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Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

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Also listed as: Pimpinella anisum
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Interactions
Attribution
Bibliography

Related Terms
  • 4-Ethylbenzaldehyde, 4-(3-methyloxiran-2-yl)phenyl 2-methylbutanoate, 4-(6-methylbicyclo[4.1.0]hept-2-en-7-yl)butan-2-one, 7-(4-(2-propenyl)phenylangelate), 12-(4-(3-methyloxiranyl)phenyltiglate), 17-(4-methoxy-2-(3-methyloxiranyl)phenyl isobutyrate), 18-(4-methoxy-2-(3-methyloxiranyl)phenylangelate), 21-(epoxy pseudoisoeugenol-2-methylbutyrate), acetaldehyde, alpha-himachalene, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, alpha-tocopherols, alpha-zingiberene, aluminum, anace, anason, anethole, aneys, anice, anis (Spanish), anisaldehyde, aniseed (Anisum vulgare), anise oil, anise seed, anisi, anisic acid, Anisi fructus, Anisi vulgaris, anison (Greek), anissame, anisu, anisum (Latin), anisun, anisur, anis vert (French), anisyl alcohol, anny, annyle, anysum (Arabic), Apiaceae (family), apigenin 7-glucoside, ar-curcumene, ascorbic acid, bergapten, beta-bisabolene, beta-D-glucopyranosides, beta-pinene, beta-sitosterol, beta-tocopherols, boron, caffeic acid, calcium, camphene, chlorogenic acid, choline, chromium, cis-pseudoisoeugenyl 2-methylbutyrate, cobalt, copper, coumarins, d-carvone, delta-tocopherols, dianethole, estragole, eugenol, fiber, flavonoids, fructus Anisi (anise), fructus Anisi vulgaris, fruto de anis (Spanish), furfural, gamma-himachalene, graines d'anis (French), hydroquinone, imperatorin, iron, isoorientin, isovitexin, Kolorex®, lead, limonene, linalool, luteolin 7-glucoside, luteolin glycoside, magnesium, manganese, mannitol, methylchavicol, methyl syringate 4-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, molybdenum, mononorsesquiterpenoids, myristicin, neophytadiene, nickel, p-anisaldehyde, p-cresol, phellandrene, phosphorus, photoanethole, Pimpinella anisetum, Pimpinella anisum spp., p-methoxybenzaldehyde, polyacetylenes, potassium, pristane, propenylphenols, pseudoisoeugenols, quercetin 3-glucuronide, rutin, sabene, saunf, sconio, scopoletin, semi d'aniso (Italian), seselin, sesquinorsesquiterpenoids, silicon, simiente de anis (Spanish), sompf, souf, squalene, stigmasterol, sweet Alice, sweet cumin, t-anethole, trans-anethole, trans-pseudoisoeugenyl 2-methylbutyrate, trinorsesquiterpenoids, tut-te-see-hau (native American), umbelliferon, zinc.

Background
  • Anise, a native to the eastern Mediterranean, is one of the oldest known spice plants. It is used for both medicinal purposes and for food. It is a member of the Apiaceae family, which includes carrot, parsley, dill, fennel, coriander, cumin, and caraway.
  • The Greek name anison and the Latin name anisum were derived from the early Arabic name anysum. Evidence suggests that anise was used in Egypt as early as 1500 B.C. The Romans used anise-spiced cakes to aid digestion after heavy meals. The oil of anise, which has a strong licorice flavor, is mixed with wine to form the liqueur anisette. Oil of anise also found in raki, a Turkish alcoholic beverage, and ouzo, a Greek alcoholic beverage.
  • Anise is used as a spice in cooking. Medicinally it is used to promote digestion and to increase urine flow. Anise oil is used in flavoring artificial licorice candies, cough lozenges, and syrups.
  • Anise is used in Europe to aid cancer treatment. In Mexico, Turkey, and China, it is used as a carminative (relieves intestinal gas) and galactagogue (stimulates breast milk production). Elsewhere, it is used to induce abortion and to treat respiratory illnesses, such as asthma, bronchitis, and cough. In combination with other herbs, anise has been used to treat head lice infestation. Anise is recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS).

