F section:

Fava bean, Vicia faba
Fennel, Foeniculum vulgare L.
Feverfew, Tanacetum parthenium L.
Fenugreek, Trigonella foenum-graecum L.
Flax, Linseed, Linum usitatissimum L.
Foxglove, Digitalis purpurea L.
Fumitory, Fumaria officinalis


Foeniculum vulgare L.


Uses: We like to saute stalks. Bronze fennel is beautiful in the garden and comes up every year. It gives and gives, a must have. (Photo, more)

Food: sauces, salads, Italian dishes, put on pizza, roasted seeds after meals as digestive aid, especially after spicy meals (Ayurveda). Cook it with oily fish such as salmon mackerel for different taste. We grow

Medicine: Leaves and seed relax parasympathetic nervous system of gut.

Mildly bacteriacidal (anti-microbial). Mild estrogenic effect. Oil used as fungicide to protect foods. Seeds have been decocted (simmered) in water as a lactagogue. Tincture of the seed used for diarrhea control and cramps. Diuretic leaves and seed, root. Roots purgative (cathartic).

-Thins and expels disease laden mucus.

-Synergistic with other herbs.

Chemistry: Seed: 60%+- petroselenic acid, tocopherols (high in gamma-tocotrienol), anethole, anisic acid, limonene, trigonelline, camphene, fenchone....(6)

Wildlife/Veterinarian: Fennel seeds may be hazardous as food for birds.

WARNING: Do not use fennel oil as it is too strong and may respiratory distress and seizures.

GRAS: Edible leaves and seeds.


Tanacetum parthenium L.


Historically used to treat fevers, reduce fever. (photo, more)


Medicine: Modern uses of feverfew include prophylaxis for migraine headaches. Also used in the treatment of arthritis and psoriasis. Both dried and fresh and freeze dried feverfew leaves have been tested as effective. One 1988 double blind, placebo controlled, cross over trial in Nottingham England is was deduced that approximately 2 dried feverfew leaves were prophylactic to and reduced vomiting in many individuals. The severity of migraine headaches that did occur was reduced. Duration of the headaches was not effected.

Chemistry: parthenolide (sesquiterpene lactone) canin, artecanin, santamarin, reynosin May reduces serotonin secretions of platelets and white blood cells. Serotonin (5HT) is a hormone that among numerous activities constricts blood vessels. Parthenolide as a serotonin agonists may improve brain circulation prior to a migraine event, providing therapy and or prophylaxis.

Caution: Chewing fresh feverfew leaves has caused ulceration and inflammation of the oral mucosa, including tongue inflammation. Other frustrations of using fresh leaves are swollen lips and loss of taste.

Preparation: Dry leaves, about two to three leaves per dose.



Trigonella foenum-graecum L.



Food: Use seeds whole, ground or crushed on vegetables as a spice, use with curry dishes. Try sprouting them, great! Cook them with oatmeal and 5 grain cereals. Young leaves in salads and stir fry. Seeds when roasted take on sweet, caramel like flavor. Good on waffles.

Fenugreek seeds may be sprouted. They are a delicious bitters, aiding calcium absorption and improving digestive performance. Soak for 24 hours then rinse daily, ready to eat in four days.

Medicine: HIGH MUCILAGE CONTENT...SOLUBLE FIBER. Reduced blood sugar levels (diabetes) in animal studies. Lowered serum cholesterol and reduced triglycerides. May be a uterine stimulant. Mucilaginous herb relieves sore throats. In Ayurvedic practice the seeds are used primarily (get seeds at good Eastern market). seeds are crushed poulticed on inflammations, swelling, seeds are also crushed and tinctured, decocted, roasted to treat for diarrhea, dysentery, colitis, flatulence, arthritis, rheumatism, chronic coughs. Lactagogue effect from seeds crushed and infused with milk and sugar (Kapoor). Claimed by some as an aphrodisiac. Stimulate appetite. Leaves are diuretic, emollient, astringent, expectorant. Seeds and leaves used to treat abscesses.

