Foeniculum vulgare, Miller. The volatile oil distilled from the dried ripe fruit.

Habitat. S. Europe, W. Asia; cultivated.

Syn. Foenic., Fennel Seed (Fruit), Large, Giant, Sweet or Wild Fennel, Semen Foeniculi; Br. Foeniculi Fructus; Fr. Fenouil dulce, Fruits (Semences) de Fenouil; Ger. Fenchel (fructus, semen); Ol. Foenic., Fennel Oil; Fr. Essence de Fenouil; Ger. Fenchelol.

Foe-nic'u-lum. L. Fennel, dim. of fenum or foenum, hay -- i.e., from a resemblance in odor.

Vul-ga're. L. Vulgaris, common, ordinary -- i.e., kind growing wild, and in general use, originally not cultivated.

Plant

Large, perennial (biennial, annual) herb; stem .6-1.2 M. (2-4 degrees) high, furrowed, green glaucous, branched; rootstock thick; leaves twice pinnate, pinnae very narrow, often only as wide as the thin petiole; flowers yellow, 15-20 in umbels, all parts with agreeable aromatic odor; sweet, aromatic taste. Fruit -- Foeniculum, Fennel (Seed), N.F. The dried, ripe fruit of cultivated varieties with not more than 4 p.c. of foreign organic matter; mericarps usually separate, broadly elliptical 4-15 Mm. (1/6-3/5') long, 1-3.5 Mm. (1/25-1/7') broad, commissural surface flattened, some with a slender stalk, 2-10 Mm. (1/12-2/5') long, dorsal surface convex, yellowish-green, 5 prominent ribs and short stylopodium at summit. Powder, yellowish-brown -- endosperm cells with aleurone grains, calcium oxalate rossettes, oil tubes, few strongly lignified fibers, tracheae few, fixed oil globules; solvents: alcohol (extracts virtues -- volatile oil), hot water partially. Dose, gr. 10-30 (.6-2 Gm.).

Constituents

Volatile oil 2-6 p.c., fixed oil 12 p.c., sugar, mucilage, ash 9 p.c.

Oleum Foeniculi. Oil of Fennel. -- This volatile oil distilled with water or steam, from the dried ripe fruit of cultivated varieties, is a colorless, pale yellow liquid, characteristic odor and taste of fennel, soluble in 8 vols. of 80 p.c. alcohol, 1 vol. of 90 p.c. alcohol, forming neutral solution, sp. gr. 0.963, dextrorotatory, congeals at 3 degrees C. (37 degrees F.); contains (about the same as oil of anise) pinene, phellandrene (CH-- substances isomeric with oil of turpentine), dipentene (sometimes limonene), fenchone (bitter camphor), CHO, anethol, CHO, 60 p.c., also its isomer chavicol, anise ketone, anisic aldehyde, and anisic acid.  Anethol gives largely the value, crystallizes out in the cold, and consists of two portions (1) liquid -- eleoptene, (2) solid -- stearoptene, the percentage of the two not always being uniform, some specimens of oil having more of the solid, while others (best) more of the liquid anethol.  The oil from different sources is usually without some of these constituents (either phellandrene, fenchone, or anethol), thus limonene occurs in the Macedonian; pinene and dipentene in the Saxon; fenchone in the Saxon, Galician, Moravian, Roumanian and Japanese, but not in the Roman and Macedonian; phellandrene in the wild (bitter), which, as a rule, has no anethol.  Tests: 1. With ferric chloide T.S. -- not blue or dark (abs. of volatile oils containing phenol).  2. Dropped into water and not shaken -- no milkiness (abs. of alcohol).  Should be kept cool, dark, in well-stoppered amber-colored bottles, and if partly or wholly solidified must be completely liquified by careful warming and thoroughly mixed before dispensing.  Dose, mij-5 (.13-.3 cc.).

Adulterations

Fruit

Exhausted fruit (yielding yellowish instead of dark brown infusion) often tinged with chrome-yellow (removed by rubbing with alcohol) and mixed with genuine, entire or ground; damaged wheat, oat, poppy and lentil seeds, stones, pieces of marble, colored yellow with iron-ochre, 16-66 p.c.; OIL: Alcohol, oil deprived more or less of anethol, oil of turpentine (lowering the congealing point), other volatile and fixed oils.

Commercial

Plant variation (in size, habit, shape and cutting of leaves, number of rays in umbels, and shape of fruits) is due to the cultivation for centuries of the wild F. Vulgare, thereby producing several well-marked new species (?) that flourish in all except cold climates, and in turn revert to the original wild form.  Fruit is obtained mostly under cultivation from Germany, France, and Russia, although we produce much of our own supply; the French, German, and Indian conform to the N. F. Description, the Russian and Japanese being only half the size, as is also the wild (bitter) grown in France; all sometimes sold as longs and shorts, the former having preference.  Cultivated in Italy not only for fruit, but for stem and young shoots as a vegetable, while the root is used in medicine with less satisfaction.  There are five varieties: 1, French (Roman, Sweet), large straight, curved, sweetish, greenish-yellow, by some referred to F. Dulce or F. Sativum, but under cultivation it soon reverts to the original wild form, F. Vulgare; 2, German (Saxon--F. Vulgare), large, greenish, by some preferred; 3, Indian (F. Panmo'rium); 4, Russian (Roumanian); 5, Japanese.

Preparations

Oil

1 Aqua Foeniculi, Fennel Water.  (Syn., Aq. Foenic.; Fr. Eau de Fenouil; Ger. Fenchelwasser.)

Manufacture

1/5 p.c.  A saturated solution; similar to Aquae Aromaticae -- triturate oil .2 cc. with purified talc 1.5 Gm., adding gradually recently boiled distilled water q.s. 100 cc., filter until clear.  Dose, 3ij-8 (8-30 cc.).

2.  Pulvis Glycyrrhizae Compositus, 2/5 p.c.  3. Elixir Anisi, N.F., 1/20 p.c.  4. Elixir Catariae et Foeniculi, N.F., 1/5 p.c.  5. Fluidglyceratum Cascarae Sagradae Aromaticum, N.F., 1/10 p.c.  6. Mistura Carminativa, N.F., 1/20 p.c.  7. Syrupus Ficus Compositus, N.F., 1/10 p.c.  8. Syrupus Rhamni Catharticae, N.F., 1/50 p.c.; FRUIT: 1. Infusum Sennae Compositum, N.F., 2 p.c.  2. Pilulae Antiperiodicae, N.F., 1/4 gr.  3. Species Laxativae, N.F., 12.5 p.c.  4. Tinctura Antiperiodica, N.F., 2/5 p.c.

Unoff. Preps.: FRUIT: Fluidextract, mx-30 (.6-2 cc.); Infusion, 5 p.c., 3j-16 (4-60 cc.); Syrup (fruit or oil).

Properties

Carminative, stimulant, diaphoretic, aromatic, stomachic, galactagogue; employed by the ancients very similarly.

Uses

Nausea, colic, amenorrhea, infantile flatulency; increases the secretion of milk, perspiration, mucus, urine; as a corrective to griping medicines, senna, rhubarb, etc.  Much used in cattle medicines, the oil in cordials, elixirs.