Fennel helps to take away the appetite. Taken before meals, it can help you eat smaller meals and still feel full. It is often used as a sedative for small children and to treat colic. It improves digestion, and is very helpful with coughs. It is also used for cancer patients after radiation and chemotherapy treatments to help rebuild the digestive system. It is used to enrich and increase the flow of milk for lactating women. Fennel oil is used externally to ease muscle and joint pain. Avoid internal use during pregnancy.
Fennel prefers dry, sunny areas. It is a perennial that can reach 4 to 6 feet high, and grows in most average to poor soils. Plant it around your vegetable and flower gardens to help attract beneficial insects, but not too close, or they will adversely affect the plants.