Fennel Seed Hydrosol

Fennel is a plant species in the genus Foeniculum. It is a member of the family Apiaceae. It is a hardy, perennial, umbelliferous herb, with yellow flowers and feathery leaves. It is indigenous to the shores of the Mediterranean but has become widely naturalized in many parts of the world, especially on dry soils near the sea-coast and on riverbanks.

It is a highly aromatic and flavorful herb with culinary and medicinal uses and, along with the similar-tasting anise, is one of the primary ingredients of absinthe. Florence fennel is a selection with a swollen, bulb-like stem base that is used as a vegetable. Fennel is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the mouse moth and the anise swallowtail.

As Old English finule, fennel is one of the nine plants invoked in the pagan Anglo-Saxon Nine Herbs Charm, recorded in the 10th century. In Greek mythology, Prometheus used the stalk of a fennel plant to steal fire from the gods. Also, it was from the giant fennel, Ferula communis, that the Bacchanalian wands of the god Dionysus and his followers were said to have come.

Its name is from the Latin 'forename' meaning 'hay'. The ancients believed it gave one longevity, courage and strength, and warded off evil spirits. Not only did they use it to strengthen the eyesight, but also for snakebite, colic, and fleas.

Fennel seed hydrosol is a quite famous hydrosol that is used by many in the southern European area. One big reason this hydrosol came in the limelight is that it is highly therapeutic in nature and has absolutely harmless when it comes to side-effects. The spice is one of the most sought-after ingredients in many popular cuisines all over the Mediterranean regions.

Fennel is native to Southern Europe and grown extensively all over Europe, Middle-Eastern, China, India, and Turkey. This herbaceous plant reaches up to 2 meters (about 6 feet) in height with deep green feathery (lacy) leaves and bears golden-yellow flowers in umbels. In general, fennel seeds are harvested when the seed heads turn light-brown.

In general, seeds are harvested during early hours of the day to avoid spilling of seeds on the ground. As in caraway, the cut plants staked until they were dry; then threshed, processed and packed to be sold.

Benefit & Uses: Fennel is widely cultivated, both in its native range and elsewhere, for its edible, strongly flavored leaves and fruits. Its aniseed flavors comes fromanethole, an aromatic compound also found in anise and star anise and its taste and aroma are similar to theirs, though usually not as strong.

The Florence fennel is a cultivar group with inflated leaf bases which form a bulb-like structure. It is of cultivated origin, and has a mild anise-like flavor, but is more aromatic and sweeter. Florence fennel plants are smaller than the wild type. Their inflated leaf bases are eaten as a vegetable, both raw and cooked. There are several cultivars of Florence fennel, which is also known by several other names, notably the Italian name Pinocchio. In North American supermarkets, it is often mislabeled as "anise".

Foeniculum vulgar 'Purpureum' or 'Nigra', "bronze-leaved" fennel, is widely available as a decorative garden plant. Fennel has become naturalized along roadsides, in pastures, and in other open sites in many regions, including northern Europe, the United States, and Southern Canada in much of Asia and Australia. It propagates well by seed, and is considered an invasive species and a weed in Australia and the United States. In western North America, fennel can be found from the coastal and inland wild land urban interface east into hill and mountain areas, excluding desert habitats.

 

Having a sweet and soft liquorices’ aroma that's reminiscent of anise, Sweet Fennel is used in aromatherapy and naturopathy as it is credited with being carminative, depurative, diuretic, expectorant, laxative, stimulant, splendid, and stomachic. And it is also believed to be invigorating, restoring, stimulating, and warming and hence it is also used in soap-making and cosmetics.

 

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