Fennel is a tall perennial herb native to the Mediterranean region, now widely cultivated as an annual or perennial in Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Greece, Turkey, Italy, France, Germany, Egypt, India, Pakistan and China.
Fennel seeds are popular in both sweet and savory dishes. Fennel seeds are a component of Chinese five-spice. The spice is said to cure everything from hiccups and coughs to earaches, toothaches, and asthma. Fragrant fennel oil is used both to flavor sweets and perfume soaps.
Fennel is a licorice flavored, feathery, aromatic herb. It grows to be several feet tall with umbels of small, yellow flowers that look very similar to a dill plant. This digestive herb relieves heartburn, gas, colic, and an upset stomach. The seeds can be chewed to sweeten breath and help a toothache, and a gargle will relieve a sore throat.