Yes, this is really fennel swallowing this public bench whole. I love that here in the SF Bay Area that fennel is basically a weed. Any abandoned lot, public park or traffic meridian may have a large bed of this wonderful plant. Yesterday I was around this patch and discovered that redwing blackbirds were nesting in between the tightly packed stalks. Dreamy, right? I’ve learned about using fennel medicinally in both my eastern and western herb classes.In TCM fennel has a name that I love to write, it’s xiao hui xiang. It just looks so good. Both traditions use the seed to treat digestive problems like stomachaches, overeating, bloating and ahem, gas. Just make a tea by adding a few teaspoons to your cup. TCM also uses fennel for menstrual cramps and PMS abdominal discomfort.
I really like fennel because it’s so warming, and personally I love the licorice taste. Sometimes I’ll mix it with a little mint as well to switch it up. You can harvest the seed by just tapping the seeded flower heads into a paper bag. As always while harvesting/urban foraging use good judgement as to where you’re collecting from.
*ps this is a redwing blackbird imposter*