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Anise

Anise

Botanical Description & Habitat

Pimpinella anisum

Family
Umbelliferae.

Common Names

Anise
Aniseed
Sweet Cumin

Habitat
Occurs wild around the world, but is also cultivated; original from the East.

Medicinal Parts
Seed

Historical Properties & Uses

Anise seed and oil is considered antispasmodic, aromatic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, and tonic: a fairly typical list of uses for an highly aromatic plant.

Anise is used to relieve flatulence and nausea. It is also used to increase digestion, stimulate appetite, inhibit cramping, and relieve the colic of infancy. Anise is what gives licorice a licorice flavor.

Anise also has use for certain female problems. It promotes the onset of menstruation, relieves cramping, and promotes the flow of milk in nursing mothers. Anise is also used as a sedative to cure insomnia.

Aniseed and Star Anise have approval status by the German Commission E for catarrh and dyspepsia.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

The Pharmacology of Anise

The seed contains 2-6% essential oil. Of this, up to 90% can be anethole and estragole (methyl chavicol). The seed also contains 30% of a fatty oil and choline.

Anethole stimulates almost all of the body's glands, making it an exceptional galactagogue.

The relaxant effect on smooth muscles has been substantiated.

The carminative action is produced by making a tea of the seed. Although Anethole's carminative action is less than caraway and fennel, its expectorant effect is much greater than either caraway or fennel:

Carminative: Caraway > fennel > anise
Expectorant: Anise > fennel > caraway

Anise is a Chologogue

The cholagogue action of anise has been found to arise through a direct activation of the vagus nerve which leads to the secretion of bile.

Anise has Expectorant and Carminataive Applications

Anise is found in numerous expectorant and carminative over-the-counter proprietary preparations in Europe.

Anise has Cholinergic Action

Anise has been found to contain choline and acetylcholine, but what role these might play pharmacologically has not been determined.

A related species, p. saxifraga, or burnet saxifrage, contains a volatile oil which is close to anise, but is slightly more expectorant.

The British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recognizes anise as an expectorant, spasmolytic, carminative and parasiticide, for use in the treatment of bronchial catarrh, pertussis, spasmodic cough, flatulent colic, and topically in pediculosis and scabies.

Specific indications include bronchitis and tracheitis with persistent cough. It is also an aromatic adjuvant to prevent tormina from cathartics.

Anise is often combined with mints for treating flatulent colic; with myrrh, colts foot, skunk cabbage and lobelia in bronchitis; with wild cherry in tracheitis. The oil may be combined with oil of sassafras in an ointment base for scabies.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E regarding these specific pharmacological actions:

Antibacterial
Antispasmodic
Expectorant

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Interactions

Aniseed has coumarin constituents and therefore acts as an anticoagulant.

Possible Interactions

The antacid nature of anise may decrease or delay the absorption of nalidixic acid and the sulfonamides.

Due to the spasmolytic nature of anise it may interact in unknown ways with CNS depressants or stimulants.

The cholinergic action of this herb may be antagonized by antihistamines, anticholinergics (atropine), nitrites, nitrates, pentaerythritol tetranitrate and tetraethylammonium chloride.

The cholinergic action of this herb may potentiate depolarizing muscle relaxants like decamethonium. If the interaction is severe, respiratory paralysis may result.

Adrenocortical responsiveness to this herb may be impaired by using amphotericin b.

Comments
To the extent that this herb's action depends on the presence of cholinergic substances, its action will be affected by the decrease in cholinergic-receptor stimulation produced by anticholinergics.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Anise is nontoxic as food or in therapeutic doses. Both anethole and estragole, in huge doses, have been found to be carcinogenic.

Anie and Star Anise have approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Use three times daily

Infusion
Use 0.5-1g of dried fruits

Oil
Use 0.05-0.2ml

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E for catarrh and dyspepsia.

Daily dosages are as follows:

3 g of the herb.
0.3 g essential oil

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Braun, H. & Frohne, D. Heilplanzen-Lexikon Fuer Aerzte und Apotheker. Gustav Fisher Verlag, Stuttgart, New York, 1987.

British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, British Herbal Medicine Association, 1983.

Duke, J.A. CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, CRC Press, Inc., Boca Raton, Florida, 1985.

Haranath, P.S.R.K., M.H. Akther & S.I. Sharif. Acetylcholine and choline in common spices. Phytotherapy Research, 1(2), 91-92, 1987.

Holtmeier, H.J. Taschenbuch der Pathophysioloigie fuer Mediziner und Ernahrungswissenschaftler., Bd. 3825-142, Stuttgart, New York, 1977.

Maruzzella, J. & M. Lichtenstein. The in vitro antibacterial activity of oils. Jrnal of the Am Pharm Assoc. 45, 378-381, 1956.

Maruzella, J.C. & Sicurella, A. Antibacterial activity of essential oils. Journal of the American Pharmaceutical Association, 49(11), 692-694, 1960.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Newall CA, Anderson LA, Pbillipson JD. Herbal Medicines A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996:21,45,63,282.

Reiter, M. & Brandt, W. Relaxant effects on tracheal and ileal smooth muscles of the guinea pig. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 35(1), 408-414, 1985.

Schauenberg, P. & Paris, F. Guide to Medicinal Plants, Keats Publishing, Inc., New Canaan, Connecticut, 1977.

Weiss, R.F. Herbal Medicine. Beaconsfield Publishers, LTD, Beaconsfield, England, 1988.

Essential Oil

See Aniseed Essence under Aromatherapy

 


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