Herbal Profile: Anise Seed |

Herbal Profile: Anise Seed

Sarena-Rae Santos October 16, 2023

What is Anise Seed

Anise seed, not to be confused with star anise, is sometimes referred to as aniseed or its scientific name Pimpinella anisum. Anise seed is a part of the Apiaceae (carrot) family and has been cultivated in Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe for centuries (1). Anise seed comes from a white and wispy annual flower that reaches approximately two feet in height (2). The flower has large, loose clusters of 1-inch leaves and develops small, green seeds that can be used for culinary or herbal preparations (3).

Health Benefits of Anise Seed

Although the entire plant is edible, the seeds are most studied because of their well-documented health benefits, including but not limited to the following:

Rich in Nutrients

Our body needs nutrients to flourish. Without vital vitamins and minerals, our bodies won’t function properly. Anise seed is rich in protein, fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamins A and C, and even has some zinc (4).

Antimicrobial Properties

Studies have found one of anise seed’s active ingredients, anethole, has antimicrobial properties. An antimicrobial property is when a substance, or in this case, an herb, can kill or suppress the spread of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, protozoans, and fungi (5). In vitro, anethole blocked the growth of multidrug-resistant bacteria Vibrio cholerae (6). In another study, anise seed and essential oil had antifungal effects against certain yeasts and dermatophytes in vitro (7).

Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Although inflammation is a natural bodily response, chronic inflammation can lead to detrimental health effects. Chronic inflammation has been linked with many diseases, such as type 2 diabetes, asthma, and certain cancers (8). Thankfully, anise seed may help reduce inflammation. In vitro studies demonstrate anise seed’s ability to reduce inflammation and prevent oxidative damage due to its high antioxidant content (9). In animal studies, anise seed oil reduced swelling and pain in mice (10). In another animal study, anise seed oil demonstrated analgesic effects similar to morphine and aspirin in mice (11).

May Reduce Blood Sugar Levels 

As of 2020, 34.2 million (1 in 10) Americans have diabetes, and another 88 million (1 in 3) Americans have prediabetes (12). On the bright side, anise seed may help lower blood sugar levels. In animal studies, anise seed’s anethole demonstrated anti-diabetic properties in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (13). In another animal study, anethole altered several key enzyme levels, improving pancreas cells’ functionality that produces insulin and helping reduce high blood sugar levels in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats (14).

May Help Manage Stomach Ulcers

Stomach ulcers are open sores that develop on the stomach lining or upper portion of the small intestine due to Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) or long-term use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (15). In animal studies, anise reduced stomach acid secretion and prevented and protected against cell damage and stomach ulcers (16). Additionally, anise significantly decreased symptoms of dyspepsia (indigestion) in postpartum women (17).

May Provide Menopause Symptom Relief 

Menopause transpires when estrogen decreases and is characterized by a point in time 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual cycle. In the years leading to menopause, women may have changes in their monthly cycles, hot flashes, or other uncomfortable symptoms (18). 

Thankfully, anise seed can help reduce menopause symptoms. 

Anise seed can mimic the effects of estrogen, in turn reducing menopause symptoms (19). In human studies, anise seed reduced the severity and frequency of hot flashes by nearly 75% when using 330 mg of anise seed three times a day for four weeks (20). Additionally, animal studies found an essential oil containing one of anise seed’s constituents, anethole, helped protect against osteoporosis (a risk of menopause) and prevented bone loss in rats (21).

May Improve Mental Health

Worldwide, 970 million people struggle with mental health, resulting in approximately 8 million deaths annually, accounting for 14.3% of worldwide deaths (22). Thankfully, anise seed may help. In animal studies, anise seed extract demonstrated antidepressant properties comparable to commonly prescribed antidepressants (23). Another study demonstrated that 200 mg of anise decreased mild to moderate depression symptoms when taken three times a day for four weeks (24). Additionally, the study that found anise significantly decreased dyspepsia symptoms for postpartum women also noted a decrease in postpartum depression (17)

Safety Concerns

According to mainstream sources, like WebMD:

“When taken by mouth: Anise and anise oil are commonly consumed in foods. Anise powder and oil are possibly safe when used as medicine for up to 4 weeks. It’s usually well-tolerated, but it might cause allergic reactions in some people.

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Anise is commonly consumed in foods. But there isn’t enough reliable information to know if anise is safe to use in larger amounts as medicine while pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and stick to food amounts.

Children: Anise is commonly consumed in foods. But there isn’t enough reliable information to know if anise is safe for children to use as medicine.

Allergies: Anise might cause allergic reactions in some people who are allergic to other plants that are similar to anise. Plants that are similar to anise include asparagus, caraway, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel (25).”

Contrarily trusted herbalist Richard Whelan states:

“Aniseed is an extremely safe herb that may be used freely by young and old, in pregnancy and in breastfeeding – in fact, many cultures rate Aniseed as particularly beneficial for nursing mothers at both increasing the flow of milk as well as making it more digestible for the infant. 

Some very preliminary research suggests that Aniseed might have some estrogenic effects so theoretically, the use of large amounts of the herb might interfere with the drug Tamoxifen, or oestrogen drugs or other contraceptive drugs through competition for estrogen receptors. That said, there is no reason to think that normal medicinal levels of Aniseed would pose any difficulties in this area (26).” 

Regarding anise essential oil, trusted aromatherapist Wendy Robbins notes various precautions for those with hypersensitive skin or skin problems. There is mention of inhibiting blood clotting and avoiding it if it’s oxidized, you’re under the age of five, pregnant, breastfeeding, or diagnosed with endometriosis or estrogen-dependent cancers. Additionally, she recommends a dermal maximum of 2.4% (27).

How to Use Anise Seed

You can find anise seed in dried bulk, pills, powders, teas, extracts, or tinctures. Tinctures always contain the most concentrated amount of herbs. Teas and soups are also options, especially when following Ayurvedic medicine recipes. If you’re a DIY person, some great starter recipes are:

Follow the recommendations of any supplement; some of my recommendations include:

  • Earthley’s Black Liver Oil is designed to support your whole body, focusing on liver health and natural detox.  Our livers are our body’s detox organs — they help to filter, break down, and eliminate toxins on their own.  But sometimes they can use a little bit of support!  We combine hemp seed oil, black seed oil, and key herbs to give your liver what it needs to do its job well — and make your whole body healthier!

Disclaimer: This post is not intended as medical advice. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA, and nothing in this post is intended to diagnose, treat, or cure anything. If you have questions, please do your own research or seek advice from a health professional.

If you have anise seed in your natural medicine cabinet, how do you use it?

This is the writings of:

Sarena-Rae Santos
Sarena-Rae Santos' journey to natural health began in 2019 when she swayed away from allopathic medicine after becoming wheelchair-bound due to the side effects of 20+ medications. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) and dizziness due to nystagmus were the sources of her many health complications. Sarena's symptoms diminished after adopting a healthier lifestyle surrounding whole foods and herbs, leaving her a fantastic quality of life and a passion for educating people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!