Scientific Name/Common Name: Pimpinella anisum / Anise
Part(s) Used: Seed
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Approximately 1.5-5% essential oil comprising up to 80-90% of a sweet compound called trans-anethole chiefly responsible for the taste and smell. The seeds also contain a fixed oil, organic acids, flavonoids, tannins, and polysaccharides.
Overview: Anise seed is commonly used as a food and spice around the world, especially in India where it is recognized for its healing powers. The seed is often used as a licorice-flavored breath freshener and has been used in this way for thousands of years. Anise has many medicinal virtues and is listed in the German Commission E Monographs for alleviating digestive complaints and for dissolving phlegm and catarrh of the respiratory tract. The German Pharmacopoeia also recognizes anise seed as a source of essential oils and bitters that can effectively treat mild stomach cramps, flatulence, and colicky symptoms in the intestinal tract, especially for nursing babies and infants. The seed is recommended as a taste enhancer and can counteract the mild cramps accompanying the use of laxatives. The tea is also used to stimulate breast milk production and ease breastfeeding difficulties.
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: As an expectorant for cough and congestion; as a carminative to aid digestion, gas, and bloating; as an antispasmodic for use with laxative herbs.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World’s Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 80-81; 96; 113; 168-169; 180; 232; 350; 492. Rodale Press.
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Anisi fructus – Aniseed (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 73-75.
Picon PD, et al.Randomized clinical trial of a phytotherapic compound containing Pimpinella anisum, Foeniculum vulgare, Sambucus nigra, and Cassia augustifolia for chronic constipation. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2010 Apr 30;10:17.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.