Blog Mental Health Therapy Fennel Oil Benefits, Uses, And Side Effects

Fennel Oil Benefits, Uses, And Side Effects

What are fennel seeds? Fennel seeds are the edible seeds of a plant from the same family as celery, carrots, and parsley. Native to southern Europe and parts of Asia, fennel has been used for centuries in food and medicine (12). Fennel oil is derived from the seeds of the fennel plant through steam distillation. It is pale yellow in color and has a sweet, spicy smell. It contains a variety of compounds, including anethole, limonene, and quercetin (1). These compounds have a variety of beneficial health effects.


What Are The Health Benefits Of Fennel Oil?

Fennel oil has many uses on its own and is often combined with other essential oils for even greater benefits. Here are some of the top benefits associated with fennel oil:

Soothe Digestive Issues

Fennel oil is a volatile oil. That means it can be easily absorbed into the bloodstream. Coupled with its active compounds, fennel is an effective treatment for digestive problems such as gas, bloating, and indigestion.

The oil works by stimulating the digestive system and helping to expel gas, reduce bloating and aid in digestion (9).

As a carminative, fennel oil helps to break down harmful compounds in your stomach that can cause digestive distress.

People with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) may also find fennel beneficial. Research has shown that taking a fennel extract can reduce abdominal pain and other symptoms associated with IBS (2).

Gut spasms are painful contractions that can cause significant discomfort. In babies they can even cause colic (15). They are often caused by indigestion and can be extremely uncomfortable.

Fennel oil’s volatile compounds can help reduce abdominal pain and relax the muscles of the digestive tract, alleviating spasms.

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Reduce Inflammation

Fennel oil is packed with active compounds that can help reduce inflammation and ease pain. These compounds are especially good at reducing inflammation in the gut, which may be helpful for people with inflammatory bowel disease.

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Inflammation is a leading cause of many chronic diseases, including heart disease and diabetes (17). Research suggests that fennel oil may be able to help reduce inflammation, thanks to one compound in particular, anethole.

Anethole has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, and studies suggest it may be effective at reducing inflammation associated with cancer. It specifically targets cytokines, which are small proteins that play a role in inflammation (5).

fennel oil benefits

Boost Immunity

Fennel oil has antimicrobial characteristics. One study published in Flavour and Fragrance Journal found that fennel  oil contains 23 compounds with strong antimicrobial properties (6).

These compounds include anethole, limonene, and quercetin, all which have high quantities of phenolic and bioactive compounds.

Because of its antimicrobial properties, fennel oil can help boost the immune system, protect against infections and even fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

Healing Wounds

Fennel oil is often used topically to help speed up wound healing. Its antiseptic properties can help fight off infections and reduce the risk of infection. It may also be beneficial in treating sunburns, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Fennel oil’s benefits for skin don’t stop there. It also contains compounds that can help reduce wrinkles and make skin look more youthful. This is due to its antioxidant properties, which can help protect the skin from damage caused by free radicals and environmental stressors (3).

Killing Intestinal Parasites

Fennel oil has been found to be effective against a variety of intestinal parasites, including hookworm and roundworm. It does this by disrupting the parasite’s life cycle, ultimately killing the worms (19).

By doing so, it prevents the parasites from reproducing and reduces the risk of infection. Children who are susceptible to intestinal parasites may benefit from taking fennel oil.

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Emmenagogue Properties

Fennel oil is an emmenagogue, which means it can help to regulate female hormones. This makes it beneficial for women who experience irregular periods, hormonal imbalances or menopausal symptoms (11).

Symptoms such as headaches, dizziness and mood swings can be relieved by taking fennel oil. Its antispasmodic properties can also help relieve the abdominal cramping associated with menstrual cycles.

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fennel oil benefits

Lactation Aid

Fennel oil is a widely used galactagogue, meaning it can help to increase milk production in lactating women. By increasing milk production, it can help reduce the risk of malnutrition in infants (13).

Furthermore, some of the carminative and antispasmodic properties of fennel oil may pass through the mother’s milk and soothe the baby’s stomach.

Diuretic Properties

Fennel oil is also a diuretic, meaning it can help to flush toxins out of the body. It increases urine production and helps the body to get rid of unwanted substances, such as excess sodium and potassium (4). This can help lower blood pressure, reduce bloating and prevent water retention.

Enhances Cognitive Function

Studies have found that certain compounds in fennel oil, such as anethole and limonene, can help improve cognitive function (18). These compounds have been found to be effective at reducing brain fog, improving memory and increasing focus.

Reduce Stress

Research suggests that fennel oil can help reduce stress and anxiety (14). This is likely because of its calming scent. Diffusing fennel oil can have a relaxing effect and help reduce stress levels, making it a good choice for aromatherapy.

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fennel oil benefits

Fennel Oil Side Effects And Cautions

In general, fennel oil is safe to use. However, there are some contra-indications that you should be aware of. 

Trans-Anethole Risks

Fennel oil contains trans-anethole, which is beneficial for many health benefits. However, pregnant women should avoid this oil as it can cause uterine contractions, which could increase the risk of miscarriage (20).

Women at risk of hormone-related cancers and tumors, such as breast and uterine cancer, should also avoid fennel oil as it can stimulate excessive estrogen levels.

