Anise (Aniseed) is an annual plant that grows to less than one metre in height, with delicate leaves and white flowers. It is an aromatic plant and in Greece and Egypt it is used medicinally. It should not be confused with Star Anise (Illicium Verum).
Action of Anise
This herb contains a potent and volatile oil which is mostly made up of the terpenoid anethole. The oil is carminative, expectorant, oestrogenic and anti-parasitic in action.
Historically anise has been used to treat a number of conditions including:
| Bronchitis – To reduce coughing spasm
| Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
| Dry coughs and breaking up mucous
| Intestinal griping when using potent laxatives
| Painful periods
| Whooping cough
Other Anise Information
Anise is normally available in seed form and can be eaten or crushed, and steeped with boiling water for 15 minutes to make a herbal tea. Whichever method, half a teaspoon is adequate and should be used up to 3 times a day to aid digestive discomfort. For bad breath a special Anise BP Oil is sometimes available. The dose is 0.05-0.2ml. Steam inhalations of anise oil can be used to relieve coughing spasms. Additionally, the oil can be used topically to treat scabies and lice infestation.
Cautions When Using Anise
| The safety of anise during pregnancy and lactation has not been sufficiently studied. Many cultures suggest that breast feeding mothers should take anise to encourage the flow of breast milk, but this has not been proven.
| Anise is generally regarded as very safe, although some sensitive people may experience mild allergic reactions.
| At the time of writing this article no well-known side effects or drug interactions occur from using anise.