|Botanical: Pimpinella anisum
Family: Umbelliferae (carrot) - Apiaceae (parsley)
Other common names: Pimpinel Seed, Sweet Cumin
Try Anise Seed for relief of the pain of indigestion, colic, flatulence and bloating. Since ancient times Anise has been used to loosen phlegm and ease the discomforts of bronchitis, asthma and coughs. It may also help to boost your immune system – and try it for bad breath too!
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Anise is a highly aromatic, sweet, low-growing plant that produces feathery leaves and flowers on stalks that grow from one to two feet. Native to the Mediterranean coasts of west Asia, Anise is widely cultivated in Egypt, Spain and Turkey. It grows wild but has been cultivated for centuries (the cultivated plants grow larger) and is an important addition to many herb gardens. About 1500 B.C., Egyptians grew their native Anise in great quantity to supply food, drink and medicine from its leaves and seeds; and the fields of Tuscany were planted with Anise by the Romans, who developed a special spiced cake, mustaceum, for great feasts, where it was eaten not only as a delicacy but also to prevent indigestion. The cake is said to be the precursor to modern spiced wedding cakes. Ancient Romans also hung Anise plants near their pillows to prevent bad dreams and also used the herb to aid digestion and ward off epileptic attacks. In the ninth century, Charlemagne proclaimed an edict, stating that every herb growing in St. Gall's Monastery be planted on all his royal estates, which helped spread Anise throughout Europe. By the fourteenth century, it was popular in English gardens and became so valued that its import was taxed, providing funds to repair London Bridge. The esteemed English herbalist, botanist and Jesuit Priest, John Gerard, recommended Anise in his Herball as a carminitive to relieve flatulence and as a digestive. Early Colonists carried it to North America, where Shakers grew Anise as a medicinal herb, and it was an important cash crop for them. It was said to enhance and increase breast milk in women and was even added to cattle fodder to increase milk production. Anise Seed is a gray-brown oval seed, and included among its chemical constituents are essential oil (the powerful component, anethole (dianethole and photoanethole), plus furano-coumarins, alpha-pinene, apigenin, bergapten, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, eugenol, vitamins A, C, E, B-1, B-2, B-3, B-5 and B-6, limonene, linalool, myristicin, rutin, scopoletin, squalene, stigmasterol, umbelliferone, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, choline and mucilage.
Anise Seed has long been used as a popular remedy to relieve digestive disorders. It is a tonic for the stomach that helps relieve nausea, abdominal pain, gas pains and spasmodic flatulence. Anise helps prevent the fermentation and production of gas in the stomach and bowel and aids in expelling it. Aromatic Anise helps promote good digestion, improve appetite and alleviate cramps and “griping” (sharp pains and grumbling in the bowels). Herbalists recommend Anise to soothe colicky infants.
Anise is used as an effective expectorant that helps to loosen phlegm in the respiratory tract; it stimulates secretions from linings of the throat and lungs and is particularly appropriate in cases of unproductive cough. It is especially comforting for colds and is also used as a cough suppressant. The herb-spice is also the ingredient in many cough medicines and lozenges. Anise is considered a “secretagogue,” an herb that stimulates the body to secrete fluids and clear out congestion. The alpha-pinene in Anise helps clear mucus from air passages and loosens bronchial secretions. Modern Greeks widely use Anise Seed for asthma and respiratory ailments.
Two chemicals in Anise (dianethole and photoanethole) are chemically similar to the female hormone estrogen, and the mild estrogenic activity of this herb has been said to relieve menopausal symptoms and menstrual discomforts. It is used to promote the onset of menstruation, ease cramps and facilitate childbirth.
Anise has a reputation for increasing the libido in both men and women.
Since the Middle Ages, nursing mothers have used Anise to increase the production of their breast milk.
Anise Seed is considered a fine antiseptic; it helps combat sinusitis and infection. Used externally, its antiseptic qualities have been used to treat scabies and lice.
Anise has been beneficial in reducing bad breath, and it is even used in toothpastes, soaps and mouthwashes.
Sweet-tasting Anise is characterized by its licorice-like flavor and aroma. It has long been used as a spice to flavor food (especially fruit salads, soups and stews), and is also an important ingredient in the manufacture of cordials, liqueurs and perfumes. The delicate licorice taste is often added to improve the flavor of medicines.
Anise has been used to help relieve insomnia, particularly when taken with warm milk.
Avoid Anise Seed Herbal Supplement if you have an allergic or inflammatory skin condition. Anise should not be used when taking iron supplements or blood thinners (Coumadin, Wafarin®, etc.).