Potential Narcotic Effects

Fennel oil also contains small amounts of narcotic compounds. In large doses, these can cause dizziness, weakness and confusion (10). Therefore, it’s important to limit the amount of fennel oil that you use.

People suffering from epilepsy and other seizure disorders should avoid fennel oil as it can cause seizures in some cases. 

Allergic Reactions

Like any other essential oil, you can be allergic to fennel oil. If you experience any adverse reactions such as swelling, itching or hives while using this oil, discontinue use and consult a doctor. 

How Should You Use Fennel Oil For Most Benefits?

Fennel oil is a versatile and powerful oil that can be used in many ways to benefit your health. Here’s your guide to using fennel oil for the best results:


Fennel oil is often used in aromatherapy to reduce stress and improve mood. Add a few drops of fennel oil to an essential oil diffuser, or mix it with a carrier oil and use it in massage.

fennel oil benefits


Fennel oil is often used topically to treat skin conditions like eczema and acne. It can also be used to reduce inflammation and symptoms of arthritis (7). Simply mix a few drops into a carrier oil, such as almond or coconut oil, and apply directly to the affected area.

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Fennel oil can be consumed orally in small amounts. It’s known to aid digestion, reduce gas, and relieve cramps. Add a few drops to warm water, soup or tea, or mix it into a smoothie.


Fennel oil can be used to promote healthy hair growth and reduce dandruff. Mix it into a hair mask or oil blend, and apply to the scalp.

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Household Cleaning

Fennel oil is antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral, making it an excellent natural household cleaner. Simply add a few drops to your favorite homemade cleaning solution.

By using fennel oil in these ways you could experience a variety of benefits. 

Which Oils Blend Well With Fennel Oil?

Blending oils is often a great way to amplify the therapeutic effects of each oil. It’s also a great way to create a unique scent. Oils that blend well with fennel oil are:

  • Sandalwood – Sandalwood oil has a sweet, woody aroma and its earthy scent compliments fennel oil nicely.
  • Geranium – Geranium oil has a floral and herbaceous aroma which pairs well with the spicy notes of fennel oil.
  • Rosemary – Rosemary oil has an herbal and slightly medicinal scent that adds depth to fennel oil.
  • Lavender – Lavender oil has a sweet, floral aroma that blends well with the spicy, anise-like aroma of fennel oil.

How To Choose Fennel Oil

When choosing a fennel oil, look for an organic, cold-pressed product that is 100% pure and free from additives. Remember to always store your essential oils in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. 

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Should You Use A Fennel Oil Supplement?

Fennel oil can be a beneficial supplement to incorporate into your diet. It has many potential health benefits, including helping to reduce bloating, improve digestion, and provide relief from indigestion (16).

It may also help reduce inflammation in the body, as well as muscle spasms and cramping (8). In addition, some people believe that fennel oil may help reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

While its benefits are clearly appealing, it’s important to talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before taking a fennel oil supplement. This is especially true if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, have a health condition, or are taking any medications.

Fennel oil is generally considered safe for most people to consume in small amounts, but it can interact with certain medications and have other side effects.

If you decide to take a fennel oil supplement, make sure to follow the directions on the product label. Additionally, it’s best to start with a small dose and increase gradually over time as directed by a healthcare provider.

Taking too much fennel oil can cause side effects like headaches, nausea, and dizziness. 

The Bottom Line

Fennel oil has many potential benefits, including aiding digestion, reducing inflammation, and possibly even reducing your risk for certain types of cancer. Not only is it ingestible, but you can also apply it topically.

However, it is important to talk to your doctor before taking a fennel oil supplement to make sure it is safe for you. If your doctor approves, start with a small dose and gradually increase as directed.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. 11 Proven Fennel Essential Oil Benefits (2016, 
  2. 15 Impressive Benefits Of Fennel (2016,
  3. 16 Amazing Home Remedies for Younger Looking Skin… (2023, lifesaving
  4. 7 Best Natural Diuretics Based on Current Research (2019, 
  5. Antihyper Nociceptive activity of anethole in experimental inflammatory pain (2013,
  6. Antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of fennel oil (2022, 
  7. Best Oils for Arthritis  (2023, 
  8. CBD Oil for Muscle Spasms: Is Cannabidiol an Effective Treatment? (2022,
  9. Digestive System (2023,
  10. Does fennel has a protective effect against cigarette smoke exposure in rat pulmonary and testicular tissues? Does consumption of Pimpinella anisum associated with testicular damage? (2013, 
  11. Effect of Phytoestrogen (Fennel) on Some Sex Hormones and Other Physiological Parameters in Male Albino Rats (2019,
  12. Fennel (2023, 
  13. Fennel (2023, 
  14. Fennel and anxiety (2023, 
  15. Gastroparesis (2023,
  16. Health Essentials: Foods That Help Reduce Bloating (2016, 
  17. Inflammation: A unifying theory of disease? (2023, 
  18. Quantitative and qualitative responses in chemical composition of three ecotypes of fennel (Foeniculum vulgare Mill.) cultivated in Iran climatic conditions (2016, 
  19. The effect of a fennel seed extract on the STAT signaling and intestinal barrier function (2022,
  20. The effect of fennel essential oil on uterine contraction as a model for dysmenorrhea, pharmacology and toxicology study (2001,
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