The dried, ripe fruit of cultivated varieties, with not more than 4 p. c. of foreign matter.
Habitat. S. Europe, W. Asia; cultivated.
Foe-nic'u-lum. L. fennel, dim. of fenwn or foenium, 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°) 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, cremocarp, oblong, grayish-green; mericarps 2, usually separate, each broadly elliptical, more or less curved, 4-10 Mm. (1/6-2/5') long, 1-3.5 Mm. (1/25-1/7') some with slender stalk 2-10 Mm. (1/12-2/5') long; dorsal surface convex with 3 prominent, longitudinal primary ribs and 4 vittae, short conical stylopodium at summit; commissural surface with 3 narrow light brown longitudinal areas separated by 2 dark brown areas, each containing 1 vitta; odor and taste aromatic, characteristic. Powder, yellowish-brown; microscopically - angular fragments of endosperm with aleurone grains each containing a rosette aggregate of calcium oxalate, fragments of vittae, few sclerenchymatous fibres, parenchyma cells, tracheae; in mounts with hydrated chloral T. S. many globules of fixed oil separate. Solvents: alcohol (extracts virtues - volatile oil); hot water partially. Dose, gr. 10-30 (.0-2 Gm.).
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
Fig. 286. - Foeniculum vulgare: a, cross-section of fruit; 6, flower with stamens.
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 official 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
Fig. 287. - Foenic-ulum fruit: 3 diam.; transverse section, 8 diam.
form, F. vulgare; 2, German (Saxon - F. vulgare), large, greenish, by some preferred; 3, Indian (R. panmo'rium); 4, Russian (Roumanian); 5, Japanese.
Constituents. - Volatile oil 2-6 p. c., fixed oil 12 p. c., sugar, mucilage, ash 9 p. c.
Oleum Foeniculi. Oil of Fennel, official. - (Syn., 01. Foenic., Fennel Oil; Fr. Essence de Fenouil; Ger. Fenchelol.) This volatile oil, distilled from the ripe fruit of cultivated varieties with water or steam, 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 5° C. (41° F.); contains (about the same as oil of anise) pinene, phellandrene (C10H16 - substances isomeric with oil of turpentine), dipentene (sometimes limonene), fenchone (bitter camphor), C10H16O, anethol, C10H12O, 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 chloride 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 mus't be liquefied by careful warming before dispensing. Dose, eij-5 (.13 - .3 Ml. (Cc.)).
Preparations. - I. Fruit: 1. Infusum Sennoe Compositum, 2 p. c.
II. Oil: 1. Aqua Foeniculi. Fennel Water. (Syn., Aq. Foenic; Fr. Eau de Fenouil; Ger. Fenchelwasser.)
Manufacture: 1/5 p. c. Similar to Aquae Aromaticae - triturate oil .2 Ml. (Cc.) with purified talc 1.5 Gm., adding gradually recently boiled distilled water q: s. 100 Ml. (Cc), filter until clear. Dose, 3ij-8 (8-30 Ml. (Cc.)).
2. Pulvis Glycyrrhizoe Compositus, § p. c. 3. Spiritus Juniperi Compositus, 1/20 p. c
Unoff. Preps.: I. Fruit: Fluidextract, dose, ex-30 (.6-2 Ml. (Cc)). Infusion, 5 p. c, dose, 3j-16 (4-60 Ml. (Cc.)). II. Oil: Syrup.
Propertifs. - Carminative, stimulant, stomachic, galactagogue; employed by the ancients very similarly.
Uses. - Nausea, colic, amenorrhoea, 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.