Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum) is an annual herb belonging to the Umbelliferae Family native to Greece and Egypt and it is now cultivated in India, China, Mexico and Spain.
A colourless to pale yellow essential oil is steam distilled from the seeds and its major components include: Phenols and Phenolic Ethers 94% (isochavibetol, cis-anethole, trans-anethole,(up to 97%) methyl chavicol, myristicin); Alcohols 4% (anisol, linalool, alpha-terpineol); Aldehyde 1.5% (aniseed aldehyde) and small amounts of Sesquiterpenes (y-himachalene, beta-caryophyllene).
Aniseed has been used by the pharmaceutical industry in cough mixtures and lozenges and to mask undesirable flavors in drugs. It has also been used in dentifrice (toothpaste, powders etc), and as a fragrance component in soaps, toothpaste, detergents, cosmetics and perfumes with a maximum use level of 0.25% in perfumes. It is employed in all major food categories.
Aniseed’s warm, spicy-sweet, aroma blends well with bay, cardamom, cedarwood, clove, eucalyptus, fennel, ginger, mandarin, petitgrain, peppermint, rosemary and spearmint. It has analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic and expectorant properties.
Psychologically, aniseed is helpful for anxiety, stress, insomnia and general exhaustion.
On the physiological level it is helpful for digestive complaints including constipation and flatulence. It has also been helpful for respiratory congestion.
Contraindications:. Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing and non-phototoxic. Avoid during pregnancy. Topical use should be avoided by people with hypersensitive, diseased or damaged skin.
Albert Y. Leung & Steven Foster , Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000…2013
Aniseed is covered in the Aromatherapy 201 Course
Blog post on Aniseed Inner Nature
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