Botanical Nomenclature: Foeniculum vulgare (Fam. Umbelliferae)
Preparation: Obtained by solvent extraction of the seeds with the subsequent removal of the solvent
Appearance and odour: Dark brown liquid with the characteristic odour and flavour of Sweet Fennel
Volatile Oil Content: 16-21 ml / 100g
Residual solvent: <15 ppm
Solubility: Soluble in vegetable oil
Equivalence: 1 Kg of Fennel Oleoresin is of equal value to 10-15 Kg of seeds
Storage: In tight full container in a cool, dark and dry place.
The botanical name of fennel oleoresin is Foeniculum vulgare dulce and it is a dark brown liquid which is soluble in fixed oil. The dark brown liquid has the characteristic odour and flavour of sweet fennel. Fennel oleoresin has a light spicy and soft licorice flavour and it is obtained by using the solvent extraction method of fennel seeds. Fennel oleoresin is obtained by solvent extraction of the fennel seeds followed with the removal of the solvent. The extracts of fennel have anti-toxic properties and finds most valuable application in counterbalancing alcoholic poisoning. It has played a vital part in the treatment and rehabilitation of alcoholics
The major constituents of fennel oleoresin are volatile oil, a-pinene and mycrene. Fennel oleoresin is known for its antiseptic, expectorant, carminative, laxative, diuretic, stimulant and stomachic qualities and is widely used in food processing industry as a spice. It is also considered to be invigorating, stimulating and warming. The plant part used for extraction of oil is the seed and the plant originated in Spain. Fennel is an erect growing perennial herb native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean area. The plant grows up to 1.5 metres and has yellow flowers. Fennel oleoresin has light consistency and have top note. The aromatic scent is spicy, sweet and woody and the strength of aroma is medium.
Fennel is an herb of ancient repute and it encourages longevity, strength and courage. The Greeks used fennel because it was believed to be a slimming herb and Romans used for its digestive properties. The ancient Greek word for fennel is "marathon" based on Greece's victory over the Persians in 470BC at Marathon and the battle was fought in a field of fennel. Fennel is of great historical importance and is mentioned as early as 3500 years ago in Ebers Papyrus, the famous Egyptian medical manuscript for the treatment of flatulence. Fennel is considered to be the oldest cultivated plant.
Fennel is a hardy herb which grows year round with feathery leaves and yellow flowers. Since it grows in the shores of Mediterranean and parts of temperate Europe and spreads eastwards to India its usage spread to the East and North and is part of the northern Europe recipes and East Asian recipes. Fennel is umbelliferous herb but not the most potent of the umbelliferaes. It has sweetish tasting oil and is well preferred by children and adults. The three parts of the plant namely the bulb, the stalks and the leaves are all edible.
Grows in Well Drained Loam
Fennel grows in well drained loam to a height of about 6 to 7 feet in full sun and is a close relative of parsley, carrot, coriander and dill. The plant is composed of a white and pale green bulb and from this closely overlaid stalks are arranged. The common Garden Fennel can be distinguished from its wild version by having stouter, taller and tubular and larger stems and less leaves. The main distinction is that the leaf stalks forms a curved cover around the stem at times as far as the base of the leaf on the plant.
Moving the fennel plant from one place to the other can be quite difficult so it is better to sow the seeds in a place where you want the plants to grow. It is better to sow the plants outdoors for a crop in the next summer. Fennel is at its prime from late fall through winter and into early spring. Watering of the plant should be done on a regular basis during dry spells in the summer. Keep heavily mulched to reduce soil evaporation and competition from weeds because fennel is known to bolt when there is sudden jump of temperature.
Vulnerable to Frost
Aphids and other insects like the white fly can cause serious damage to fennel plants and the herb is vulnerable to such pests. When the soil is too moist or soggy the plant will be affected by root rot. Fennel is vulnerable to frost and because of this it is usually grown as an annual in short season gardens before the winter approaches. Fennel is allelopathic to majority of garden plants, slowing down growth or in fact killing many plants. Allelopathy is a biological phenomenon through which an organism produces one or more biochemical which control the growth, existence and reproduction of other organisms.
Cooking oils which is used for cooking in houses can be flavoured with the fennel by adding the fresh fennel leaves to it. The essential oil and the oleoresin of fennel are used mainly in condiments, soaps, creams, liqueurs, perfumes and alternative medicines. Fennel oleoresin has anti-parasitic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory properties and is a good digestive aid and increases the body metabolism. It is used for digestive complaints like flatulence, constipation, nausea and vomiting. It can be helpful in waning hiccups and is said to promote a feeling of fullness which benefits obese people.
Therapeutic grade essential fennel oil has diuretic effect and said to be able to disperse cellulite or accumulated toxins. It is also thought to be healing for the spleen and liver and has the ability to heal the body after surplus food and drink. Fennel oleoresin has cleansing effect on the skin and it can clear up oily skin and reduce the risk of wrinkles and promote healing of bruises. It is helpful for relieving symptoms of PMS and easing menstrual problems. The essential oil and oleoresin of Fennel is quite gentle and suitable for all types of skins including sensitive skin types.
Just sniffing or smelling the oil gives you a feeling of strength and courage especially during tough times. It is ideal to be used in baths, massage oils and lotions. Massaging fennel oil into the skin can help with digestive problems and break down cellulite. But it is better to consult a qualified physician before using the oil and people with epilepsy especially should consult with their doctor before using it. Inhalation of the fennel oil stimulates the appetite of people with eating disorders