a nourishing and gentle foaming soap base. Create the following synergy of essential oils and add to this recipe.

  • 15 drops Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var. dulce)
  • 15 drops Rose geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  • 25 drops Lemon (Citrus limon)

Be with the plants in their many forms, take their messages and let them guide you. I bid you much joy in blending and creating.

5 Spices to Warm Your Soul During Winter

5 Spices to Warm Your Soul During Winter

Spices are the delightfully aromatic plants whose warming scents are a characteristic element of the winter season. In fact, there are five spices that evoke memories of sitting by the fire on cold nights, weekends of playing in the snow, and social gatherings that feature rich seasonal desserts and mulled wine.

A spice is harvested from the root, bark, seed or dried fruit of a tropical plant or tree. The aroma or flavor comes from essential oils. Many spices contain similar essential oils but in different proportions. These oils are released through the physical process of grinding, grating or crushing. The essential oils begin to evaporate after processing and the flavors of the spices will fade over time. In contrast, the original bark, seeds, or berries can often stay fresh for years.

But there is more to these exotic plants than just their sweet or pungent flavors. In ancient times spices were used in almost every aspect of life whether in flavoring and preserving food, to freshen one’s breath, or to being applied or ingested as medicine.  Let’s look in more detail at those well-known spices associated with the winter season: allspice, cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and nutmeg.


Allspice (Pimenta dioica) comes from the dried berries of a tree native to Jamaica, Mexico and Central America. The name “allspice” was coined by the English because it has the combined flavor of cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. With its peppery flavor it is a common component of Caribbean cuisine and Jamaican jerk seasoning, and in mole sauces, curries and in pickling. In the United States it’s mostly used in spiced cider or mulled wine and in seasonal desserts.

While most other spices came from Asia, allspice was exclusively grown in the Western hemisphere. Imported to Europe it became quite popular. In the cosmetic industry the pimento oil, distilled from the leaves of the allspice tree, is used to boost the scents of fragrances and as a natural deodorizer.

Allspice is a digestive and carminative due to the volatile oil, eugenol. Similar to other spices containing the oil, allspice also has anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. As a folk medicine, allspice was applied topically for bruises, muscle aches, and rheumatism due to its vasodilating effects on blood vessels. Recent investigations have focused on the constituents of allspice – eugenol, quercetin and Gallic acid – for their antioxidant activity and possible beneficial effects on the incidence of cancer.


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum and C. cassia), is harvested from the inner bark of several trees of the genus Cinnamomum, native to India. Cinnamon’s characteristic taste and smell is due to its primary constituent, cinnamaldehyde, an essential oil.  Eugenol, copane, cinnamyl acetate and camphor are found in smaller amounts. Used to flavor meat and curry dishes in the East, in the West cinnamon is more typically added to sweet dishes and desserts.

Rich in antioxidants, cinnamon helps reduce free radicals, exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, aids in stabilizing lipids and blood sugar, and may have beneficial effects on neurogenerative diseases. Several clinical trials have shown cinnamon cassia to improve glycemic control in patients with pre-diabetes and with high pre-treatment HbA1c levels.  These studies show the potential for cinnamon as an add-on therapy for managing type-2 diabetes. However, the zeylanicum species of cinnamon may be a safer alternative to cassia, because it has lower levels of coumarin, a blood thinner.


Cloves (Syzyium aromaticum) are the dried flower buds of a tropical, evergreen tree from Indonesia. Historically clove was one of the most prized spices in Europe. A pomander ball, usually an orange studded with cloves, is a traditional Christmas ornament and New Year’s gift. Clove is a curious ingredient in the widely smoked Indonesian cigarettes, “kretek,” which lends a distinctive aroma and flavor when smoked. Commonly used in traditional Indian dishes, clove’s strong, pungent flavor can sometimes overpower other flavors and should be used sparingly.

On the medicinal side, clove’s volatile oils, one of which is eugenol, impart anti-inflammatory and antiviral/antibacterial properties. Frequently employed for a toothache, clove is also helpful for other oral conditions such as gingivitis and halitosis, due to its antibacterial effect. The spice has been used in respiratory conditions, as an expectorant for coughs and to sooth sore throats. Clove is also a rich source of antioxidants supporting the immune system [1].


Medicinally, ginger was used for digestive ailments and is known for its calming, carminative effect.

