Bronze Fennel

Bronze Fennel

Foeniculum vulgare

Bronze fennel is of immense importance when it comes to addressing heartburn, indigestion, loss of appetite, bronchitis, cough, bedwetting, cholera, visual impairment, and backache.

  • Plant type: Annual
  • Other names: Fennel, Florence Fennel, Finocchio
  • Medicinal: Yes
  • Culinary: Yes
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used: Flowers & Frods
  • Side Effects: None
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About Bronze Fennel

Bronze fennel is an all-rounder garden plant, hailed as a short-lived perennial. It is an upright branching herb with fine, aromatic, feathery, bronze leaves and tiny golden-yellow umbelliferous flowers. It stands as both a medicinal and ornamental plant, inviting pollinating agents to the garden and shooing tons of disorders.

Bronze fennel is usually planted on the borders to impart height and sophisticated airiness to the garden. It can grow up to a height of 6 feet, laced with smooth, dark green leaves, similar to that of dill, with a terminal compound umbel of flowers, each umbel section containing 20-50 flowers. 

Bronze fennel was historically nibbled on to avert hunger during religious fasting rituals. During the 17th century, it was acclaimed as an antidote for poison by Nicholas Culpeper. Medicinally, it is known for being women-friendly as it solves the issues regarding the female reproductive system. It has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, carminative, antispasmodic, anti-colic, antitussive, and anti-bronchitic properties. Bronze fennel is of immense importance when it comes to addressing heartburn, indigestion, loss of appetite, bronchitis, cough, bedwetting, cholera, visual impairment, and backache.

It has anethole, also present in anise and star anise, giving bronze fennel its signature taste and aroma. It also stores trans-anethole, estragole, limonene, fenchone, and pinene.

 

Growing

Sow the bronze fennel seeds in the spring, somewhere in between March and June, when all the dangers of hard frost have gone by. They require well-drained, rich, fertile soil with full sun exposure. 

Bronze fennel can also be started indoors in a potting mix, around 4 to 6 weeks prior to the last expected date of frost. The seedbed must be kept moist and warm to boost the process of germination. When the plant reaches the height of 3 to 4 inches, transplant them outdoors to give them room for further maturation.

Bronze fennel seeds take 14 to 21 days to germinate. They mature at attaining the height of 4 to 5 feet and usually produce flowers during the second year of their growth. 

Its attractive flowers happily invite butterflies, syrphid flies, wasps, bees, and lacewings to carry out the pollination, after which they turn into botanically dry fruits that we call seeds. These seeds can propagate on their own by falling from their respective stems to start a new plant.

Harvesting

The bronze fennel seeds should be collected as soon as they get mature, which happens during the fall. A clear indication to harvest the seeds is when they turn brown. On the other hand, its bulb can be harvested when it reaches the size of a tennis ball or a small fist.

Bronze fennel seeds can be easily harvested by rubbing or shaking the flower heads over a container in which you wish to collect the seeds. As for the bulb, go with the gardening scissors and cut the bulb off above the root. Leave the root in the ground to keep the chances of further growth alive.

Bronze fennel seeds are dried on trays or screens and stored in an airtight container to preserve their immensely valuable flavor and aroma. Freeze the fennel bulb for 6 months or better use it fresh to enjoy its characteristic flavor.

 

Usage

Bronze fennel isn’t short of miracles when it comes to imparting cures for regular yet strong-willed disorders. It is incorporated in various medicinal preparations to treat a plethora of ailments.

  • Tincture - Add the dried, chopped bronze fennel seeds in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and bottle the tincture to place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea -  Dried bronze fennel seeds are steeped in hot boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes to form bronze fennel tea.
  • Decoction - Dried bronze fennel seeds are decocted with water for at least 6 hours to form bronze fennel decoction.
  • Salve - Bronze fennel seed oil is combined with beeswax and olive oil to formulate a salve.
  • Syrup - Simmer the bronze fennel seeds and sugar in water until the sugar dissolves. Strain away the seeds and bottle up the syrup for later use.
  • Infused oil - Dried bronze fennel seeds can be infused in olive oil for 2 to 3 weeks in a glass bottle on a sunny windowsill to yield Bronze fennel seed-infused oil. Strain away the seeds upon the completion of the given period and apply topically as needed.

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