Florence fennel is an aromatic biennial with soft, feathery, almost
hairlike foliage. The lacy, finely dissected leaves have swollen
petioles (leaf stems) that clasp the main stalk to form an edible
structure that is what is commonly referred to incorrectly as the
bulb. The plant gets about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall in its first growing
season. In the second season, Florence fennel produces flowering
stems that stand a foot or so taller and support showy flat-topped
umbels of little golden flowers. (An umbel is an umbrella shaped
cluster of flowers in which the individual flower pedicels (flower
stalks) radiate from a common point on the main stalk.) Fennel has
an elongated root that resembles a carrot. All parts of Florence
fennel have a sweet, licorice fragrance reminiscent of anise,
tarragon and chervil.
Medical use: Fennel helps to release gas from the stomach and bowels
and relieve its associated pain and cramping. It helps to clear
phlegm from the lungs. It can act as a stimulant and diuretic which
calms the nerves, improves appetite and digestion, and acts as an
antispasmodic. It is helpful for nursing mothers as it promotes
lactation and calms colic. Fennel helps regulate energy to the
spleen, stomach, liver and kidneys and can be used topically for
joint inflammation. The dried powder is said to keep fleas away from
kennels and stables.
In the tropics it will grow 1800 mtrs above sealevel.
A sweet herb used as an appetite suppressant and as an eyewash.
Promotes function of the spleen, liver and kidneys, and also clears
the lungs. Used for acid stomach. It relieves gas, gastrointestinal
tract spasms, abdominal pain, and colon disorders. Effective in the
treatment of gout, and good for the cancer patient after
chemotherapy and radiation."