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) is a plant whose root or rhizome is commonly used cooking as well as in medicine. Originating in Southeast Asia it has become widely cultivated in other countries.  Often considered an herb, ginger is technically a spice since it’s the root that’s used. Ginger is one of the main ingredients in the seasonal favorite gingerbread or ginger cookies. Its culinary uses include traditional Indian recipes such as masala chai and curry dishes. Pickled or candied ginger is quite common in Japan and China. And ginger ale was America’s favorite beverage for many years.

Ginger is a good source of vitamin C and minerals including magnesium, copper and manganese. Medicinally, ginger was used for digestive ailments and is known for its calming, carminative effect. Due to its ability to stimulate saliva flow, ginger has been studied as an antiemetic, alleviating motion sickness and morning sickness, and reducing the side effects associated with chemotherapy. Ginger promotes sweating and helps reduce body temperature during fevers. Its stimulating property improves peripheral circulation which may be helpful for high blood pressure. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory activity is potent. Gingerol, its volatile oil compound, is a better inhibitor of prostaglandin biosynthesis than a commonly prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAIDS), indomethacin [2]. Additionally, recent research is exploring ginger as an anti-obesity agent.


Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) is taken from the fruit kernel of a tropical evergreen tree native to Indonesia. Nutmeg has a special affinity for use in dairy dishes such as custard or pudding, but also in soups and other desserts. Historically this seed was used for stomach ailments, headaches and fevers.

A high-mineral spice, nutmeg is a source of manganese, copper and magnesium in beneficial amounts. Potassium and zinc, as well as several vitamins, are found in smaller quantities. The essential oils of nutmeg have been studied for their antioxidant properties and anti-angiogenic activity. Further investigations revealed anti-bacterial effects from ethanol extracts of nutmeg.

There is a caution in taking nutmeg in a large amount as it has psychoactive effects, acting as a hallucinogen. Although poisonings are rarely fatal, too much nutmeg can have the consequence of convulsions, palpitations and generalized body pain.

Usually spices are consumed from cooking and baking and not taken in large quantities.  However, at this time of year, the amounts of confections devoured may constitute a medicinal dose. It’s just a good thing many of the spices are beneficial for the digestion!

Reduce Belly Fat While You Sleep

This would be a fantastic article for many of you who have constantly struggled with belly fat and have never find the right way to reduce it. We have decided to reveal to you an extraordinary beverage that is capable of eliminating body fat, and offers biggest results in the belly area, and it does it in no time!

This drink is really simple and easy to prepare and will eliminate those stubborn fatty layers from your body and obtain great results within a very short period of time. All you need to do is to consume a glass of it on a daily basis, before bedtime.

Even though belly fat is a stubborn issue and cannot be fought easily or quickly, there is no room for despair. This drink will finally bring you the wanted results, since it will successfully eliminate excess belly fat and you will be able to accomplish your desired aim.

Our metabolism functions slower when we are awake. Consequently, this drink will use this to help your body burn calories and will boost your metabolism during sleeping. Absolutely awesome!

The ingredients of this miraculous belly fat burning drink possess beneficial properties which aid your body to get rid of fat and excess weight. It contains the following ones:


Lemons are excellent in the process of eliminating toxins which have been accumulated in your body. Due to that, metabolism is accelerated since fat is being melted and thus the entire system is clean from all impurities.


All compounds in ginger work in synergy to prevent overeating and blast belly fat fast. It is able to melt excess belly fat, to prevent constipation and to accelerate your metabolism.


Cucumbers are one of the most favorable items in the fight of getting rid of excess weight. They have high water and fiber content, are extremely low in calories, namely only 45 calories in one full cucumber, and above all, they possess high refreshing taste.

Aloe Vera Juice

Natural antioxidants in Aloe Vera juice help delay the growth of free radicals in the body and reduce inflammatory processes. Moreover, it stimulates the metabolic rate which in turn helps for the consumption of more energy. This process stabilizes and reduces the body mass index (BMI).

Parsley and Cilantro

Being very low in calories, rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, parsley and cilantro are also extremely beneficial when you wish to lose weight. These two help to ease water retention without causing any feeling of bloating or tummy discomfort.



  • 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon of Aloe Vera juice
  • 1 cucumber
  • A bunch of parsley or cilantro
  • ½ glass of water

The preparation procedure is simple and quick, you just need to place all the ingredients in a juicer and mix them.