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


A water extract of a mixture of eight herbs (anise, black seed, caraway, cardamom, chamomile, fennel, licorice, and saffron) has demonstrated beneficial effects in patients with allergic asthma. Further studies on the effect of anise alone are needed before a conclusion may be made.

C


A combination of saffron, celery seed, and anise helped reduce menstrual pain. Additional studies on the effects of anise alone are needed before a conclusion may be made.

C


A combination of coconut oil and anise oil, with or without ylang ylang oil, has been used to treat head lice infestation. Further research on the effect of anise alone is needed before a conclusion may be made.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abortifacient (induces abortion), allergies, andropause/andrenopause (male menopause), anemia, antibacterial, anticonvulsant (antiseizure), antidepressant, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiparasitic, antispasmodic, anxiety, bad breath, breast cancer, bronchitis, bronchodilator, cancer, carminative (relieves intestinal gas), catarrh (inflammation of mucous membrane), cathartic (accelerates ), chemopreventive, childbirth facilitation/induction, chronic diarrhea, colic, common cold, cough, diabetes, diaphoretic (promotes sweating), digestive aid, diuretic (increases urine flow), dyspepsia (stomach upset), erectile dysfunction, epilepsy, estrogenic effects, expectorant (expels phlegm), gas, flavoring, flu, food preservative, fragrance, galactagogue (stimulates breast milk production), gallbladder disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, growth (in pigs), headache, heart disease, infection, hernia, herpes simplex, hiccups, high blood pressure, insecticide, insomnia, kidney problems, laxative, libido, lung cancer, menopausal symptoms, menstrual flow stimulant, mental performance, mosquito repellent, muscle aches, muscle relaxant, osteoporosis prevention, pain, pain relief, psoriasis (chronic skin disease), respiratory disorders, rheumatic disorders, scabies, sedative, sore throat, stomach ulcers, swelling, thrombosis (blood clot), vascular problems, whooping cough.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • For colic, 10-30 grains of bruised, lightly ground or powdered seeds steeped in distilled hot water have been taken by mouth in "wine glassful" doses. Four to 20 drops of anise essential oil on sugar has also been taken by mouth.
  • As a digestive aid, essence of aniseed in hot water has been taken by mouth at bedtime.
  • For respiratory ailments, tea made by steeping anise seeds in hot water has been taken by mouth.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • In general, 0.5-3 cups of anise tea have been taken by mouth daily.
  • For runny nose, half a pint of boiling water poured on 2 teaspoons of bruised anise seed, sweetened and frequently given cold, in doses of 1-3 teaspoons have been taken by mouth.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to anise (Pimpinella anisum), its constituents, or members of the Apiaceae family, including celery, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel. Some toothpastes contain anethole, a constituent of anise, which may cause contact allergy.
  • Anaphylaxis, contact allergy, gastrointestinal symptoms, hives, lip inflammation, loss of taste sensation, night time tongue swelling, rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic nose and eye symptoms), and swelling under the skin have been reported. Occupational contact dermatitis, rhinitis, or asthma have been reported in individuals working with anise or its constituents.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Anise is possibly safe when used as a flavoring agent and in amounts typically found in foods. A nationwide outbreak of Salmonella serotype Agona caused by aniseed-containing herbal tea occurred from October 2002 through July 2003 among infants in Germany. Consumers should adhere strictly to brewing instructions. Some toothpastes contain anethole, a constituent of anise, which may cause contact allergy.
  • Anaphylaxis, contact allergy, gastrointestinal symptoms, hives, lip inflammation, loss of taste sensation, night time tongue swelling, rhinoconjunctivitis (allergic nose and eye symptoms), and swelling under the skin have been reported. Occupational contact dermatitis, rhinitis, and asthma have been reported in individuals working with anise or its constituents.
  • Anise-flavored beverages may cause cardiovascular effects such as cardiorespiratory arrest (sudden stopping of the heart and breathing), high blood pressure, or muscle weakness in all four limbs. Anise may cause sensitivity to light when applied to the surface of the body. Anise or its constituents may cause increased risk of cancer of the esophagus or larynx, antifertility effects, or estrogenic effects.
  • Use cautiously in patients using pentobarbital due to potential interaction.
  • Use cautiously in patients with epilepsy, as the essential oil of anise fruit has induced neuronal hyperexcitability.
  • Use anise-flavored beverages cautiously in patients with hypermineralcorticism (endocrine disorder), due to the possibility of adverse effects.
  • Use cautiously in patients with endometriosis and estrogen-dependent cancers, due to theoretical estrogenic effects.
  • Use cautiously in patients with diabetes, as, in early study, aniseed oil has been shown to increase glucose absorption. Caution is advised when using medications that may lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in patients taking diuretics (agents that increase urine flow), as anise may increase water retention and decrease the effects of the diuretics.
  • Use cautiously in patients using iron salts, as anise may increase iron absorption.
  • Use cautiously in patients using neurological agents, as anise may enhance the absorption of these agents when they are applied to the skin.
  • Use cautiously in patients using drugs that affect GABA, as anise essential oil has reduced the effects of morphine via a mechanism involving GABA.
  • Use cautiously in patients using antiarthritis agents, as anise may enhance absorption of anti-inflammatory agents.
  • Anise may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be changed in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Toxic effects on liver have been reported. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Anise may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in patients with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Anise may cause changes in blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood pressure.
  • Avoid anise-containing beverages in alcoholic patients and in patients taking metronidazole (Flagyl®) or disulfiram (Antabuse®), as many anise beverages contain alcohol.
  • Avoid nonalcoholic anise beverages in alcoholic cirrhotic patients, diabetics, or those with high blood pressure, as many nonalcoholic anise beverages contain licorice root, which has been associated with adverse effects such as hypermineralocorticism or pseudohyperaldosteronism (endocrine conditions), low blood potassium, muscle fiber breakdown, high blood pressure, weakness in all four limbs, and death.
  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Avoid anise-containing beverages in pregnant or breastfeeding women, as many anise beverages contain alcohol. Avoid in pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant, as trans-anethole, a constituent of anise, has shown antifertility effects. Traditionally, anise has been used to induce abortion and to stimulate breast milk flow.
  • Avoid with known allergy or hypersensitivity to anise (Pimpinella anisum), its constituents, or members of the Apiaceae family, including celery, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Avoid in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence. Avoid anise-containing beverages pregnant or breastfeeding women, as many anise beverages contain alcohol. Avoid in pregnant women or those trying to become pregnant, as trans-anethole, a constituent of anise, has demonstrated antifertility effects. Traditionally anise has been used to induce abortion and to stimulate breast milk flow.

