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Anise

Anise

Uses

Botanical names:
Pimpinella anisum

Parts Used & Where Grown

The seeds of this aromatic plant are used as both medicine and as a cooking spice. Anise comes from Eurasia but is now grown in gardens all over the world.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Breast-Feeding Support
Refer to label instructions
Anise has traditionally been used in some cultures to support breast-feeding, although no research has confirmed its effectiveness.

The safety of using anise during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown, though it is very likely safe and has traditionally been used to support breast-feeding in some cultures.3

1 Star
Bronchitis
Refer to label instructions
Expectorant herbs like anise help loosen bronchial secretions and make mucus easier to eliminate.

Expectorant herbs help loosen bronchial secretions and make elimination of mucus easier. Numerous herbs are traditionally considered expectorants, though most of these have not been proven to have this effect in clinical trials. Anise contains a volatile oil that is high in the chemical constituent anethole and acts as an expectorant.4

1 Star
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
Refer to label instructions
Anise is used traditionally to promote mucus discharge.

Mullein is classified in the herbal literature as both an expectorant, to promote the discharge of mucus, and a demulcent, to soothe and protect mucous membranes. Historically, mullein has been used as a remedy for the respiratory tract, particularly in cases of irritating coughs with bronchial congestion.5 Other herbs commonly used as expectorants in traditional medicine include elecampane , lobelia , yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum), wild cherry bark, gumweed (Grindelia robusta), anise (Pimpinella anisum), and eucalyptus . Animal studies have suggested that some of these herbs increase discharge of mucus.6 However, none have been studied for efficacy in humans.

1 Star
Cough
Refer to label instructions
The active constituents in anise, particularly the terpenoid anethole, give this plant a delightful flavor. As an antispasmodic, it helps in gently relieving spasmodic coughs.

The active constituents in anise (Pimpinella anisum), particularly the terpenoid anethole, give this plant a delightful flavor. As an antispasmodic, it helps in gently relieving spasmodic coughs.7

1 Star
Head Lice (Ylang Ylang)
Refer to label instructions
A combination of anise, ylang ylang, and coconut oils has been shown to be effective against head lice.
A commercial product (HairClean 1-2-3) containing oils of anise, ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), and coconut, plus isopropyl alcohol, applied once per week for 15 minutes followed by rinsing, shampooing, and combing, was 98% effective, according to a preliminary report of a controlled study.8
1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
Refer to label instructions
Anise is a gas-relieving herb that may be helpful in calming an upset stomach.

Carminatives (also called aromatic digestive tonics or aromatic bitters) may be used to relieve symptoms of indigestion, particularly when there is excessive gas. It is believed that carminative agents work, at least in part, by relieving spasms in the intestinal tract.9

There are numerous carminative herbs, including European angelica root (Angelica archangelica), anise , Basil , cardamom, cinnamon , cloves, coriander, dill, ginger , oregano , rosemary , sage , lavender , and thyme .10 Many of these are common kitchen herbs and thus are readily available for making tea to calm an upset stomach. Rosemary is sometimes used to treat indigestion in the elderly by European herbal practitioners.11 The German Commission E monograph suggests a daily intake of 4–6 grams of sage leaf.12 Pennyroyal is no longer recommended for use in people with indigestion, however, due to potential side effects.

1 Star
Parasites
Refer to label instructions
Anise may have modest antiparasitic actions and has been recommended by some practitioners as a treatment for mild intestinal parasite infections.

Anise may have modest antiparasitic actions and has been recommended by some practitioners as a treatment for mild intestinal parasite infections.13

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Anise has been an important flavoring in European cooking since time immemorial. Its oil has also been used as an anthelmintic—a drug used to remove intestinal parasites —though it is not considered the strongest plant in this regard.1 Anise has also been used for centuries in European herbalism to treat coughs and indigestion .2

How It Works

Botanical names:
Pimpinella anisum

How It Works

The active constituents in anise, particularly the terpenoid anethole, are contained in its volatile oil. The volatile oil gives the plant a delightful flavor and has been combined with other less pleasant tasting medicinal herbs to offset their taste. The oil is also antispasmodic, helping to relieve intestinal gas and spasmodic coughs .14 Anise has been combined with cathartic laxatives to help reduce the spasmodic cramping they can cause.15 It may also have modest antiparasitic actions and has been recommended by some practitioners to treat mild intestinal parasite infections.16 Anethole has been documented to have phytoestrogen activity in test tubes and animals;17 the relevance of this to humans is unknown. No clinical trials have been conducted to support any of these uses, though anise is approved for use by the German Commission E for relieving coughs and indigestion.18

How to Use It

Three grams (1/2 tsp) of the seeds can be used three times per day to treat indigestion. To make a tea, boil 2 to 3 grams (1/2 tsp) of crushed seeds in 250 ml (1 cup) of water for ten to fifteen minutes, keeping the pot covered. Three cups of this tea can be drunk per day. It has been recommended to combine approximately 0.5 ml anise volatile oil with 4 oz (120 ml) tincture of anise and then take 10 to 30 drops (1/2 to 1.5 ml) of this mixture three times daily for coughs.19 The volatile oil can also be inhaled (by placing it in a vaporizer or in a steaming bowl of water) to help relieve a cough.20

Interactions

Botanical names:
Pimpinella anisum

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

As of the last update, we found no reported interactions between this supplement and medicines. It is possible that unknown interactions exist. If you take medication, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a new supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.
The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Pimpinella anisum

Side Effects

There are no known adverse effects from anise other than occasional allergic reactions of the skin with topical use and of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract with internal use. It is frequently used to alleviate cough in children because of its gentleness and pleasant taste.21 The safety of using anise during pregnancy and breast-feeding is unknown, though it is very likely safe and has traditionally been used to support breast-feeding in some cultures.22

References

1. Chopra RN, Chandler AC. Anthelmintics and Their Uses in Medical and Veterinary Practice. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins Co, 1928:159.

2. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

3. Bingel AS, Farnsworth NR. Higher plants as potential sources of galactagogues. Econ Med Plant Res 1994;6:1–54 [review].

4. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physicians’ Guide to Herbal Medicine. Berlin: Springer-Verlag, 1998, 159–60.

5. Hoffman D. The Herbal Handbook: A User’s Guide to Medical Herbalism. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 1988, 67.

6. Boyd EM. Expectorants and respiratory tract fluid. Pharmacol Rev 1954;6:521–42 [review].

7. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield,UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

8. Meinking TA. Infestations. Curr Probl Dermatol 1999;11:73–120 [review].

9. Forster HB, Niklas H, Lutz S. Antispasmodic effects of some medicinal plants. Planta Med 1980;40:303–19.

10. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425–6.

11. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield, UK: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1988, 185–6.

12. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 198.

13. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd., 1985, 203–4.

14. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

15. Mills SY. Out of the Earth: The Essential Book of Herbal Medicine. Middlesex, UK: Viking Arkana, 1991:290

16. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

17. Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J Ethnopharm 1980;2:337–44.

18. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998:82–3.

19. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

20. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998:82–3.

21. Weiss RF. Herbal Medicine. Gothenberg, Sweden: Ab Arcanum and Beaconsfield: Beaconsfield Publishers Ltd, 1985:203–4.

22. Bingel AS, Farnsworth NR. Higher plants as potential sources of galactagogues. Econ Med Plant Res 1994;6:1–54 [review].

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