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Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

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.


  • 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).


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The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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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.

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Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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.

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Author Information

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Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to Selected references are listed below.

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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.