Anise is a perennial plant that belongs to the parsley family. Its botanical name is Pimpinella anisum. Anise has similar properties as cumin, dill, fennel and caraway. The anise plant produces anise seeds, which are small greyish brown, oval shaped seeds. It’s often confused with the Chinese plant called star anise, though this is a different herb. 1,2
Anise is native to the Mediterranean, Egypt, and parts of Asia. The Romans used anise for medicinal purposes and eventually introduced the plant to Europe. European settlers then brought anise to North America where it continues to be used as an ingredient in cooking and also for health uses. 1,2
Extracts from anise seeds are used to make anise oil, which is also used for cooking and for medicinal uses. Anise has a sweet taste and a distinct aroma. It’s used often to create an herbal anise tea, which is another traditional household remedy. 1,2
Anise Health Uses and Health Benefits
Anise health benefits come from its natural content of anethol. Anethol has a number of benefits including being an antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and stimulant. Anethol is also a natural expectorant, which is why anise for cough and cold is a popular remedy. 2
Anise health benefits also include helping to fight against infections such as staph, strep throat and other viruses. As a natural antifungal, anise can also help combat candidiasis.2
Other anise health benefits include:
- Helping soothe muscle cramps and spasms
- Stopping and preventing diarrhea
- Relieving indigestion
- Improving respiratory conditions, including asthma
Anise uses for treating and preventing conditions include:
- Emphysema - Anise is a natural expectorant which can help improve breathing and treat respiratory illnesses like emphysema.
- Laryngitis - As a natural expectorant, anise can help improve laryngitis. Using anise for coughing can help to prevent laryngitis.
- Post-nasal Drip - Anise can help stop post-nasal drip that is caused by an upper respiratory tract infection.
- Vomiting - Anise health benefits include being a natural remedy to stop vomiting.
- Chronic Mucus - Anise acts as a natural decongestant which can help to stop chronic mucus and mucus buildup.
Anise Side Effects and Precautions
Anise side effects can occur in those with allergies to anise plants and their relatives. These anise side effects can include swollen mouth and lips, nausea, vomiting and skin irritation. 2