Interactions

Interactions with Drugs

  • Anise may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that also increase the risk of bleeding. Examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, antiplatelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Anise may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased or decreased in the blood and may cause increased or decreased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. Patients using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Anise may cause changes in blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking drugs that affect blood pressure.
  • Aniseed oil has been shown to increase glucose absorption in early study. Caution is advised when using medications that may lower blood sugar. Patients taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Many anise containing beverages contain alcohol and may cause nausea or vomiting when taken with metronidazole (Flagyl®) or disulfiram (Antabuse®).
  • Because anise contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.
  • Anise may also interact with agents that increase urine flow (diuretics), alkaloids, antiaging agents, antiarthritis agents, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungals, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, antiprotozoals, antiseizure agents, antispasmodic agents, antivirals, bronchodilators, cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering agents, cholinesterase inhibitors, drugs that affect GABA, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, hormonal agents, immunosuppressants, iron salts, muscle relaxants, neurological agents, or pain relievers.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Anise may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Anise may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high or low in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
  • Anise may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Aniseed oil has been shown to increase glucose absorption in early study. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Because anise contains estrogen-like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.
  • Anise may also interact with adrenal extract, agents that increase urine flow (diuretics), alkaloids, antiaging agents, antiarthritis agents, antibacterials, anticancer agents, antifungals, antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, antioxidants, antiparasitics, antiseizure agents, antispasmodic agents, antivirals, bronchodilators, cajeput oil, cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering agents, fertility herbs and supplements, gastrointestinal herbs and supplements, immunosuppressants, insect repellants, iron-containing foods, iron salts, lemongrass, muscle relaxants, neurological agents, pain relievers, phytoestrogens, or thyme.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Bibliography
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  3. Al Mofleh IA, Alhaider AA, Mossa JS, et al. Aqueous suspension of anise "" protects rats against chemically induced gastric ulcers. World J Gastroenterol 2007;13(7):1112-1118.
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Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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