Fennel is one of Vaidya Mishra's most commonly used herbs. This is partly due to the fact that it is one of the best spices for the high-pitta physiology. It is also due to the fact that it is estrogenic and helpful in balancing female hormones.
Most importantly the wide use of fennel in Vaidya Mishra's practice is due to its ability to balance the other herbs with which it is used.
The name for fennel in Sanskrit is shatapushpa (hundred flowers). It also goes by chatra (umbrella shaped) and atilambi (very skinny and tall).
The Latin name is foeniculum vulgare. The ancient Greek name for fennel was marathon, and the town of Marathon in Greece was given its name because of the fennel found growing there.
Fennel is a spice. That means that it is heating, like any other spice. But when compared to ajwain, or black pepper or fenugreek or ginger, fennel is much less heating. This is due to fennel's extra soma (cooling, nurturing vibration) not found so much in other spices.
Fennel is katu (pungent), ushna (warming), tikshna (sharp), laghu (light) and dipani (stimulating digestion). These properties are held in common between almost all spices—it is necessary for spices to be hot to stimulate digestion.
But fennel is also madhura (sweet). You can taste the sweetness of fennel when you chew it. This is the soma in fennel which balances its heating qualities.
Because fennel has a bit of soma (cooling vibration) to balance the agni (heating vibration) and marut (moving, intelligent vibration) of the spice, it is less likely to create problems in people with high pitta.
Nevertheless, in extremely high pitta people, it can cause problems. Also, if it is used in large quantities, it can create a pitta imbalance in anyone.
Bhava Prakash warns that fennel is pittakrit (increasing pitta). However, when compared to other spices, fennel is very mild, and therefore quite safe to use with high pitta people and people with a lot of amavisha (reactive toxins) if used in small quantities.
The ancient Ayurvedic texts do not use the term estrogenic, but they were aware of this property. Bhava Prakash says that fennel is shukrahrit (decreasing semen in males), which we now know is due to its estrogenic property.
Vaidya Mishra uses fennel for its estrogen enhancing nature in many of his products for women, listed below.
If you need to avoid estrogenic foods, it is also important to know about this property of fennel. Always check with your physician and your Shaka Vansya Ayurveda practitioner before using any herb.
Fennel and DGL are the diplomats of the herbal world. They can get along with any other spice or herb. In fact, they take on the qualities of other herbs when mixed with them.
This is very important when making formulations because fennel can allow opposing herbs that normally do not tolerate each other to coexist. With the help of fennel, Vaidya Mishra is able to make balanced formulations that contain herbs with very opposite qualities.
You will find a long list of products below which contain fennel for this reason.
Colic (sharp pain in the abdomen due to gas) can occur sometimes when something wrong is eaten, or in cases of chronically high toxic load (amavisha) in the liver or stomach.
This can also happen due to skipping or delaying a meal, allowing too much acid to accumulate in the stomach before eating. When food is taken after delaying a meal, it sometimes reacts with the acid and produces gas.
Fennel is described by Bhava Prakash as being especially good for reducing colic (visheshadyo nishulanut). If you have this problem, try chewing on a few organic fennel seeds and you will be amazed at how quickly the gas is released.
In cases where there is very high pitta in the body, or if someone is not accustomed to using spices, chewing the seeds could be too heating. The safer way to go in this case is to use Vaidya Mishra's Fennel Transdermal Cream or Fennel Herbal Memory Nectar.
These two formulations do not contain much of the physical herb so they do not heat the body as much, but they still contain the powerful vibration of the herb to reduce colic.
Vaidya Mishra describes an instance where the Fennel Transdermal Cream worked immediately for a student with colic. Listen to the audio file to hear the whole story.
Fennel is also known for its ability to improve mandagni (low digestion due to excess ama or kapha). It also helps in the case of constipation (baddhavit), and fights krimi (pathogenic microbes).
For other uses of fennel, download the audio file and listen as Vaidya Mishra translates and comments on the Sanskrit verses.
In this 14 minute audio lecture, you will hear from the ancient Sanskrit verses of Bhava Prakash on fennel. Vaidya Mishra goes through each Sanskrit word so that you can fully understand the source text.
You will learn the various Sanskrit names for fennel as well as its many uses. You will learn practical tips from Vaidya Mishra about how to use fennel when someone is not accustomed to using spices or has too much pitta.
When you download the zip file for this section of the course (and unzip it using a free unzip program like 7-Zip), you will find a PDF file (which can be opened with the free Adobe Reader) and an MP3 file (which can be played on any MP3 player such as iPod or iTunes). You can listen to the audio alone, but for the first time through (at least), we recommend that you follow along with the PDF document to make sure that all of the concepts are clear. The PDF's sometimes contain visual diagrams in addition to the Sanskrit verses. If you learn visually, reading along with the PDF will be helpful.
We also recommend reviewing the PDF, and re-listening to the MP3 file many times, so that you begin to recognize the knowledge and own it. These MP3 files are especially good to put on your MP3 player so you can listen in the car. Just as it is easy to remember songs you hear over and over on the radio, you will find that the knowledge in these lectures will stick to you with no effort when you hear them over and over. You will also find that your understanding of the material deepens each time you hear them.
The Following Products Contain Fennel as an Ingredient
This product and statements have not been evaluated by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and are not intended to be used to diagnose, treat or cure any disease. All of the information above is intended for educational purposes only and may not be used to replace or complement medical advice.