FENNEL [Finiclum vulgare ]


Both the greens and the seeds of this aromatic herb were widely used in the medieval kitchen as ingredients in sweets, salads, sausage, soups, and sauces for fish. Herbalists recommended fennel seed as a treatment for stomach ailments, dropsy, swelling, worms in the ear, and misty vision.

“Fennel hath a wonderful property to mundify our sight and take away the film, or web, that overcasteth and dimmith our eyes.” —Pliny (23–79 AD)

Ophelia gives fennel to the king as an emblematic warning against the self-delusion that can result from flattery.

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