Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Recently I’ve been sharing guide to all my favourite magickal herbs and plants, like this post about the magickal properties of apples. I’ve also shared a post all about the magick of catnip, another detailing how to use comfrey, a post all about daisies and most recently a guide to the magickal properties of elderberry. Today I want to continue down this path by sharing my guide to the magickal properties of fennel with you.
Fennel, in all its forms, has been a loved medicinal plant and food source for thousands of years. It was used to treat stomach irritations and inflammation, as well as helping eye health and suppressing appetite. The magickal properties of fennel include protection, love, longevity and courage among many others.
Disclaimer: Any medicinal benefits given here are a product of my own research and as such should not be taken over the advice of trained medical professionals. If you are ill, please go and see a doctor. Always make sure that anything you consume is 100% safe. If you are pregnant, consult your doctor or midwife before consuming something you haven’t tried before.
If you enjoy reading about the magickal properties of different herbs and plants, check out this gorgeous plant magick grimoire we’ve created! It contains 29 beautifully illustrated pages for all our favourite plants. The best bit? This version comes as a digital download, so you don’t have to wait through pesky shipping times or delays. What’s not to love? Check it out below or keep scrolling to read all about the magick of fennel!
History of Fennel
Fennel, the most common form of which is called Foeniculum vulgare, is a member of the Apiaceae family which also contains carrot and parsley. It’s native to the Mediterranean but now grows all over the world. It prefers dry soil and likes to be near the coast or on riverbanks.
Pliney the Elder (23-79AD) was the first to write about fennel, although he believed that snakes would eat it to improve their eyesight after they had shed their skins. Due to this belief, he thought that fennel was a powerful healer and used it to treat over 20 different ailments.
Fennel has been used medicinally by a lot of different cultures throughout history. The ancient Egyptians used it as both a food source and medicine and it was used as an antidote against snakebites in ancient China. Fennel was used a lot in ancient Greece as food, an insect repellent and medicine. Many believed that fennel seeds would give soldiers courage in battle so they would often drink a fennel seed tea before going into battle.
Fennel was so important to the Charlemagne (747-814AD) that he required all imperial farms to cultivate it. It was also prized by the Benedictine Monks in the 700s. King Edward the First (1239-1307AD) loved fennel seeds. There are records of his account books from 1281 which state that he bought 8.5 pounds of fennel seeds per month. It’s presumed that they were used to season food and also as an appetite suppressant.
The use of fennel seeds as an appetite suppressant was brought to the US by the Puritans. They would chew the seeds during long church services in order to keep hunger at bay. This led to the seeds being called “meetin’ seeds”.
During Medieval times fennel was hung over doorways to keep malevolent or wandering spirits at bay. People would also insert seeds into the lock of their doors to stop ghosts visiting.
During the 1600s, the famous botanist Nicholas Culpeper wrote about fennel. He believed that fennel could be used as an antidote for snake bites and poisonous mushrooms. In the late 1800s, novelist and keen floriculturist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr claimed that fennel was a useless healing plant which had never cured anything. Clearly he wasn’t a fennel fan.
In the late 1700s, fennel was added to what started out as a medicinal tonic called absinthe. Clever marketers picked this tonic up and started selling it as a spirit. This spirit became extremely popular with bohemians after WW1 in both Europe and the US.
Today fennel is an extremely popular spice which is found in many, many kitchens. The bulbs are found in almost every supermarket in Germany and they are just as popular all over Europe.
Fun Facts about Fennel
- Fennel is one of the primary ingredients in absinthe.
- Legend has it that Prometheus brought fire to humans in a giant stalk of fennel. Other legends state that he used a hollowed-out elder branch.
- Hippocrates strongly believed that fennel could increase milk supply for breastfeeding women.
- Ancient Greeks believed that fennel tea would make them lose weight. They even called it “Marathon” which is apparently derived from a word which means “to grow thin”.
- Fennel is associated with marathons, as it’s said that Pheidippides, who ran the first-ever marathon, carried a fennel stalk with him when he ran back to Sparta to get more soldiers to fight against Persia in what is known as the battle of Marathon in 490BCE.
- People in the 13th century believed that anyone who saw fennel and didn’t gather it was a devil but also believed that planting fennel was planting sorrow into your life. Apparently you can’t win.
- Most of the fennel sold in the US is imported from Egypt.
- Planting fennel and dill together will result in a hybrid plant which will taste different to both dill and fennel.
- Some people consider fennel to be an aphrodisiac.
- Swallowtail butterflies lay their eggs on fennel plants so it’s a great addition to a butterfly garden. The caterpillars will feed off the plant too but won’t overtake or destroy it. What a wonderful symbiotic relationship!
- Giant fennel was used to make the ceremonial wands, called thyrsus, that the followers of Dionysus carried.
Medicinal Properties of Fennel
All parts of fennel are considered safe to eat both raw and cooked. The stalks are often too fibrous to use though so you might want to avoid those. It’s advised that pregnant women and young children avoid consuming fennel as some compounds in fennel may be toxicity for infants.
- Helps to regulate blood pressure
- Reduces water retention
- Helps with stomach irritations
- May reduce symptoms of asthma
- Contains Vitamin A which is great for eyesight
- Highly nutritious
- May help to suppress appetite
- May help keep your heart healthy
- May be antibacterial
- May help age-related memory loss
- May help relieve menopausal symptoms
Magickal Properties of Fennel
Plant fennel around your home to provide all-around protection. Place fennel seeds near windows to keep away unwanted visitors and malevolent energies. Burn fennel seeds to clear negativity from your home. Use the smoke from the seeds to purify any tools you want to use for your magickal practice. You could also use dried flowers or stalks for smoke cleansing.
If you feel like you’ve had a run of bad luck, roll a candle in olive oil and then cover it with ground (or whole, they just don’t stick as well) fennel seeds. Light the candle and let it burn to nothing then bury the remaining wax away from your home to break the streak of bad luck. If you’re interested in candle magick, read more about it in my candle magick 101.
Make a sachet filled with fennel seeds, a cinnamon quill and some rose petals to invigorate your love life. Keep this under your bed for nights filled with passion.
Chew fennel seeds before a presentation to give you courage and to help you to express yourself clearly and concisely. Fennel seeds have the added bonus of freshening your breath. Chewing the seeds will also give your memory a boost and help you to maintain your focus during the presentation.
- Psychic ability
Magickal Associations of Fennel
Deities – Prometheus, Apollo and Dionysus
Magickal Correspondences of Fennel
Zodiac – Virgo
Planet – Mercury
Element – Fire and air
Gender – Masculine
So, my lovelies, I hope that this guide has given you all the information that you were searching for about the magickal properties of fennel! May your nights be filled with love, your days filled with success and your energies clear from negativity.
Until next time,