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How to use fennel essential oil?

With this very specific aniseed odour, its component anethol is also used in the manufacturing of spirits in the South of France and it reminds people of cicadas and the singing sound of the speech of the local people. All well and good, but the fennel essential oil is one of the EOs to handle with care.

Botanic characteristics

Very highly appreciated in food for its aniseed flavour, fennel is a common vegetable that is found in India, Japan, central Europe and all around the Mediterranean.

It is a tall perennial plant that reaches a height of 1 to 2 m with:

  • Long stems closely tightened at the base within a large sheath.
  • Dark green leaves, finely chiselled in the shape of strips.
  • Yellow flowers in bunches and small greenish fruit.
  • Leaves and fruit have an aniseed perfume.

The EO of fennel is a yellowish liquid, slightly viscous that is obtained by extraction from the grains.


harvestYield: 100kgs of grains produce 2 to 6 kgs of EO

Composition of sweet fennel EO (seeds)

  • Ethers: trans-anethol (75-90%),methyl-chavicol (Estragol, Trans Anethol)
  • Monoterpenes (8 à 15%): limonene, alpha-pinene, alpha-phellandrene
  • Ketones monoterpenics: Fenchone (1-5%) No more than 7 days in a row
  • Furocoumarines: traces


Let us make it clear, we are talking here about sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare variety dulce). There is also a bitter fennel (vulgare) with more ketones and less trans-anethol (overall much less tolerated).

Properties of sweet fennel essential oil

Despite the necessary precautions that need to be taken, sweet fennel EO has very interesting properties:

Actions of trans-anethol

  • Stimulates breastfeeding +++: by mimicking the action of estrogen it enhances the production of maternal milk
  • Antispasmodic +++: fights digestive or respiratory muscular spasms. It soothes involuntary contractions.
  • Relieves digestive troubles +++: stimulates saliva, gastric, intestinal and pancreatic secretions.


Actions of ketones

  • Nervous, respiratory and cardiac tonic +++
  • Analgesic ++: alleviates pain.


Action of phenols methyl-ethers

  • Anti-inflammatory ++: soothes sensations of heat and redness


Action of monoterpenes

  • Respiratory tonic++: the stimulation by alpha-pinene provokes a sensation of clearing of the respiratory tract.

Indications and route of administration of sweet fennel Essential Oil

diffusion not allowed

Atmospheric route

It is not an EO that can be diffused or inhaled (because of the neurotoxic ketones).

dermal allowed

Dermal route

This route remains interesting, even though this EO can be irritating. It can be useful in massage on the stomach in the case of:

  • Gas and spasms
  • Flatulence, hiccup, nausea, colitis, constipation
  • Crohn’s disease symptoms and inflammatory colitis
  • Painful or irregular periods, absence of periods.
  • Its antispasmodic properties can also be a help in the case of rheumatism, lumbar or muscular pain.


Oral route

It is the most appropriate route for this EO (even in the kitchen)

It acts on digestive problems, problems of lactation, painful periods and the menopausal syndrome.

The maximal usage is 3 times a day / 1 drop of a carrier (honey or a vegetable oil for example. Leaving it in the mouth under the tongue for a few seconds).

In cooking, sweet fennel EO can bring an added flavour in desserts for example. Dilute the EO (2 drops will flavour a dish) in an oily substance (oil or butter for example) or some dispersant before incorporating it in the dish.


Dangers et counter-indications of sweet fennel Essential Oil

Sweet fennel EO should be used in moderation as its usage in high doses could provoke convulsions.

It is not recommended for:

– children under the age of 8 and pregnant women.

– people suffering from a hormonal cancer (breast, uterus) or suffering from antecedents.

– people suffering from hypothyroid (it blocks the activity of the thyroid).

It is:

– an irritant to the skin: therefore it should always be applied when diluted in a VO.

– potentially photo-sensitive (presence of furocoumarines)

neurotoxic (presence of ketones)

oestrogen-like: strong influence on the hormonal system (strong concentration in anethol). As a result, avoid the dermal route below the abdominal belt in pregnant women.

This is indeed a lot of precautions listed but this EO remains very useful for all woman’s problems if it is used carefully and for a short duration.

Weary to try? Eat some fennel J. It is a milder way of using it, especially for digestion and lactation.

sweet fennel

A few usage suggestions:


The information provided could not be considered as medical information nor engage Pacific Scents’ responsibility as to your usage of essential oils for yourself or anyone else. We strongly invite you to compare the information with that of authoritative experts and the opinion of health professionals


For breastfeeding women, the use by dermal route is authorised only if recommended by a medical practitioner. In all cases, consult a health professional (medical or pharmacist) before ingesting any.

– Do not use this EO long term


In the case of difficult breastfeeding

  • By oral route, 2 drops of Fennel EO on a neutral tablet, morning, midday and at night.
  • By dermal route (D. Festy), 1ml fennel EO, 1ml basil in 8ml of VO: apply 4 drops of this mixture on the breast twice a day. Even baby may be happier because fennel will fix his colic.

Assistance with childbirth

(when contractions have started and the date is right).

fennel / palmarosa / true lavender at equal ratio (10%) + 90% sweet almond oil.

At the very start of contractions, massage the abdomen every two hours and bring the massages closer together at the same pace as the contractions.

You can also add noble laurel / bay leaf to give you courage if needed.

In the case of a digestive ulcer

From the age of 8 onwards & adults. By oral route, 2 drops of fennel on a neutral tablet, morning, midday and at night.

Against aerophagia, bloating and flatulence

From the age of 8 onwards & adults

  • By oral route, take 1 drop of fennel in a teaspoon of VO or honey, 3 times a day.
  • By dermal route, dilute 1 ml of fennel EO in 4 ml of VO, apply to the abdomen 3 times a day.


Cardamom EO could be more effective (same dosage)

Against difficult digestion

From the age of 8 onwards & adults

  • By dermal route,1 drop of fennel EO in 4 drops of VO, massage the abdomen after each meal.
  • By oral route, place 1 drop of pure fennel EO under the tongue or on a support after each meal.

Basil EO could be more effective (same dosage)

As a support through menopause

By oral route, 2 drops in a teaspoon of olive oil:

  • Before menopause: 3 times a day from the 7th to the 21st day of the cycle
  • After menopause: 3 times a day for three weeks, repeat with a pause of one week between each stretch of 3 weeks.

Clary sage EO could be more effective (same dosage)

In the case of dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea

Adolescents & adults.

  • By dermal route,1 drop of sweet fennel EO in 4 drops of VO on the lower abdomen 3 times a day for 10 days before the beginning of periods.
  • External route: 2 drops of fennel EO mixed with 2 drops of hazelnut oil, massaging the abdomen, to improve digestion and assist period pain.


Clary sage EO could be more effective (same dosage)

For cellulite (L. ET S. PRICE)

By dermal route, 1ml sweet fennel EO, 1 ml juniper EO, 1 ml geranium EO, 0.5 ml Incense EO in 200 ml of VO. Apply this mixture with an exfoliant glove.

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