Fennel is considered both a vegetable and a herb due to its wide ranging nutritional and healing benefits. Fennel is rich in folic acid, vitamin C, magnesium, cobalt, iron, and essentials oils that contain powerful anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Fennel is excellent for indigestion and is commonly used as a natural antacid in order to help reduce acidity and inflammation in the digestive tract and to facilitate proper absorption and assimilation of nutrients from food. Fennel has potent anti-flatulent and carminative properties which means it is able to prevent and stop the formation of gas in the stomach and intestines. Fennel is also known to be highly beneficial for sinus congestion, bronchitis, renal colic, anemia, hypertension, macular degeneration, constipation, bloating, diarrhea, and irritable bowel syndrome. Fennel is used to help protect against both cardiovascular disease and cancer. Fennel contains an important anti-inflammatory phytonutrient called anethole that blocks both inflammation and carcinogenesis, which is the mutation of regular cells into cancerous cells. Fennel also has the ability to ease and regulate menstruation by regulating hormonal action properly in the body. Fennel is used amongst nursing women to help stimulate consistent milk flow for their babies. Fennel is also known to help strengthen hair, prevent hair loss, relax the body, and sharpen the memory. Fennel seeds can be chewed after a meal to aid in digestion and to remove bad breath. Fennel seeds can also be made into an effective medicinal tea by steeping the seeds in hot water for 10 minutes or more. Fresh fennel juice can be combined with fresh celery, cucumber, and/or apple juice for a healing and medicinal drink. Fresh fennel juice can also be used topically to swollen or inflamed eyes to reduce irritation, swelling, and fatigue. Fresh fennel has a crunchy, slightly sweet licorice flavor and is a wonderful addition to fresh salads, smoothies, soups, stir-fry, potatoes, and other vegetable dishes.