Aniseed essential oil 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 Illiciaceae family.
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 vomiting.
- 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 vertigo sufferers.
More information about Aniseed
Skin Care ~ antiseptic properties ~ give wounds an effective protective layer against infections & sepsis ~ aids in the faster healing of wounds.
Digestive System ~ excellent for the relieve dyspepsia, colic and flatulence, eases nausea, vomiting & hangovers
Insecticide ~ keeps insects away
Musculaskeletal System ~ eases muscular aches & pains, rheumatism & arthritis
Nervous System ~ has sedative properties ~ helps anxiety, tension, depression, anger, stress & insomnia ~ calms the nerves ~ eases migraines & headaches ~ can also stimulate the nervous system & the brain
Reproductive System ~ may be used to increase the milk flow of nursing mothers & may help stimulate menstruation & calms menstrual pain
Respiratory System ~ excellent for any asthmatic or respiratory conditions ~ clearing congestion in the lungs ~ colds, coughing, wheezing, whooping cough, bronchitis, colic & breathing problems ~ stimulates lungs to expel phlegm
Emotional ~ Spiritual ~ warming and drying, is ideally suited as a tonic for those suffering from overwork, chronic illness & weak constitution, the warm spicy aroma has an uplifting & comforting effect on the mind, it is good for introverted, melancholic or fearful people who tend to be withdrawn or frigid
Blends Well With ~ Bay, Caraway, Cardamon, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Coriander, Eucalyptus, Dill, Fennel, Ginger, Gingergrass, Mandarin, Orange, Petitgrain, Peppermint, Rosemary, Rosewood, Spearmint, Tangerine
Safety ~ non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitising ~ avoid during pregnancy & certain types of cancers caused due to its effect on the estrogen hormone