This week, I decided to give us all a little “breather” by re-focusing on a favorite topic of mine, essential oils. In part I on my homepage, I provided an overview of the properties of fennel oil. These include its soothing action on the respiratory and digestive systems, inhibiting unwanted microbes, and its antioxidant capacity. I also briefly highlighted considerations for safe applications of essential oils.
In this article, I will reveal more about the versatile actions of fennel oil. I will also explain why essential oils are an important consideration for anyone interested in holistic health.
Moving Beyond the Lungs, Gut, and Bugs….More About Fennel Oil
Potential for Liver Protection
In a recent rodent study, fennel oil was shown to protect their little livers from induced toxicity from a medication. It was also shown to prevent liver damage of another group of rats from carbon tetrachloride.
Calming the (Rodent) Brain
In a small group of mice, researchers sought to find a more natural approach to reducing anxiety and found promise with fennel oil. (Perhaps it was from the guilt of inducing liver harm on our four-legged critters that researchers decided to calm them down with fennel.)
Other Uses of Fennel: Women’s Health
An in vitro study demonstrated that a constituent of fennel oil, anethole, could help ward off unhealthy breast cancer cells.
Lactation and Estrogenic Support
The first report of its galactagogue properties was by a Greek botanist Pedanius Dioscorides (40–90 A.D). This plant may increase milk production and milk fat content in goats . It has been used as a galactogogue in humans and no adverse effects have been reported yet [6, 123], in mice  or goats . F. vulgare has been used as an estrogenic agent for centuries. It has been reported to increase milk secretion, improve the reproductive cyclicity, facilitate birth, and increase libido . It contains E2-like molecules, such as anethole and estragole [153, 154] (Figure 6).
Fennel has been labeled as a phytoestrogen, meaning it has the potential to balance estrogen effects, depending on what’s needed in the body.
In one mechanistic in vivo study, fennel oil’s antispasmodic action was studied for modulating uncomfortable uterine contractions in pre-menstrual rodents. (Rodents get PMS? No, the researchers induced uterine contractions in the small organs of these critters.)
Why Essential Oils are Holistic Healing for the Body, Mind, and Spirit
Essential oils have the ability to balance our biochemistry, ease our minds, and soothe our spirits. The applications of one oil are so vast due to the numerous constituents found in a single drop and the influence odorants have on our neurology and psychology. In fact, the sense of smell alone has been shown to influence emotions, memory, and physiological responses. These synergistic, aromatic compounds are why essential oils can do “so many darn things” all at once!
For all of these reasons, essential oils can offer whole-body wellness. My favorite ways to take advantage of their benefits include diffusing calming oils and taking a “sniff” break with one of my favorites scent when my mind is wandering down the scary road of “what ifs.”
I’ve also become accustomed to a drop of fennel vitality oil’s sweet taste as a welcome contrast to the bitterness of my daily plate of steamed bitter greens.
Learn More on Safely Ingesting Fennel Oil for Better Flavor and Holistic Health
I’ve written previously about enjoying the benefits of cooking with essential oils. Later this week, I will go into more detail on the internal use of essential oils. I will provide a critical look at the safety and usage information specific to fennel in order to round out a full review of this fabulous essential oil. Check back on my homepage’s latest articles this weekend!
Expanded German E Commission (ABC). Fennel Oil: http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Fenneloil.html
Foeniculum vulgare: A comprehensive review of its traditional use, phytochemistry, pharmacology, and safety. Arabian Journal of Chemistry. November 2016. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878535212000792
Fennel. Natural Standard Database. https://naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com/databases/food,-herbs-supplements/professional.aspx?productid=311
Fennel Oil. Examine. https://examine.com/supplements/fennel-essential-oil/#summary1-1
Alexandrovich I, Rakovitskaya O, Kolmo E, Sidorova T, Shushunov S. The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):58-61.
Badgujar SB, Patel VV, Bandivdekar AH. Foeniculum vulgare Mill: A Review of Its Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Contemporary Application, and Toxicology. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:842674. doi:10.1155/2014/842674.
Protective effects of fennel oil extract against sodium valproate-induced hepatorenal damage in albino rats. Saudi Journal of Biological Sciences. May 2017. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1319562X16301450
The effect of fennel (Foeniculum Vulgare) seed oil emulsion in infantile colic: a randomized, placebo-controlled study. Altern Ther Health Med. 2003 Jul-Aug;9(4):58-61.
Foeniculum vulgare Mill: A Review of Its Botany, Phytochemistry, Pharmacology, Contemporary Application, and Toxicology. BioMed Research International. 2014;2014:842674. doi:10.1155/2014/842674.
In vitro antifungal activity and mechanism of essential oil from fennel (Foeniculum vulgare L.) on dermatophyte species. J Med Microbiol. 2015. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25351709
Anethole suppressed cell survival and induced apoptosis in human breast cancer cells independent of estrogen receptor status. Phytomedicine. June 2012. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.phymed.2012.02.017
Evaluation of anxiolytic activity of the essential oil of the aerial part of Foeniculum vulgare Miller in mice. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine.. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4156641/
Pharmacological Overview of Galactogogues. Veterinary Medicine International. https://www.hindawi.com/journals/vmi/2014/602894/
The effect of fennel essential oil on uterine contraction as a model for dysmenorrhea, pharmacology and toxicology study. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11448553
Safe Ingestion References
FDA. Code of Federal Regulations Title 21. Part 182- Substances Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS). https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/cdrh/cfdocs/cfcfr/CFRSearch.cfm?fr=182.20
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)