Fennel has always been used traditionally for irritated, itchy eyes and even for conjunctivitis. A fennel eye wash is ideal when suffering with hay fever.
17th century herbalist Nicholas Culpepper wrote, ‘Fennel increases milk, cleanses the eyes from mists that hinder sight and take away the loathings which oftentimes happens to the stomachs of sick persons’.
Fennel is often used as a calmative for an upset tummy, for colicky babies, to encourage milk flow in breastfeeding women and for menstrual pain.
My favourite fennel salad
1 bag rocket, half a fennel bulb sliced, a small handful of fennel fronds, half a red onion sliced, 1 sliced avocado, 1 quarter of a cucumber sliced, then rounds halved.
Add to a bowl.
Mix the following for a salad dressing – 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon of lemon juice, 1 tsp of runny honey, 1 tsp of fennel seeds, good pinch of salt. Whisk up. Pour over salad and toss through.
Fennel eye soother
Place one tsp of fennel seeds or 2 fennel teabags in to a teacup.
Pour over boiling water filling the cup half way so not to make the fennel too dilute.
Leave until cool then strain.
Generously soak cotton wool pads with the fennel solution and apply to the eyes. Be careful to use a separate cotton pad for each eye if an infection is present.
Use several times a day to soothe the eyes.