ANISE (Pimpinella anisum)
Other names: Aniseed, Anise seed
Anise herb is a spice rather than a herb as such, and is one of the most ancient. It was cultivated by the Egyptians and later by the Greeks and Arabs. Anise was used by the Romans both for medicinal purposes and to flavour rich ceremonial cakes, from which fruit wedding cakes are supposed to have been derived.
The early Arabic name was ‘anysum’ from which was derived the Greek ‘anison’ and the Latin ‘anisum’.
In the Middle Ages, Anise was largely used as a spice as a carminative medicine, and also entered into the composition of several classic aphrodisiac mixtures. Anise herb is a mild expectorant, a carminative, galactagogue, a weak diuretic, a laxative and an anti-spasmodic.
Anise is especially effective in treating flatulence and flatulent colic. Anise improves the appetite by the promotion of gastric secretions, and is excellent for the digestion as it settles an upset stomach and relives flatulence.
Anise stimulates the mammary gland secretions and acts as a cough suppressant. Due to its actions, Anise is used in the treatment of bronchial catarrh. Anise is an effective remedy for hard, dry cough and chest infections. It can be taken in the form of Aniseed tea and can be given to those suffering from catarrh. Anise is also employed in asthma powders.
Anise is often used in combination with other laxatives. Anise oil may be combined satisfactorily with liquorice in cough lozenges, or used alone as an anti-septic. Anise seeds may be chewed to sweeten the breath.
Anise also helps to promote a restful sleep when taken last thing at night.