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Fresh fennel is easy to find at many farmers market or grocery stores. Here in California, it grows wild all over the place! And every part of the plant can be used as food and medicine, including the seeds.

First, fennel is a fantastic digestive aid, especially for sluggish or irritable digestion and abdominal cramping. It’s a healthy way to take down bloating and improve function. It’s also a super safe herb that can be used as a natural remedy and to enhance the health of your diet in general. It can be consumed as fresh medicinal juice, as food or as tummy-soothing tea made from the seeds.

One of the simplest way to eat fennel is to throw fresh tender leaves or the sliced bulb into salads. I also love to juice it, along with my other fresh veggies, to create a simple medicinal elixir.

Perhaps best of all though, with its warming and soothing effect on the gastrointestinal system, is fennel seed tea. It specifically targets problems like bloating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) with which many, many people are afflicted nowadays due to stress, diet and certain foods being hard to digest. The seeds are anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory and high in volatile oil compounds that directly affect these conditions.

Simple food and herbs, like fennel, offer uncomplicated ways to dip a toe into the beauty of using medicinal plants for yourself and your family. By becoming aware of the medicinal benefits of these food plants, you can start to tailor your dietary choices to fit your body’s needs and nudge yourself in the direction of whatever balance you may require at a given time.

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