In the hills near where I grew up, the air is filled with the smell of the fennel which grows wild all over. When I would walk with my grandfather, we would pick the tips and rub them between our hands and breathe in the smell. I still pick fennel and smell it when I walk by.
Fennel seeds are used medicinally for ailments of the digestive tract. Most notably to to treat gas, bloating, stomach pain and nausea. Up to five cups of infusion a day can be used according to The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants by Chevallier and one cup of water needs about 1/2 tsp of seeds.
I was lucky enough to find a commercial source of fennel tisane to simplify all the measuring business. Bloated or not… I think that this stuff is delicious, and if you like licorice, you might too!
Teekanne, the company which invented the flow-through tea bag, sells a very tasty boxed fennel tisane which I picked up at a neat shop in Berkeley, CA called The Country Cheese and Coffee Market.
Fennel has a strong taste like anise or licorice and is probably not for everyone, but if you decide to try it, I hope you think it makes a great cuppa!