Who would have thought that the lowly Fennel played a pivotal role in the evolution of human consciousness' According to mythology, Prometheus is said to have carried the sacred fire from Olympus back to earth, hiding the glimmering embers inside a Fennel stalk. Fennel is also associated with the rites of Dionysus and his magic staff. Known as 'Thyros-staff', it consisted of a Fennel stalk tipped with a pine cone, which served as a symbol of fertility at his sacred rites. Pliny was most impressed by the way snakes use Fennel to cure any injuries to their eyes and to help them shed their skins. Fennel was also imbued with magical powers of protection, and twigs of it were hung over doors to protect the inhabitants against witches and demons. Fennel is considered a traditional midsummer herb. Some ascribe aphrodisiac properties to it. The Roman army used Fennel seeds to curb hunger on long marches and to impart courage on their men. Fennel's reputation as a slimming herb that suppresses hunger pangs was still current in the 17th century, when William Coles wrote 'both the seeds, leaves and root of our Garden Fennel are much used in drinks and broths for those that are grown fat, to abate their unwieldiness and cause them to grow more gaunt and lank.' Fennel contains anethols and should be avoided by epileptics. Large doses can be toxic to the liver.
TraditionalFennel aids digestion and counteracts cramping and griping pains. It is used to curb appetite and is said to be effective for cellulites and water retention. It can be useful for coughs and bronchitis. Mothers use it to stimulate their milk flow and to soothe the rumbling tummies of their off-spring. It is also helpful for PMT and promotes menstrual flow. Use with caution. Not recommended during first months of pregnancy. Epileptics should avoid this oil.
MagicalMagically, Fennel is very versatile. It is very suitable for initiation rites as it may also help the initiate to shed his old skin and see with new eyes, and hopefully gleam the cosmic fire within. It also protects the novice and bestows courage. Fennel is great for students as it aids their memory. It is associated with longevity and fertility. It may be used in hand-fasting unions, not just as an aphrodisiac, but also as a reminder that a union undergoes constant renewal and that only by shedding our skins from time to time can grow and keep love young.