Diabetes: Seeds, de-bittered, were given to insulin dependent diabetics. While continuing insulin intake diabetics ate 100gms powdered fenugreek seeds: In 24 hour urinary excretions profiles, diabetics showed 54% less urinary sugar secretion, and total cholesterol and triglyceride levels and levels of LDL were reduced.

Appears to work in type I and type II diabetics (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1990, 44, 301-306)..

Chemistry: trigonelline alkaloid, choline, saponins, mucilage, diosgenin (steroidal sapogenin) in seeds. (1) Seeds contain lactation stimulating chemistry.

Belgian studies suggest root and seeds may relieve arthritis, be anti cancer and antioxidant. Seeds are rich in fiber, mucilage much like guar gum and has similar effects of guar gum lowering cholesterol. Seeds also high in protein (European Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1990, 44, 301-306).



Linum usitatissimum L.


USES: (Photo, more)

Food: I put flax seeds in salads, waffles, pancakes, ground in juice drinks, eat them out of hand, whole  In corn bread, bread...All baking, especially beneficial uncooked or very lightly cooked.  See our Diet for Natural Health video for numerous recipes using flax and the appropriate use of other dietary fats.

TIP:  Grind seeds prior to adding them to juice, cereal and other foods to release oils.

Medicine: One of highest sources of Omega 3 fatty acids (Perilla seeds at your Oriental grocery has slightly more Omega 3). Memory and cognitive mind enhancer. Omega 3's protect us from degenerative diseases. This is an essential fatty acid that we do not typically get enough of. The ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 in the American diet needs to be improved. A higher ration of 3 to 6 may prevent more auto immune and inflammatory diseases. Husk of the seed has lignins and phenolics that provide extra protection from heart disease and cancer.

Approved by Commission E of Germany for treating inflammations of the skin and constipation.

Chemistry: health protecting fiber in form of lignins, bioflavonoids, Omega 3 fatty acids.

Foxglove, digitalis

Digitalis purpurea L.


Description:  Common mountain wildflower along roadsides in Northwest.  Typically, three to five feet. Lance shaped leaves, fuzzy (hairy) in basal rosette.  when without flower stalk looks somewhat like mullein leaves or comfrey leaves, rarely dock leaves (beware these leaves of digitalis are toxic).  Thimble shaped flowers on spike, white to purple.  Flowers in summer of second year. (photo, more).


Ornamental:  Transplants to garden, striking plant, tolerates some shade, prefers sun and well drained soil.

Not edible, toxic.

Medicine: Contains cardiac glycosides source of now synthesized drugs to increase heart thrust and lower venous pressure.  Lowers oxygen requirements of heart and reduces frequency of heart beat.  Used with diuretics to treat congestive heart failure.  Narrow range between therapy and toxicity.  Synthetic preparations preferred under the care of a licensed healthcare practitioner.

Chemistry: Cardiac glycosides: digitoxin, aglycone digitoxigenin...Steroid saponins, Anthraquinones.

CAUTION: Use only after the appropriate diagnosis and under the supervision of a skilled holistic professional.



Fumaria officinalis L.


Medicine:  Fresh flowering plant or dried aerial parts used.  Bitter tasting remedy with diuretic and laxative effect.

Primarily used to treat spasms around the gallbladder and bile ducts including the entire gastrointestinal tract.  In traditional medicine considered a blood purifier. 

Chemistry:  Flavonoids principally: rutin.  Also hydroxycinnamic acid; isoquinoline alkaloids, fumaric acid (considered at one time as a treatment of psoriasis).

Dose:  Two to three grams of the fresh plant to a cup of water.  Expressed juice diluted 1 to 1 and drunk.  Can be mixed with rose water....See Edible Flowers.

Contraindications:  none documented, as with all herbs seek professional health care consultation.