This excellent and extremely energizing drink is consumed before bedtime. Its regular consumption will reduce belly fat in no time!

Source: www.fitfoodhouse.net

Spice Your Way to Health

                           Spice Your Way to Health

It’s a myth that if a food is good for us, it probably tastes like cardboard. For proof, we need look no further than the beneficial properties of herbs and spices. In fact, a new study reveals that frequent consumption of spicy-hot foods may reduce all-cause mortality and, in some cases, cause-specific mortality.

The study, which followed a prospective cohort of 487,375 participants, aged 30-79, living in China, determined that spicy food consumption was inversely associated with total mortality, after adjustment for other potential risk factors. (Risk factors controlled for included marital status, age, level of education and physical activity.) Compared to individuals who ate spicy foods less than once a week, the adjusted hazard ratios for death were 0.90 (95% CI, interval 0.84 – 0.96), 0.86 (0.80 – 0.92), and 0.86 (0.82 – 0.90) for those who consumed spicy food 1 or 2, 3 to 5, and 6 to 7 days per week, respectively. (The absolute mortality rates were 6.1, 4.4, 4.3, and 5.8 deaths per 1000 person-years for subjects who ate spicy foods less than once a week, 1 or 2, 3 to 5, and 6 or 7 days per week, respectively.)

Participants who consumed spicy foods 6 or 7 days a week showed a 14% reduction in relative risk for total mortality, compared to those who ate spicy foods less than once per week. When alcohol consumption was looked at as an additional factor, the seemingly beneficial influence of spicy foods on mortality was stronger in non-drinkers. Regarding cause-specific mortality, inverse associations were noted between spicy food consumption and deaths due to cancer, respiratory diseases, and ischemic heart diseases.

It is important to note that this was an observational study, based on food frequency questionnaires, which are known to be somewhat unreliable. Nevertheless, the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and potentially chemo-protective properties of popular culinary spices and herbs, such as ginger, turmeric (curcumin), rosemary, oregano, black pepper and hot chili peppers are well established.

Another way spicy foods might confer health benefits is by helping to induce the secretion of digestive enzymes and fortify the brush border of the small intestine. With an ever-expanding list of chronic health conditions being linked to poor digestive function, it may well be that the influence of spices on the digestive system could be the reason behind the decreased all-cause mortality found in the Chinese study. Better overall digestive function leads to more complete breakdown of foods and better absorption of nutrients, which can influence health positively throughout the whole body. A study in rats indicated that black pepper, red pepper and ginger extracts stimulated brush border enzymes in the jejunum. They also led to beneficial changes in the structure of the intestine; specifically, there was an increase in the length of micro-villi, thereby increasing the absorptive surface, and, ultimately, enhancing the extraction of nutrients from food.

Piperine, from black pepper, stimulates the secretion of pancreatic digestive enzymes and reduces gastrointestinal transit time. Ginger has been recognized since ancient times for its influence on healthy digestion, and is often included in teas formulated to alleviate an upset stomach. Mixtures that included turmeric, red chili, black pepper and cumin were shown to enhance the activity of pancreatic lipase, amylase and chymotrypsin in rats by 40%, 16% and 77%, respectively. This mixture also stimulated increased production of bile, with a greater concentration of active bile acid. In rats fed a high-fat diet, ginger, piperine, capsaicin and curcumin enhanced secretion of bile and pancreatic enzymes. Moreover, they also prevented the accumulation of triglycerides in the liver, and reduced the activity of lipogenic enzymes, while increasing activity of hormone-sensitive lipase, which is instrumental in releasing fatty acids from fat cells in order to be burned as fuel elsewhere.

Beyond the fact that spices, themselves, have beneficial effects, these effects might be compounded by the likelihood that the spices were added to healthful, nutritious foods cooked at home, in lieu of processed foods that are high in sugar, refined grains, and vegetable oils. So it may be that people who frequently consume spicy foods consume these spices in the context of a diet that would be healthful even without the spices. For example, a curry stew made with fish, or grass-fed lamb, organic vegetables, coconut milk, and lots of turmeric, ginger, cayenne, and other spices, may influence health differently than, say, spicy-hot chicken wings eaten with a side of fries and washed down with a beer