Fennel has a long history of herbal use and is a commonly used household remedy, being useful in the treatment of a variety of complaints, especially those of the digestive system[244]. The seeds, leaves and roots can be used, but the seeds are most active medicinally and are the part normally used[4]. An essential oil is often extracted from the fully ripened and dried seed for medicinal use, though it should not be given to pregnant women[4, 238]. The plant is analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactogogue, hallucinogenic, laxative, stimulant and stomachic[4, 7, 9, 21, 147, 165, 176, 192, 238]. An infusion is used in the treatment of indigestion, abdominal distension, stomach pains etc[254]. It helps in the treatment of kidney stones and, when combined with a urinary disinfectant like Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, makes an effective treatment for cystitis[254]. It can also be used as a gargle for sore throats and as an eyewash for sore eyes and conjunctivitis[254]. Fennel is often added to purgatives in order to allay their tendency to cause gripe, and also to improve the flavour[4]. An infusion of the seeds is a safe and effective cure for wind in babies[244]. An infusion of the root is used to treat urinary disorders[238]. An essential oil obtained from the seed is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Normalising'[210]. The essential oil is bactericidal, carminative and stimulant[218]. Some caution is advised, see notes above on toxicity[222]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Foeniculum vulgare for cough, bronchitis, dyspeptic complaints (see [302] for critics of commission E).