Graceful, feathery aniseed of the umbelliferae family, has a long tradition of use both as a medicinal and a culinary herb.

Aniseed also has a long association with money and finances. For instance during Biblical times, aniseed is said to have been used to pay tithes and taxes in Palestine. While in 1305 it was declared a taxable drug by King Edward and the revenue earned through its import helped repair damages to the London Bridge.

Certainly the ancient Romans took advantage of its known digestive properties by incorporating it in the spice cakes served at the end of a meal!   Ever since Aniseed has been used to address digestive problems.  It has been used as a flavoring agent in Ouzo and other cordial liqueurs, German Spice Cakes, toothpastes, chewing gum and soaps. The Native Americans called aniseed “Tut-te See-hua”, which means, “It expels the wind”.

Aniseed has a reputation for attracting insects and animals. For instance, when there are no flowers to be found, aniseed oil is considered to be one of the quickest ways to attract bees. Apparently applying a little aniseed oil to bee boxes will encourage bees to return from half a mile away or more. It also has a reputation for destroying lice and other insects, and making an excellent bait, with or without cheese, for mousetraps.

Traditionally, Aniseed essential oil with its analgesic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, expectorant, stimulant and stomachic properties, has been used for digestive, respiratory system conditions.  It is  helpful for bronchitis, colds and coughs; as well as colic, cramp, flatulence and indigestion.

The major component of Aniseed is the phenol trans-anethole (75-90%).  Trans-anethole is known to cause dermatitis in some individuals so do use properly diluted and with caution.

In his Materia Medica, Dr. Berkowsky tells us that:
From a Spiritual PhytoEssencing perspective, one of the most important bits of anise history is the fact that it has been widely used traditionally as a bait substance. In this reference, in the 16th century it was a common practice to smear anise oil on mouse traps to lure mice (supposedly they find the scent irresistible) and is also used to scent the artificial rabbit used in greyhound races as dogs love the scent of anise. Foxhounds are similarly trained to follow a scent by saturating a sack with anise oil and then dragging it across the countryside. Another potentially important piece of information is the fact that anise oil is poisonous to pigeons.
The anise type has an unfortunate predilection for “going for the bait.” Thus, he is often disappointed in life by unfulfilled promises, hollow schemes and romantic impulses. The anise type also tries very hard to attain a higher level of spirituality and has an up and down struggle with this quest as well.

In the Fragrant Heavens, Valerie Ann Worwood says:
One night a plant deva dared the aniseed plant to be strong and defiant. It protested, and ever since has assisted those who insist they have no need for prayer and are unbelievers. In defiance of what they know deep inside themselves to be true, they travel life’s highway saying they have no need for a deity, that they believe in nothing. Yet when aniseed is given, perhaps as a medicine to calm the nerves, something else takes place – a puzzlement, a conflict. It can be dismissed, or a step can be taken to examine it further. And if that one small step is taken, then aniseed has completed its task – to make the conscious mind aware, even if protesting, that there is a conductor of the universe, and we are all part of the same orchestration.

Earlier article on Aniseed in the Articles Archive