Fennel is a wonderful digestive herb.
Its taste is that of a slight anise, licorice taste. It is a member of the parsley family. It looks very much like dill. The parts that are really used are the seeds, leaves and the roots.
It is a superb stomach and intestinal remedy used in cases of flatulence and colic and gastric upset. It acts similarly on the digestive tract as catnip. It is classified as a carminative aromatic and anti-spasmodic.
It is very rich in vitamin C, A, calcium, iron and potassium. "It can help to increase appetite and reduce bad breath by minimizing belching and acting as an antibacterial in the mouth. Traditionally, fennel is fed to increase milk flow in nursing mothers." (1) You can use "two handfuls of the whole herb fed raw twice daily. Make use of the seed also. For constipation, give four raw roots daily, finely sliced and mixed with bran and molasses." (2)
"In acute cases, such as when your horse finds an open bag of molasses and oats that you forgot to put away (or when she grazes on too much fresh alfalfa because you left the gate open) fennel may help to reduce the subsequent bloating caused by intestinal gas buildup. For flatulence or colic, horses can be free-fed fresh fennel greens--as much as they want-- until they find relief." (1)
1. All you ever wanted to know about Herbs for Pets by Mary L.
Wullf-Tilford and Gregory L. Tilford, BowTie Press, Irvine, CA, 1999, p 129.
2. The complete Herbal Handbook for Farm and Stable by Juliette de Bairacli Levy, Rodal Press, Emmaus, PA, 1984, p 71.