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Fennel Essential Oil: Uses, Benefits, and Precautions

Fennel essential oil (Foeniculum vulgare) is known to be a potent and powerful aid for digestive health. Its strong licorice flavor and aroma is gained from the steam distillation from the crushed seeds of the plant. I'll be honest...it's about my least favorite aroma. That being said, I will hold my nose long enough to use it, especially in a digestive blend. It's worth the olfactory suffering. In addition to digestive support, it's also popular with hormonal balancing. So let's say your hormones lead you to eat too much junk food and you get an upset stomach? Fennel's your oil!

Primary Benefits

  • Relieves indigestion and digestive troubles
  • Eases monthly menstrual cycles
  • Supports a healthy lymphatic system
  • Calms minor skin irritation

Emotional Benefits

Emotionally and spiritually, fennel is said to support a person's responsibility (or confidence in their ability to respond). This means it might help a person struggling with self-doubt, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, accountability, or stubbornness, and help them live in alignment with their values and integrity. Historically, it was even used to bestow strength and courage to warriors, and may support stamina and longevity by strengthening the solar plexus.

Complimentary Oils

Fennel essential oil blends well with Basil, Geranium, Lavender, Lemon, Rosemary, and Sandalwood essential oils.

Depending on your uses for this oil, substitutes may include: Juniper Berry, Basil, Lemon, or Cardamom essential oils. 

How to Use Fennel Essential Oil

Traditionally, fennel essential oil uses these application guidelines. Click the banner to understand what each symbol means and to learn how each is used safely and effectively:

How to use essential oils!
Adults Children/Sensitive Pregnancy

Precautions of Fennel Essential Oil

Avoid if you have a history of seizures. Use with caution during pregnancy. Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.

Popular Uses of Fennel Essential Oil

  • Rub Fennel on your stomach or on the bottom of your feet to help ease menstrual or digestive discomfort.
  • Put a drop of Fennel under your tongue to help fight sweet tooth cravings.
  • Add to desserts for an additional depth of flavor.
  • Add 1–2 drops in a glass of warm water or tea to help settle digestive upset.
  • To control feelings of overwhelm, place a drop in your hands and cup over the nose and mouth while you breathe.
  • Place 1 drop on your hands, cup over the nose and mouth, and breathe deeply as desired for strength.
  • For responsibility, place 1-2 drops on a cotton ball to stick in your car, home, or office vents. Diffuse as desired or add a drop to your shirt collar.

Inspiration for Using Fennel Essential Oil

Fennel Body Butter: Combined 1/4 each of coconut and jojoba oil with 1/2 cup shea butter and heat until combined. Whip hot mixture in mixer and add 10 drops each of fennel, lemon, and helichrysum essential oil. Whip until stiff peaks form and store out of the heat.

Fennel Cuticle Balm: In double boiler, melt 1 Tbsp each coconut oil, almond oil, hemp oil, and shea butter. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in 10 drops lavender essential oil and 5 drops each peppermint, eucalyptus, fennel, and clary sage essential oils. Pour into small pots (I usually pick little containers up in the travel section). Let cool completely before sealing. Apply to cuticles 3-4 times a day after hand washing or as needed.

Fennel Lotion Bar: Combined 1/4 cup each of coconut oil, almond oil, and beeswax. Melt until combined then add 10 drops fennel and lemon essential oil. Pour mixture into a silicone mold and let set for 24 hours.


Not all oils are created equal. Because of a lack of industry standards and a lack of regulation on terms such as "natural" or "pure", much of what you find at the drug store is NOT a therapeutic grade of essential oil and may lack real quality or even contain contaminants or adulterants (way more common than you'd think).

A LOT goes into creating a high quality essential oil. A good brand should follow these guidelines:

  • Proper plant varieties
  • Each plant grown indigenously for the healthiest plant
  • Grown without chemical pesticides, herbicides, etc
  • Harvested with precise timing to ensure peak properties
  • Extracted with proper temp and pressure to preserve oil molecules
  • Third-party testing of every batch
  • Stand behind the internal use of their oils

Beginner's Guide to Application and Precautions, from SustainableBabySteps.com

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