3 February 2022 / Caitlin Devlin
Fennel Seed Essential Oil: History, Uses and Benefits
Linked to longevity, fennel seed can help to protect our health and heal our wounds.
Known for its liquorice-like, anise scent, fennel seed oil was once extremely popular in Chinese, Egyptian and Roman cultures.
Back then, the oil was believed to promote longevity and strength, and to ward off evil spirits, and as the years went on it became a popular appetite suppressant, used to keep hunger at bay in times of scarcity. These days the oil is mostly used to support digestive health, but it also has healing, protective qualities that make it a truly holistic home treatment.
Fennel seed essential oil has been used to help treat colic.
Spasms in the gut can cause hiccups, coughing fits, and cramps, and can also contribute to symptoms of the condition colic. Fennel seed oil can have antispasmodic effects on the gut that allow it to relax spasming muscles and soothe these symptoms.
As a consequence of this, fennel seed oil has been used for many years as a home remedy to colic symptoms, and in 2003 a study took place that tested this practice. Researchers found that fennel seed oil was able to reduce intestinal spasms and increase the movement of cells in the small intestines of infants with colic, leading to a dramatic improvement in their symptoms.
When diluted and applied topically to the abdomen, fennel seed oil may help to reduce the severity of symptoms in a number of spasmodic conditions.
It can be beneficial for digestive health.
People have long been using fennel seed oil to relieve gas and constipation, clear the bowels, and reduce bloating. Beyond this, fennel seed oil is known to be one of the best oils for managing symptoms of IBS. It’s a particularly volatile oil, which means that it evaporates rapidly and can potentially provide relief sooner because of this, allowing it to reach the gut and enact its soothing abilities.
It can help to heal wounds.
A study in 2014 looked at the effects of various essential oils on bacterial infections and found that fennel seed oil had significant antibacterial effects. It was also found to be very effective at preventing wounds from becoming infected. Applying a small amount of diluted fennel seed oil to the area around a wound can help to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and keep the wound clean, enabling faster healing. It’s important not to apply fennel seed oil directly to an open wound without seeking medical advice first.
It’s high in antioxidants.
A study in 2009 found that fennel oil has high amounts of total phenolic contents, which gives it its strong antioxidant properties. These antioxidant properties contribute to wound healing and allow the oil to fight free radicals in the body. Free radicals are toxins that may cause cell damage via oxidisation if left unchecked – the antioxidants in fennel oil fight against these free radicals and help to preserve cells.
From its wide range of traditional uses, over the years the benefits of fennel seed have been distilled down into a smaller collection of well-documented, positive effects. However, the diverse uses of the oil across the ancient world – from strengthening eyesight to curing snakebites – present many fascinating possibilities that it would be interesting to see properly researched in the future.
Shop our fennel seed essential oil here.