Fennel is a tall perennial herbaceous plant, native to the Mediterranean basin. It is found in stony and dry places, at the edges of roads and in fields. In summer it bears yellow flowers in umbels. Fennel seeds are about 4-7 mm long, have vertical stripes over their surface and a yellowish or brown color. The seeds are harvested from August to September. Fennel is crunchy and slightly aromatic. It is widely used in both the Italian and Greek cuisines. Ancient Greeks called the herb ‘marathron’, from the town of Marathon, site of the famous battle between the Athenians and the Persians.

Fennel was awarded to Pheidippides, an Athenian herald or "professional-running courier", who was sent to Sparta to request help when the Persians landed at Marathon. According to Greek mythology, fennel was a gift of the Gods to humans. Both Ancient Greeks and Romans attributed soothing properties to fennel.


Fennel is a rich source of flavonoids and antioxidants. It is also an important source of vitamin C. It can relieve from intestinal colic and stomach cramps. Generally, fennel is used as a remedy for many gastrointestinal symptoms and digestive disorders, including indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome, and infantile colic. Because fennel has diuretic properties, it can also help treat kidney stones, increase appetite and stimulate the body. Finally, fennel can help clear chest congestion, by breaking up phlegm and mucus, and calms the respiratory system.

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