The «bowl of goitered gazelle» – is so poetically translated the Turkmen name of giant fennel «keyik okara». Its large leaves are indeed similar to a vessel and in them water after such infrequent rains in desert keeps well. One plant can keep in its “palms” almost two litres of water. Here this water, ostensibly, come to drink giant fennels, escaping from thirst. But it is a beautiful parable.
Actually goitered gazelles during the season of rains do not need water, and during the droughty period in bowls there is no water. And here camels wish to try the dried up stalks and leaves of giant fennels. For birds the plant’s top serves as an observation post. But its advantage is not in it.
Emerging in early spring the «bowl of goitered gazelle» by May reaches from one to two metres (increase vegetative sprout makes up 17 cm a day) and after formation of fruit it can be used at any time. Widespread almost in all the western region of Turkmenistan giant fennel is used both for medical, and in food purposes. Its raw kind has the delightful taste not similar to one other fruit. And it is most tasty, when you prepare it, having dug in sand.
From lacteal juice of roots of the plant spice is obtained. In the Balkan region dense honey from tubers of giant fennel «chomuch toshap» which preparation makes many efforts, enjoys a great popularity. The taste of «chomuch » depends both on its growth place, and cooking secret, but having tried it, one is convinced that it costs that effort.
After gathering of tubers before application they are necessary for storing in the enamelled, glass or pig-iron capacities that they have not deteriorated. If not to observe all rules it is impossible to receive real «toshap». All remained after squeeze of juice waste goes as forage for cattle.
From giant fennel the most valuable medicinal properties as pitch, gum, and essence are obtained. In national medicine it is used for cough, meteorism, spasms, illnesses of respiratory ways, etc.
For example, if one eats in the morning bread with dense reddish jam (camel milk, boiled with sugar and added in «chomuch toshap») he will be full all the day, and also it helps to get rid of a number of illnesses. Interesting data on miracle properties of giant fennel can be found in scientific work of President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov «Medicinal plants of Turkmenistan».
In ancient Rome giant fennel was so popular that its image was minted on coins. And Germans use till now its root as seasoning to some kinds of sausages for digestion improvement.
Here such unique plant can be seen in the severe Turkmen desert. And after all at first sight also you will not tell that it has a magic power, simply rigid high grass like a big fennel.