Fennel is a hardy perennial plant with a carrot-like root, native to the Mediterranean area. It is often grown in the United States and Europe as well. Fennel is classified as a carminative herb — an herb that has a relaxing, soothing effect on the gut. Fennel is especially good for relieving gas and irritable bowel syndrome. Fennel seeds have been used for thousands of years as a remedy for various kinds of gastrointestinal upset, and fennel tea is considered so safe that it can even be taken by babies as a remedy for colic.


  • Drink fennel as a tea.
  • Eat fennel raw, in a salad, or add to cooked food as an herb. Fennel is commonly added to dishes containing fish.
  • Take fennel seed capsules, tablets, or extracts (these can be found in a health food store). Follow the directions on the container.
  • It is also possible to take fennel as an essential oil, if you are able to find a food-grade source of essential oils.

Fennel’s action on the digestion is thought to be based on its ability to relax the muscles of the intestines, aiding in the release of gas.

Because fennel is considered a food, it is generally regarded as safe. Whenever taking an herb that you have not taken before, however, watch for possible allergic reactions.