This is for all you smudging addicts out there (just like me!). Did you know there’s probably one plant you’ve probably not tried smudging with?
But one that has a really sweet and deep smell, and a whole host of positive benefits on top!? This herb is…fennel.
There are at least 7 benefits of smudging with fennel, which include:
- It has fantastic relaxation and soothing properties
- It has beautiful cleansing properties
- It’s great for digestive health
- It has aromatherapy benefits
- It has anti-inflammatory effects
- It is an antioxidant
- It just, quite simply, makes your home. smell. frickin. great.
Fennel has a kind of licorice smell, and has a bit of a zing to it, which’s great for really freshening the house. I’ve been making and burning smudge sticks with fennel for several years, and in this post I’m going to dive into the 7 biggest reasons to use fennel, to convince you to try it out too.
Young playmates of the rose and daffodil,
Be careful, ere ye enter in, to fill
Your baskets high
With fennel green, and balm, and golden pines.Endymion, John Keats
1. It Has Relaxing And Soothing Properties
This is the biggie for me – and the reason why I’ve put it first on the list!
Fennel has a really soothing aroma. Burning it, as part of a smudge stick, can generate:
- Relaxation in the body and mind
- A feeling of calm
- A peaceful atmosphere. It just smells serene and ethereal
- Reduce stress
- Promote mental clarity
That’s quite some list right there!
2. Fennel Has Cleansing Qualities
Another thing that you have to understand about fennel is that it is brilliant at cleansing.
Traditionally, smudge sticks were used by the indigenous people of North America as a spiritual ceremony, and releasing negative energy from the environment was a big part of it.
I fully respect the traditions of smudging, but I don’t use smudge sticks for any religious purposes. I do, though, fully appreciate the power they have to cleanse and renew the environment.
I think fennel has a really purifying quality. It is that sweet slightly licorice aroma you get – it’s amazing.
I know lots of people smudge to mark a special occasion. It could be the end of a relationship, the start of a new season, or some other life event.
There is a sense of bringing out the old and bringing in the new.
3. Fennel Aids Digestive Health
Here’s a big bonus for fennel – it is good for digestive health.
In fact, it has been used for centuries as a digestive aid. The smell of burning fennel can help with:
- Alleviate bloating
- Improve overall digestive health
There was research published in the Journal of Food Science and Technology, that suggested that fennel seeds have been effective in treating:
- Digestive disorders
- Irritable Bowel Syndrom (IBS)
4. Fennel Has Uses In Aromatherapy
Fennel is used relatively commonly in aromatherapy, and it has a wide range of benefits in this practice.
In particular, aromatherapists recommend that fennel can:
- Enhance your overall sense of well-being
- Improve your mood
- Reduce anxiety
- Boost mental health
5. It Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Let’s go a little more scientific now.
Fennel is well known to have anti-inflammatory effects on the body, and this is backed up by research.
Fennel is well-known to produce anti-inflammatory effects on the body.
Fennel contains bioactive compounds. What on earth are those, you may well ask?
Well, bioactive compounds are substances that can have a positive effect on our metabolisms. There is some evidence that they have benefits such as anti-cancer properties, and are helpful in combating heart disease.
- Flavonoids – a chemical known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties
- Phenolic acids – which help to fight free radicals
- Volatile oils – these are sometimes known as essential oils
A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that fennel extract contributed to a significant anti-inflammatory effect in the body.
6. Fennel Is An Anti-Oxidant
Anti-oxidants help to fight free radicals in our bodies.
What are free radicals, and why would you care?
Well, a free radical is an unstable compound, that produces many unpleasant effects in the body, such as:
- Accelerated aging
- Heart disease
- Immune system diseases
Antioxidants fight these effects, which, as you can see, is all good!
7. It Makes Your House Smell Great!
This is a big one for me!
Fennel just has a gorgeous, and very unusual smell, and it just makes your house. smell. frickin. great.
It really smells like an occasion has taken place, and the house is reborn!
How To Make A Fennel Smudge Stick (Step-By-Step Guide)
Step 1 – Gather Fennel
There are several different parts of a fennel plant that you can smudge. There are green leaves, and there are also stalks. Both are burnable!
Ideally, gather a mixture of leaves and stalks chopped up. You are looking for sections of leaf and stalk that are about 6-9 inches long.
Roll these into a sausage shape.
Step 2 – Tie The Bundle
You now want to tie up the bundle of fennel.
For this, I like to use cotton string. This has two advantages:
- It burns well
- It does not release any toxic chemicals when it burns
Wool is not really great at burning, so I tend not to use that. Also, manmade fibers like nylon can release chemicals when burning – so don’t use that!
Wrap the cotton string around the base of the bundle, and then wind it around to make a sausage shape. Wrap up the string around the end of the bundle, and then tie it up.
Your smudge stick is created!
Step 3 – Store The Smudge Stick
The last step is to dry out the smudge stick. Fennel leaves will take approximately 1 to 2 weeks to dry out (so think ahead!)
Ideally, to store the fennel smudge sticks, you should hand them up in a cupboard. The cupboard should be:
- Cool and a similar temperature all the time (and at least not hot)
When they are dry, take them out, and happy smudging!