Anise : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Anise : Uses, medicine, Synonyms, Effects, and Side Effects

Anise probably comes from the eastern Mediterranean and western Asia. The plant is mainly cultivated in the Mediterranean, southern Europe, India, and the Middle East. Imports of the drug come from Spain, Egypt and Turkey.

Anise: What is used as a medicine?

The ripe, dried fruits of the plant (Anisi fructus) and the essential oil from the ripe fruits (Anisi aetheroleum) are used as drugs.


Characteristics of the aniseed plant

Anise is an annual plant that grows up to 50 cm tall with variable-looking leaves. The leaves are primarily rounded and undivided near the ground and increasingly severely slit towards the top. The stems are excellent; many small white flowers are in 7-15-rayed double umbels. The fruits are grey-green to grey-brown and about 2 mm in size.

Anise or star anise?

Anise is often confused with star anise. However, this Chinese star anise fruit comes from another plant (Illicium verum). In the food and beverage industry, cheaper star aniseed oil often replaces expensive aniseed oil.


Anise: features of the drug

The main component of the drug is the split fruits, which are often undivided even when ripe. These are grey-green to brown, finely hairy and obround pear-shaped. Anise gives off a very characteristic, spicy smell.

How does anise smell and taste?

The taste of anise is very aromatic and sweet. On the other hand, the taste of star anise is usually perceived as burning and spicy.

Anise – application

Anise: when to use?

Anise is used internally, especially for indigestion. Thanks to its antispasmodic properties, it helps with flatulence or constipation, for example. In combination with other medicines for increased bile secretion (choleretics) and bitter substances, the fruit is traditionally used “to support the stomach function”.

Since anise also has secretion-dissolving effects, it is often used in paediatrics to dissolve mucus in the upper respiratory tract. Anise also helps against inflamed mucous membranes and infections of the upper respiratory tract and has a disinfecting (antiseptic) effect at higher doses.


anise as food

Anise has also found its place in the food industry: here, it is a component of many alcoholic beverages such as Ouzo, Pernod, Pastis, Goldwasser or Sambuca or as a typical aroma in foods.

Use of anise in folk medicine and homoeopathy

Anise was used early in folk medicine as a bloating, sputum, milk-promoting, and expectorant agent. Today, it is known as an agent that promotes the onset of menstrual bleeding (emmenagogue) and even as an agent to increase libido (aphrodisiac).

Applied externally, anise relieves skin irritation and keeps bugs away.

In homoeopathy, anise is used to treat neck pain and lumbago.


ingredients of anise

2-6% of the components of anise are essential oils, mainly trans-anethole, which is the flavour and aroma carrier of the fruit. Other components are anisic acid, flavone and flavonol glycosides, fatty oil, various sugars and small amounts of terpenes.

Anise – for which indication?

Anise is used as a medicine for the following indications:

  • indigestion
  • indigestion
  • mucosal inflammation
  • mucus solution
  • spasm solution

Anise – dosage

Anise: dosage and presentation

Various tea preparations contain anise – often together with other spices such as carawayfennel and peppermint. Aniseed fruits are found in bronchial teas together with thyme herb and linden blossom. In phytopharmacological preparations, anise is often used as a flavour corrector or an active ingredient.

Preparations are available in the form of drops, (effervescent) tablets, pastilles, capsules or ointments.


Anise for external use

Aniseed oil can be inhaled (inhale 3-5 drops of the oil in hot water for about 10-15 minutes) or rubbed in.

External use of aniseed preparations should aim at inhalation of the essential oil.

Average daily dose

Unless otherwise prescribed, an average daily dose of 3 g is recommended for internal use. Preparations with 5-10% essential oil can be used for external use.


Preparation of anise tea

To prepare the tea, pour boiling water over 1-5 g of the freshly crushed fruit (1 teaspoon corresponds to about 3.5 g), leave to stand in a covered glass for 10-15 minutes and then pass through a tea strainer.

Contraindications: When not to take anise?

If you are allergic to aniseed or anethole, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, aniseed should not be taken.

Storage Instructions

The drug should be stored dry and protected from light in glass or tin containers. Because of the percentage of essential oil in the drug, the fruit should not be stored in plastic containers.

Storage in the light and at room temperature can result in the formation of an estrogen (female hormone).

Anise – Synonym


German plant name: Anis

German synonyms of the plant: Small Anise, Sweet Cumin

Latin plant name: Pimpinella anisum L.

Latin synonyms of the plant are Anise vulgaris and Anise vulgare Gärtn.

German drug name: Anis

Latin drug name: Anise fruit

Latin synonyms of the drug: Seed of Anise, Seed of sweet Absinthe

English name: Aniseed, Anise, Common Anise, Pimpinel seed, Sweet Cumin

Plant family Latin: Apiaceae (früher: Umbelliferae)

Plant family German: Umbelliferae/Umbellifers

Anise – effect

effect of anise

Aniseed and aniseed oil have weak antispasmodic (spasmolytic), secretolytic (secretolytic), and antibacterial effects.

The antispasmodic and antibacterial properties are mainly based on the effect of anethole. This stimulates the movement of specific cell structures responsible for cleaning the upper airways (cilia of the epithelial cells).

Anise: side effects and interactions

Occasionally, allergic reactions of the respiratory tract, the skin or the gastrointestinal tract occur when anise is taken. Pure anise oil should never be taken undiluted.

Interactions with other drugs are currently not known.


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