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Anise oil has a licorice-flavored taste that offers body-wide benefits that were used by many ancient civilizations. Many of today’s pharmaceuticals take advantage of anise’s benefits by adding this herb to some drugs, like cough syrup and throat medications. These drugs are neither all natural nor safe according to pharmaceuticals. It needs to be used in its natural form for maximum benefits, or as anise oil.
The anise essential oil originally came from Asia and is prevalent in Mediterranean nations. Spain, France and Russia also produce it as well as being found in the wild of other countries. The Romans originally introduced anise to Europe and early settlers brought it to North America. One primary use was to promote digestive health and was often added with cumin and fennel in ancient Rome to a cake that was eaten after meals. The Egyptians used the herb as an ingredient in breads. There are many uses for anise oil that range from cooking to flavorings to medications.
Some uses of anise oil include:
- Narcotic and sedative as easing epileptic and hysteric episodes
- Pain reliever for relief of arthritic pain
- Antiseptic to clean wounds and help protect against infections
- Decongestant/expectorant to help eliminate congestion in the respiratory tract
- Flavoring agent for food and beverages and as an ingredient in salads and soups
- Food processing in meats like pepperoni, pizza toppings, Italian sausage and
similar food products
- Breast milk production as it has phytoestrogenic properties
- Libido enhancer as a sex drive enhancer and as an aphrodisiac (in ancient times)
- Natural head lice remover as a safer alternative to chemical lice treatments
- Insecticide as it is toxic to insects
- For oral health when added to toothpastes, mouthwashes and syrups
- Fragrance when added to soaps, detergents, lotions and skin cream
Anise oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, stimulant and expectorant properties and is added to medicines, such as cough syrups and lozenges. The antibacterial properties of this oil are useful against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus, pyogenes, Escherichia coli and Corynebacterium ovis. It is useful against Candida albicans and fungal strains like Alternaria, Aspergilus, Cladosporium, Fusarium and Penicillin. Relieving indigestion, flatulence and acute chest pains are also benefits of anise oil as well as spasms, cramps, diarrhea, convulsions, muscle pain, acute chest pain and will also aid in promoting the elimination of excess gas in the digestive system. The oil will help to loosen mucus or phlegm and help ease breathing troubles as asthma and other respiratory issues.
Five drops of anise oil mixed with 1 tablespoon of almond oil that is massaged onto your stomach will relieve stomach cramps, mixing 1 to 2 drops with warm water to gargle with will freshen breath, using 2 to 3 drops in a diffuser helps respiratory conditions, a couple drops in a carrier oil and massaged in the affected area will ease menstrual pain. Anise oil will also help treat hiccups and treat nausea, migraine and vertigo.
Anise oil is deemed generally safe for human consumption and does not pose a threat when it is consumed or used in moderation. In heavy doses it can aggravate certain type of cancers. Pregnant and nursing women may benefit from its use. Avoid administering the oil directly on the delicate skin of infants and young children. Any side effect might be an allergic reaction, mouth or lip inflammation or nausea, vomiting or seizures. If any of these occur, call your doctor immediately.
Dr Fredda Branyon