Fennel seed (Foeniculi fructus)

Published April 19, 1991.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Foeniculi fructus, fennel seed.

Composition of Drug

Fennel seed consists of the dried, ripe fruits of Foeniculum vulgare Miller var. vulgare (Miller) Thellung [Fam. Apiaceae], as well as their preparations in effective dosage.

The seeds contain at least 4 percent essential oil with not more than 5 percent estragon.


Dyspepsias such as mild, spastic gastrointestinal afflictions, fullness, flatulence.

Catarrh of the upper respiratory tract.

Fennel syrup, fennel honey: catarrh of the upper respiratory tract in children.


Herb for infusions and preparations containing an equivalent amount of the essential oil:

None known. Other preparations:

Pregnancy. Side Effects In individual cases allergic reactions of skin and respiratory tract.

Interactions with Other Drugs

None known.


Unless otherwise prescribed:

Daily dosage:

5 - 7 g herb; 10 - 20 g fennel syrup or honey (Erg. B. 6); 5 - 7.5 g compound fennel tincture; equivalent preparations. Mode of Administration Crushed or ground seeds for teas, tea-like products, as well as other galenical preparations for internal use.

Duration of Administration

Fennel preparations should not be used on a prolonged basis (several weeks) without consulting a physician or pharmacist.

Note: Fennel syrup, fennel honey: Diabetics must consider sugar content of bread exchange units according to manufacturer's information.


Promotes gastrointestinal motility, in higher concentrations acts as an antispasmodic. Experimentally, anethole and fenchone have been shown to have a secretolytic action in the respiratory tract; in the frog, aqueous fennel extracts raise the mucociliary activity of the ciliary epithelium.