Aniseed essential oill is extracted from the seeds of the herb
Pimpinella anisum (also known as P. officinale and vulgare),
of the Umbelliferae family. It has a pungent
liquorice-like smell and is also known as anise and sweet cumin. It should not
be confused with Illicium verum, which is star anise and belongs to the
This warm, spicy essential oil is often used in
aromatherapy to ease the discomfort of introverted and fearful people,
while aiding the digestion, boosting the lungs and easing migraines and
headaches. The oil is of medium viscosity and will solidify at low temperatures and it
may need to be hand-warmed before use.
Aniseed originated from the Middle East and is now cultivated in Europe, USA
and North Africa. It is an annual herb, about 80 cm (2 feet) high with delicate
feathery leaves, tiny white flowers
and grayish-brown seeds.
Aniseed oil was revered by ancient civilizations,
especially by the Romans, Egyptians and Greeks. The
Romans used it in a spicy cake know as 'mustaceus',
the Egyptians used it in bread,
while the Greeks used it for its calming influence on the digestive tract.
Aniseed is used in liqueurs and cordials, toothpastes and mouthwashes.
In India it is used as a breath sweetener and
in Turkey, a popular alcoholic drink called 'raki ' is made from the seeds.
The oil is extracted by steam distillation from the dried ripe fruit and
seeds. The essential oil includes the following chemical compounds;
a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, linalool, cis-anethole, trans-anethole, safrole,
anisaldehyde and acetoanisole.
Aniseed oil is a very potent and the anethole contained in it can cause
dermatitis in some individuals. It is best avoided in
problem skin conditions. In large doses it can also slow down the circulation
and can cause cerebral congestion.
It must be avoided during pregnancy.
The therapeutic properties of aniseed oil are antiseptic, antispasmodic,
carminative, diuretic, expectorant, stimulant, galactagogue, stomachic,
insecticide, laxative and parasiticide.
Aniseed oil can be useful in the treatment of muscular aches and pains,
rheumatism, bronchitis, whooping cough, colic, cramp, flatulence, indigestion,
catarrh and hangovers.
Aniseed oil is not only helpful for its effect on the digestive system, it is
also a general tonic to the circulatory system and the respiratory tract.
It helps to calm the nerves of tense and anxiety ridden people. It also
calms menstrual pains and eases nauseous migraines,
while stimulating the lungs to expel phlegm.
- Burners and vaporizers
- In vapor therapy, aniseed oil is useful for
asthma, colds and all breathing problems, as well as quelling nausea and
- Drops of oil on a handkerchief
- When used on a handkerchief to smell at, it is
useful for settling digestive problems and can also benefit migraine and