Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Other common names: Aniseed, Anisum vulgare, Anisum officinalis

*NOT to be confused with the similar but unrelated herb called star anise.

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Apiaceae (or Umbelliferae)

Actions:

Carminitive, stomachic, appetite stimulant, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anticatarrhal, antitussive, antimicrobial, insecticide, vermifuge, nervine, aphrodisiac, expectorant, decongestant, hormone balancer, emmenagogue.

Harvest:

When the black seeds are visible, hold the plant stem upright and cut just below the flower head. Turn the flower head upside down over a paper towel or bowl, and gently spin until seeds fall. Dry in a well-ventilated area, to ensure no mould growth.

Part used: Seeds

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/User: Steluma

Photo courtesy Flickr Creative Commons/User: Steluma

Constituents:

Pinene, camphene, cis-anethole,  estragole, trans-anethole, linalool, anisaldehyde, safrole, acetoanisole, lipids (including fatty acids), other volatile oils, amyrin, stigmasterol, palmitate, stearate, phenylpropanoid glucosides, myristicin, protein, quercetin and other flavonoid glycosides, and others.

Indications:

Used to treat stomach discomfort, gas, indigestion, poor appetite, nausea, bronchitis, asthma, cramping, psoriasis, excess mucous, colds and flus, coughs (wet or dry) – esp. whooping cough, bacterial and viral infections, all respiratory conditions, parasites (especially head lice and mites), congestion, anxiety, lack of libido, hormone imbalances, constipation, insomnia, menopause and PMS symptoms and other conditions. It can also increase lactation, assist in childbirth (only under the guidance of a qualified midwife or doctor) and promote menstruation.

*May induce labour in higher doses – do not use in pregnancy.

Medicinal preparations:

Internal

anise

Diagram courtesy of Franz Eugen Köhler, Köhler’s Medizinal-Pflanzen

Used in tincture form, capsule form, and also in tea, syrups, lozenges and other internal applications (including culinary).

External

Anise makes an excellent wash for skin, as well as a hair rinse, salve, cream or ointment. Oil may be diluted and used externally, but should never be ingested.

Contraindications:

Use caution when purchasing anise oil or other processed products from overseas, as some are adulterated with harmful chemicals. Do not take the essential oil internally. Anise may cause dermatitis and sensitization in those with an allergy to it.

Do not use during pregnancy. Consult with a doctor before using if nursing, or if taking medications (especially hormone supplements, psychiatric medications, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure medications), or if you have a history of estrogen-sensitive health conditions such as endometriosis, breast, ovarian or uterine cancer, etc.

Anise is known to interact with birth control pills,  tamoxifen (Nolvadex) and hormone replacement drugs such as Premarin.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Traditionally, anise was revered in Egypt, Rome and Greece in particular, for its medicinal and culinary uses. It is steeped into a tea called yansoon, which is administered to nursing mothers in the Middle East.

Anise is associated with the element of air, clairvoyance, psychic development and enhancement of sight (in all meanings of the word), as well as purification. It has been reputed to prevent nightmares when used in dream pillows, and it can protect the home as well. When used as a love charm or wedding herb, anise is known to boost libido and passion.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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