Anise is a dainty, white-flowered annual that is indigenous to the eastern Mediterranean countries. Its liquorice flavour is well known to lovers of the alcoholic drinks ouzo, absinthe, pastis, pernod and sambuca. The spice was popular with the Ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it to sweeten breath, relieve gas and colic and help get rid of phlegm. Despite its similar name, anise is not related to star anise, which is another spice from a different plant family.
The ripe, dried fruits and the essential oils that are distilled from them.
Anise fruit yields up to five percent essential oil, which is fragrant and syrupy. Trans-anethole, a phyto-oestrogen, is the principal constituent. Other ingredients are estragole, anise ketone, anisaldehyde and anisic acid.
Modern research confirms anethole’s expectorant, antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties. The German Commission E approves Pimpinella anisum for cough and bronchitis, fevers and colds, common cold, inflammation of the mouth and pharynx, dyspepsia and loss of appetite. The essential oil is also used to flavour toothpaste and is commonly included in cough remedies, such as Flora Force Herbal Cough Mix™
Anise is prescribed:
- As an antispasmodic to treat colic, flatulence, digestive complaints and bloating.
- To treat catarrh in the respiratory tract in cases of flu, colds, phlegmy coughs and bronchitis.
- As a possible appetite stimulant.
- May ease menstrual cramps.