Anise (botanical name: Pimpinella anisum) is a medicinal and spice plant from the family Hellebore (Apiaceae).
Anise is native to Asia and the south-eastern Mediterranean countries. In Europe, the use of Anise as a medicinal plant has a long tradition. Only the fruits of the anise (so-called anise seeds) are used. Witches recommended dried Anise plants against bad dreams.
Anise – also known as small anise or sweet caraway – is a herbaceous plant about 50 cm high. The white flowers of the anise are arranged in 7- to 15-rayed umbels, the lower leaves are undivided, the middle three-lobed and the upper two- to three-pinnate. Originally Anis probably comes from the Middle East; its cultivation happens today in many other warmer parts of the globe.
Both Dried Anise seeds (grated or crushed) or the fruit oil derived from the essential oils are used in Herbal Medicine nowadays . Otherwise, Anise is used as a flavor carrier in the production of food and drinks: Well-known spirits drinks are made of the Greek Anise brand Ouzo and the French Anise Pernod.
Anise vs Star Anise
Attention: Anise and star anise are two different plants! The Star Anise (also called Chinese Star Anise) is called botanical Illicium verum .
However, Aniseed fruits are easily confused with the fruits of Star Anise: both are not only comparable in terms of ingredients, but also have other similar characteristics – such as the smell. In taste , however, both differ more clearly: While anise tastes sweet and aromatic, leaves star anise a burning spicy taste. Since anise oil is very expensive and is not available in sufficient quantity, food or beverage manufacturers often replace it with the star anise oil.
Anise offered on the market today predominantly comes from targeted cultivation, confusion and contamination with the similar-looking, poisonous hemlock fruits are extremely rare.
The effect of Anise in traditional herbal medicine is due to certain ingredients.The main constituents of Anise include essential oil , which contains up to 95 percent anethole, which is considered a flavor and odor carrier. The essential oil gives the anise its medicinal effect.
The essential oil of the Anise is excreted via the lungs after ingestion and thus acts through the alveoli and bronchi from the inside.
Furthermore, Anise contains, among other things, fatty oil, phenolic acids and flavonoids. essential oil, anethole, isoanethol, ansiketone, anisic acid, acetaldehyde, acetylcholine, azulen, bergapten, boron, camphor, carvone, chamazulen, eugenol, caffeic acid, coumarins, myristicin, salicylates, thymol, umbelliferone, xanthotoxin, vitamin c
The traditional use of anise as a medicinal plant is largely based on its anti-spasmodic, expectorant and antibacterial properties .
For example, Anise may inhibit the growth of various bacteria and fungi known as human pathogens . In addition, aqueous extracts may act as bronchodilators . Accordingly, Anise has traditionally been used as a remedy for mild, spasmodic gastrointestinal (including flatulence ) and upper respiratory tract infections .
In addition, anise often comes as a mucus remedy to help against cold-related cough .
The essential Aniseed oil, diluted with fatty oils or as an ointment, can be used for rubbings. So it helps with breast irritations for cough and abdominal rubs against flatulence and stomach and intestinal spasms.
These uses are based on long traditional experience.
Today, Anise seeds are widely used by pharmaceutical companies due its medicinal properties such as;
- loss of appetite
- epilepsy (supportive)
- throat infections
- insect bites
- stomach cramps
- glandular fever
- difficulty in swallowing
- dry cough
The recommended daily dose is 4 grams for young people aged 12 years and adults. For children under 12, the use of anise is not recommended because there is insufficient scientific data to adequately assess its safety.
- Drink 3 cups daily
- Do not use for more than 2 weeks
How to Use ?
The seeds should be crushed before use, eg with a mortar, as this is the best way to release the active ingredients.
For 1 cup of tea: Pour 1 to 3.5 grams of whole or freshly crushed Anise into 150 ml of boiling water and leave for 10 to 15 minutes.
For inhalation with anise oil take hot water and about 5 drops of aniseed oil, the vapors are inhaled for about 10 minutes.
- Under no circumstances should you use undiluted anise oil internally or bring it into your eyes.
- The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment recommends that spices and herbal teas containing estragole or methyleugenol are not used too often and only in small quantities. The reason: There is evidence that both substances can cause cancer – but so far this has only been discovered in animal experiments. Estragole and methyleugenol also occur only in the essential oil in significant quantities. In teas, the concentration is significantly lower and is therefore currently considered harmless. However, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers should seek advice from a doctor or pharmacist before using Anise.
- Anise essential oils should not be used in the area of the nose and mouth in infants and toddlers, as this may trigger minor respiratory distress .
- People who suffer from asthma , must first consult a doctor as inhalation of essential oils is taboo for them, since this can trigger an asthma attack.