fennel seeds, hele 21914

having waited all summer for our front garden fennel seeds to ripen, ready for collection and consumption, we were treated to a splendid downpour of autumn rain. the insects, that had already enjoyed the aromatic flowers and shelter of the umbilifer form, settled in with dusty webs and sporific mould, until we were left with an inedible mix. but, not to waste a visually creative opportunity, the seeds were gathered and sorted and dried and shimmied on paper in orderly array for pleasure and knowledge and wit. and they smelt great…

autumnal downpour, hele; deseeding the fennel (© p ward 2014)autumnal downpour, hele; deseeding the fennel (© p ward 2014)

fennel seed circle (© p ward 2014)fennel seed circle (© p ward 2014)

fennel seed shape I (© p ward 2014)fennel seed shape I (© p ward 2014)

Culpepper[i] says: ‘One good old custom is not yet left off, viz., to boil fennel with fish, for it consumes the phlegmatic humour which fish most plentifully afford and annoy the body with, though few that use it know wherefore they do it. It benefits this way, because it is a herb of Mercury, and under Virgo, and therefore bears antipathy to Pisces. Fennel expels wind, provokes urine, and eases the pains of the stone, and helps to break it. The leaves or seed boiled in barley water and drunk, are good for nurses, to increase their milk and make it more wholesome for the child. The leaves, or rather the seeds, boiled in water, stayeth the hiccup and taketh away nausea or inclination to sickness. The seed and the roots much more help to open obstructions of the liver, spleen, and gall, and thereby relieve the painful and windy swellings of the spleen, and the yellow jaundice, as also the gout and cramp. The seed is of good use in medicines for shortness of breath and wheezing, by stoppings of the lungs. The roots are of most use in physic, drinks and broths, that are taken to cleanse the blood, to open obstructions of the liver, to provoke urine, and amend the ill colour of the face after sickness, and to cause a good habit through the body; both leaves, seeds, and roots thereof, are much used in drink, or broth, to make people more lean that are too fat. A decoction of the leaves and root is good for serpent bites, and to neutralize vegetable poison, as mushrooms, etc.’[ii]

fennel seed shape II (© p ward 2014)fennel seed shape II (© p ward 2014)

fennel seed shape III (© p ward 2014)fennel seed shape III (© p ward 2014)

© p ward 2014

[i] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nicholas_Culpeper

[ii] https://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/f/fennel01.html#med

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