Part Used: Dried mature seed
Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Umbelliferae family, is an annual herb about 2 ft (0.6 m) tall and a native of the Mediterranean region. It is cultivated extensively in Europe, Asia Minor, India, and parts of South America. Anise, Pimpinella anisum, is a slow-growing annual herb of the parsley family (Apiaceae, formerly Umbelliferae). It is related to other plants prized for their aromatic fruits, commonly called seeds, such as dill, cumin, caraway, and fennel. It is cultivated chiefly for its licorice-flavored fruits, called aniseed. The medicinal properties of Anise come from the chemicals that are present in the fruits. The anethole in Anise helps to relieve gas and settle an upset stomach. The use of Anise to season foods, especially meat and vegetable dishes, in many parts of the world may have originated as a digestive aid. The chemicals creosol and alpha-pinene act as expectorants, loosening mucus and making it easier to cough up. The estrogenic action of Anise is from the chemicals dianethole and photoanethole, which act in a way similar to estrogen. The Anise fruits and the essential oil of Anise contain these chemicals and can be used medicinally. Aniseed can also be used to make an herbal tea which can help relieve physical complaints.
This herb had been used for many centuries. The ancient Greeks, including Hippocrates, prescribed it for coughs. Ancient Romans used Anise in a special cake that concluded their enormous feasts. Historically, the herb was used because of its flavor (licorice flavor), as an aid for digestion, as an aphrodisiac, for colic and to combat nausea. Ancient Chinese physicians used the herb as a digestive aid, flatulence remedy, and breath freshener. Early English herbalists recommended the herb for hiccups, for promoting milk production for nursing mothers, for treatment of water retention, headache, asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera, and even cancer. As a medicinal plant, Anise has been used as an antibacterial, an antimicrobial, an antiseptic, an antispasmodic, a breath freshener, a carminative, a diaphoretic, a digestive aid, a diuretic, an expectorant, a mild estrogenic, a mild muscle relaxant, a parasiticide, a stimulant, and a stomachic. The seed is antiseptic, antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, pectoral, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. It is of great value when taken internally in the treatment of asthma, whooping couch, coughs and pectoral affections as well as digestive disorders such as wind, bloating, colic, nausea and indigestion. Externally it is used to treat infestations of lice, scabies and as a chest rub in cases of bronchial disorders. A strong decoction of the seeds can be applied externally to swollen breasts or to stimulate the flow of milk. The volatile oil in Aniseed provides the basis for its internal use to ease griping, intestinal colic and flatulence. It also has an expectorant and anti-spasmodic action and may be used in bronchitis, in tracheitis where there is persistent irritable coughing, and in whooping cough. Although Anise is generally considered safe, the side effects of its estrogenic property have not been fully studied. Anise oil may induce nausea, vomiting, seizures, and pulmonary edema if it is ingested in sufficient quantities.
Holistic Online. http://www.holisticonline.com/herbal-Med/_Herbs/h5.htm
Plant for a Future. http://www.ibiblio.org/pfaf/cgi-bin/arr_html?Pimpinella+anisum