What is Sweet Fennel Essential Oil?
Sweet fennel essential oil is not among the most popular oils but it has some wonderful health properties and a decent range of therapeutic uses. It also has a wonderful fragrance that is slightly spicy,warm and earthy with a hint of licorice or anise. If you like the sound of that and would like to learn more about this undervalued essential oil, then read on.
Sweet fennel has been used by aromatherapists for many centuries. It has been known since ancient times as an effective and versatile aromatic herb used for a range of health issues including digestive problems. respiratory complaints and congestion.
Sweet fennel essential oil is derived be steam distillation from the sweet fennel plant. Known scientifically as Foeniculum vulgare dulce, the plant is a hardy perennial that grows to around five feet in height.
The leaves, flowers, seeds and stem of the plant are all edible and the leaves are especially delicious either eaten raw or cooked as long as you enjoy the distinctive taste of aniseed. The plant’s aromatic seeds are often used to flavor bread, cakes and pastries while its sprouted seeds make a great addition to a salad dish. The leaves and seeds can also be used to make a healthy herbal tea.
Fennel itself has long been used as a traditional folk remedy especially for digestive complaints. The roots, seeds and leaves all have medicinal value but the seeds are the most active parts medicinally and it is from the seeds that the essential oil is derived. Most of the sweet fennel oil produced today is derived from Europe especially Hungary.
Sweet fennel has a wide variety of therapeutic actions including anti-inflammatory, analgesic, astringent, antispasmodic, carminative, expectorant, emmenagogue, laxative and stomachic properties.
Studies looking at the chemical constituents of sweet fennel oil found that it has very similar active compounds to bitter fennel.
Both types of fennel oil are made up primarily of fatty acid (97%) with the main constituents of both being trans-Anethole, fenchone and estragole. Sweet fennel essential oil also contains gamma-terpinene and alpha-pinene in very low concentrations. (1)
The Health Benefits of Sweet Fennel Essential Oil
1) For Digestion
One of the best known uses of fennel and its oil is to improve digestive discomfort. Massaging the oil into your abdomen can help relieve a range of common digestive problems including bloating, gas, indigestion and general stomach upset.
Please note that this oil should not be taken internally as the essential oil is very potent and may cause a severe reaction in some people. You should also take care to dilute your sweet fennel oil with a suitable carrier oil before applying it to your skin.
2) For Congestion and Respiration
Inhaling sweet fennel essential oil can help clear congestion and many of the other symptoms associated with colds, flu, sinus issues and bronchitis. Sweet fennel essential oil has excellent anti-inflammatory properties and expectorant actions meaning that it can help loosen the mucus from your nasal passages and your respiratory system.
The best way to ease your breathing troubles with this essential oil is by inhalation. You could simply inhale the oil directly from the bottle but a more effective method is to inhale its steaming vapors. Add a few drops of your sweet fennel essential oil to a sink or bowl full of piping hot water. Cover the upper part of your body with a towel and bend over the sink. Try inhaling the rich, soothing vapors for at least 5 minutes or as long as you can tolerate the heat.
3) For the Skin
You can add sweet fennel to your daily skin care routing because it has astringent and antimicrobial, cleansing properties. You can use it simply to take care of your overall skin health and it is suitable for the majority of skin types whether you have dry or oily skin. It is also recommended to maintain a more youthful appearance while it may also help people with chronic skin conditions like acne and eczema.
Do not apply sweet fennel oil to your skin neat as it may cause sensitivity in some people. Try adding a few drops to your regular face cream or moisturizer and applying it once a day.
4) For Aching Muscles
If your muscles and joints are feeling tired and sore after a long day on your feet, sweet fennel essential oil can help relieve your pain. Its anti-inflammatory properties and its warming sensations are great for soothing pain in your aching limbs.
Either dilute your sweet fennel oil with a suitable base oil and use it as a body massage oil or add a few drops to your bathtub, sit back and relax. As well as healing your muscles, a nice relaxing bath in this fragrant oil can do winders for your piece of mind.
5) For the Mind
We have mentioned already that sweet fennel essential oil has a delightful fragrance and it is one that can do wonders for your emotional well-being. The way your mind reacts to different scents varies from person to person but the warm, earthy aroma of sweet fennel can help you feel relaxed and grounded and may even help relieve your stress and anxiety.
Try diffusing the oil at home or at work especially if you are feeling stressed out by work, studies or family life.
6) To Expel Bad Odors
Diffusing this essential oil at home does not only benefits your body and mind, it can also help eliminate foul odors from your home. You can make bad smells from cooking, outside pollution and cigarette smoke a thing of the past by diffusing this aromatic oil in your home.
How to Use Sweet Fennel Oil
Like most essential oils, there are several popular ways to use sweet fennel oil, How you employ it will depend very much on the condition that you are trying to treat.
Massage : Sweet fennel essential oil makes a great ingredient in a massage oil that you can use to treat your sore muscles and joints. It is very important that you dilute your essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before you apply it to your body. There are a huge number of base oils to choose from including ever popular carrier oils like virgin coconut, jojoba and sweet almond.
Inhalation : If you are trying to treat a respiratory issue like congestion or a cough, there is no better way than inhalation. The easiest method is to inhale your oil directly from the bottle as and when it is necessary. You could also add a drop or two to you palms, rub your hands together and cup them over your nose and mouth. The most effective method of treating congestion is to add a few drops to a sink full of water to make a steam inhaler.
Diffuse : Provided you have a diffuser, the wonderful fragrance of this oil make it a great choice to relax your mind.
Side Effects and Precautions
- Sweet fennel essential oil is non-toxic but there are some safety considerations.
- Applying the oil to your skin can cause a mild skin reaction in sensitive people. Always dilute the oil before applying it and perform a patch test on a small area of skin before going any further.
- Sweet fennel oil may not be safe for pregnant women and breast feeding moms so stay on the side of caution and avoid using it.
- Never take sweet fennel essential oil internally.