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Since May 10th 2008

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Foeniculum vulgare



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Foeniculum vulgare Mill. (Apiaceae)

Anethum foeniculum Clairv., A. foeniculum L., A. rupestre Salisb., Feniculum commune Bubani, Foeniculum azoricum Mill., F. capillaceum Gilib., F. dulce DC., F. foeniculum (L.) H. Karst., F. offi cinale All., F. panmorium DC., F. piperitum DC., F. sativum Bertol, Ligusticum divaricatum Hoffmannsegg et Link, L. foeniculum Crantz, Meum foeniculum (L.) Spreng., Ozodia foeniculacea Wight et Arn., Selinum foeniculum (L.) E.H.L. Krause. Apiaceae are also known as Umbelliferae.

Local names
Aneth doux, arap saçi, besbes, bitter fennel, Bitterfenchel, brotanis, common fennel, dill, édeskömény, erva doce, fãnksal, fannel, Fencel, Fenchel, fenchul, Fennekel, fennel, Fennichl, fennikel, Fennkol, fenouil, fenucchiello, fenucchio, fenykl, fi nkel, Finkel, fi nichio, fi nocchio, fi nucco, fi olho, florence fennel, foenoli doux, funcho, gemeiner Fenchel, Gemüsefenchel, giant fennel, guvamuri, hierba de anis, hinojo, hui-hsiang, imboziso, insilal, koper wloski, lady’s chewing tobacco, large fennel, madesi souf, madhurika, marathoron, maratrum, marui, misi, nafa, panmauri, razianeh, razianaj, sanuf, shamar, shomar, sladkij ukrop, sohoehyang, sopu, spingel, sup, thian khaao phlueak, thian klaep, venkel, sweet fennel, uikyo, uikyou, vegetable fennel, vinkel, wild fennel, xiao hui, xiaohuixiang, yi-ra

Perennial aromatic herb, 1–3 m high with green, glaucous, furrowed, branched stems bearing alternate leaves, 2–5 times pinnate with extremely narrow leaflets. Superior leaves with sheaths longer than the blade. Umbels compound, large, nearly regular, on long peduncles. Flowers yellow, no involucre; calyx with fi ve very slight teeth; petals fi ve, entire, tips involute; stamens fi ve; ovary two-celled; stylopodium large, conical. Fruit an oblong cremocarp, 6–10 mm long, 1–4 mm in diameter, greenish; glabrous mericarp compressed dorsally, semicylindrical, with fi ve prominent, nearly regular ribs. Seeds somewhat concave, with longitudinal furrows

Plant material used
dried ripe fruits

Chemical assays
Contains not less than 1.4% v/w essential oil

Major chemical constituents
The major constituent is the essential oil (2–6%), which contains transanethole (50–82%), (+)-fenchone (6–27%), estragole (methylchavicol) (3–20%), limonene (2–13%), p-anisaldehyde (6–27%), α-pinene (1–5%) and α-phellandrene (0.1–19.8%)

Medicinal uses
Uses supported by clinical data

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Symptomatic treatment of dyspepsia, bloating and flatulence. As an expectorant for mild inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Treatment of pain in scrotal hernia, and dysmenorrhoea.

Uses described in traditional medicine
Treatment of blepharitis, bronchitis, constipation, conjunctivitis, diabetes, diarrhoea, dyspnoea, fever, gastritis, headache, pain, poor appetite and respiratory and urinary tract infections. As an aphrodisiac, anthelminthic, emmenagogue, galactagogue and vermicide

Proven pharmacological activity
Animal studies
Analgesic and antipyretic, Antimicrobial, Antispasmodic, Antihypertensive, Estrogenic and antiandrogenic, Expectorant and secretolytic, Sedative

Human studies
No information available.

Adverse reactions
In rare cases, allergic reactions such as asthma, contact dermatitis and rhinoconjunctivitis have been reported in sensitive patients

The fruits are contraindicated in cases of known sensitivity to plants in the Apiacaeae. Owing to the potential estrogenic effects of the essential oil from the seeds and anethole, its traditional use as an emmenagogue, and the lack of human studies demonstrating efficacy, Fructus Foeniculi should not be used in pregnancy. Pure essential oils should not be given to infants and young children owing to the danger of laryngeal spasm, dyspnoea and central nervous system excitation

The pure essential oil from the fruits may cause inflammation, and has an irritant action on the gastrointestinal tract.

Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
An aqueous extract of the fruits, up to 100.0 mg/ml, was not mutagenic in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100 with or without metabolic activation with homogenized rat liver microsomes. Aqueous and methanol extracts of the fruits, up to 100.0 mg/ml, were not mutagenic in the Bacillus subtilis recombination assay. However, a 95% ethanol extract, 10.0 mg/plate, was mutagenic in the Salmonella/microsome assay using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA102. An essential oil from the fruits, 2.5 mg/plate, had mutagenic effects in the Salmonella/microsome assay in Salmonella typhimurium strain TA100 with metabolic activation, and in the Bacillus subtilis recombination assay. A similar essential oil had no effects in the chromosomal aberration test using Chinese hamster fibroblast cell lines.

Pregnancy: teratogenic effects
An essential oil from the fruits, up to 500.0 µg/ml, had no teratogenic effects in cultured rat limb bud cells.

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Nursing mothers
No restrictions on the use of infusions prepared from Fructus Foeniculi or the seeds.

Paediatric use
No restrictions on the use of infusions prepared from Fructus Foeniculi or the seeds. See also Contraindications.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning drug interactions; or drug and laboratory test reactions.

Dosage forms
Dried fruits, syrup and tinctures. Store the dried fruits in a well-closed container, protected from light and moisture.

(Unless otherwise indicated)
Daily dose: fruits 5–7 g as an infusion or similar preparations, higher daily doses (> 7 g fruits) should not be taken for more than several weeks without medical advice; fennel syrup or honey 10–20 g; compound fennel tincture 5–7.5 g (5–7.5 ml).


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