Dog fennel is a fern-like perennial that grows best in mid- to late summer and through autumn. The perennial is often found in the southeastern states but has been discovered growing in most of the contiguous United States. Dog fennel grows between 1 foot to 2 feet high. Dog fennel emits an obnoxious odor and easily takes over a yard or field if not maintained. Benefits derive from the herbs and seeds of the plant, which are more commonly known as chamomile.
The foul odor that dog fennel produces is a deterrent to most insects, including bees and fleas. Animals are also repelled by the plant's unpleasant scent, as well as dog fennel's acrid taste. Because of the aforementioned traits, farmers sometimes place the perennial near crops to ward off rodents and other farm crop pests. Additional and necessary maintenance is required by the farmer to prevent the plant from spreading.
While the plant's rapid spreading is annoying, benefits reside in the seeds and herbs of dog fennel. People with digestive troubles can take dog fennel supplements to relieve cramping and gas pains. Dog fennel works as a mild muscle relaxant and helps ease the pain brought on by indigestion.
Dog fennel also helps loosen phlegm or mucus in one's air passages. Many recommend crushing a few teaspoons of fennel seed into hot water and making a tea. The tea is said to help clear nasal and bronchial passages and ease symptoms caused by bronchitis.
Help for Burns
Creams made from dog fennel ease the pain associated with burns and other skin wounds. Oils found in dog fennel soothe burnt and irritated skin. Dog fennel is also helpful in the control of acne and swelling from bug bites and stings.
Dog fennel produces beneficial effects by relaxing the brain. Whether taken in supplement or herbal form, dog fennel relaxes the mind. Many use the perennial as a mild sedative to ease the effects of depression or anxiety. As an herbal tea, dog fennel is also a simple cure for insomnia. However, experts state that dog fennel or chamomile works best when taken for longer periods. A few small doses every day or a few cups of chamomile tea are recommended to experience the full benefits of dog fennel.