With all my research on fennel, I have come to the conclusion that fennel may just be one of those mega vegetables. There are so many ways to use fennel and even more benefits. I will try my best to give you as much information as I can before I put you to sleep with this overload of material…!! (please don’t sleep, keep reading!!)
Fennel has been around since ancient times. It is featured in ancient Greek mythology. Prometheus used a stalk of fennel to steal fire from the gods and it was from a giant fennel plant that the Bacchanalian wands of the god Dionysus and his cronies were said to have come from. Also the Greek word for fennel is marathos, the place of the famous battle of Marathon. Marathon literally means “a plain with fennels.”
Roman soldiers consumed fennel to make them strong, and women used it to suppress their appetite and keep their figures.
This brings us to our main topic on fennel, the aphrodisiac aspect.
Fennel as a libido booster for women and is related to plants like cumin, dill, anise and caraway in that all these herbs bear small, aromatic fruits which are popularly called seeds. After years of being used in medicinal recipes continuing through medieval times, fennel came to be used as an important ingredient in love potions. That tradition continued with modifications till recent times as evidenced by fennel’s presence in modern stimulants like absinthe.
Fennel’s reputation as an aphrodisiac lies in the fact that the plant contains certain compounds that are similar to the female hormone estrogen. These plant-based estrogen-like compounds are known as phytoestrogen and are believed to stimulate sexual desire among women. Probably for this reason too, fennel was used as a breast enlarger in folk medicine. In fact, so rich is fennel in phytoestrogens that in the 1930s, the herb was considered as a source for producing synthetic estrogens.
An important function of an aphrodisiac is to treat underlying physiological disorders, which may be preventing a person from experiencing a full sex life. In this regard, fennel is an important aphrodisiac for women since it has been known to alleviate several types of gynecological disorders. Fennel is believed to encourage menstruation among women suffering from absence of or scanty periods. According to traditional medicine, the herb is also an effective means of reducing distressing symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats and mood swings related to pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause.
Fennel oil is sweet and aromatic. It has been traditionally used to stimulate sexual desire in women by appealing to the senses. In fact, fennel seeds were chewed to obtain sweet-smelling breath in the past when artificial mints and breath fresheners were not available. This is also one reason why the essential oils made from fennel seeds have emerged as a significant ingredient in the manufacture of perfumes, soaps, cosmetics and pharmaceuticals today.
Besides working directly to enrich female libido, fennel is packed with valuable nutrients essential for building up immunity and the proper functioning of all systems of the body including the sex organs. The herb is rich in fiber, vitamin C and minerals like calcium, magnesium, manganese and iron, all of which are essential for a healthy sex life. Being stocked with essential vitamins and minerals, fennel has powerful antioxidant properties that prevent signs of aging and helps to boost immunity, longevity and sexual drive.
Here are some other health benefits of fennel
Fennel is also beneficiary for the intestinal tract to treat flatulence and treating babies with colic in a syrup form.
Fennel is good for eye health; it can actually help improve eyesight and clear cloudy eyes and treatment of glaucoma.
Fennel can help relieve hypertension.
Fennel can be given to help relieve chronic coughs.
Fennel helps with weight loss as it staves off hunger.
My personal favorite fennel recipe is a fresh fennel salad with heirloom tomatoes. It is super easy and is a perfect compliment to a nice juicy steak and baked potato on a balmy summer evening. But since we are talking about Valentine’s Day, this fennel salad can be served with a hearty pasta dish and a nice piece of warm baguette.
1 bulb of fennel, stemmed and very thinly sliced or shaved against the grain- save some of the top “leaves” of the fennel
8-10 Cherry tomatoes ( or 2 small-medium heirloom tomatoes medium dice if in season!)
½ medium red onion, thin chiffonade slice
Fresh lemon juice, about 1-2 lemons depending on the amount of juice they produce
1/8-1/4c olive oil, depending on how much lemon juice is procured from the above lemons
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Combine all of the ingredients and garnish with the “leaves” from the top stalks of the fennel plant. Serve with a great main dish and enjoy!
P.s. This salad tastes even better the next day!