The health benefits Aniseed Essential Oil is known of As one of the strongest essential oils of all, aniseed should only be used with great care but the results can be incredible.
Aromatic anise seeds, a revered digestive tonic of the Greeks and Romans, are still used in confectionery and as flavoring for alcoholic beverages, especially Pernod and Turkish raki. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the seeds of this perennial herb of the Middle East. It has a rich, pervasively spicy-sweet odor resembling liquorice.
Aniseed is potently therapeutic; warming and enlivening the body, it can be used to invigorate the mind and stimulate the circulation. Its powerful action on the digestive system quells nausea and vomiting and eases indigestion and flatulence. Its expectorant properties are also useful in treating respiratory infections. The potency of aniseed needs to be respected, however. It is recommended for use only when you become more proficient in the art of aromatherapy.
Aniseed is unusual, being low in aldehydes, alcohols and terpenes, but high in phenols and phenolic ethers.
Ethers Anethole Anethole, a phenolic ether, is the principal compound, making up 75-90 per cent of the oil.
Phenols Phenols and phenolic ethers are known as bactericides and they contain potent compounds that help to stimulate the immune and nervous systems.
Warning In large amounts, anethole has narcotic and neurotoxic effects. It can cause circulatory problems and has been linked to dermatitis. Any essential oil with high amounts of phenols should be used in low amounts over short periods of time.
You should be careful when using aniseed oil, but that does not mean you have to avoid it completely. Stick to gentle inhalation techniques to avoid causing damage to sensitive skin.
Aniseed is used to flavor cough lollies and aniseed balls as its flavor is sweet and distinctive. In cough lollies, it is famed for its ability to relieve bronchial complaints.
It is also often used as flavoring in toothpaste, where its antiseptic qualities help flavor the breath and keep teeth clean.
Star anise, an oil extracted from an evergreen tree native to China, India and Vietnam, shares many properties with aniseed. Their aromas are almost identical and they share chemical components including athenole and methychavicol. Consequently, the oils have similar properties and are often used interchangeably. Star anise is less likely to irritate skin, but should still be used with caution and avoided altogether during pregnancy.