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Pimpinella anisum


Pimpinella anisum  

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Anise, anise seed, aniseed, sweet cumin, anason, anasur, anasu

Original Habitat

The anise plant is native to Egypt and Western Asia, though now it is cultivated throughout the world. It has been used for thousands of years by the Egyptians and the Ancients Greeks. This annual plant has kidney-shaped leaves and white flowers and is self-pollinating. Anise grows to around 50 to 60 centimetres tall and it has a strong licorice-like aroma. It will accept a variety of growing conditions but is rarely found in a truly wild setting. Primary sources for the essential oil are Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, China, Germany and Hungary.[1]

Plant Part Used



The essential oil of Pimpinella anisum is known for its aroma and flavor, is used liqueurs and as a flavouring agent in oral care. It is commonly used in baked goods and beverages. It is rarely used in the perfume and fragrance industry due to its cost.[1]


Anise oil is somewhat thick and will solidify at lower temperatures. It is steam-distilled and clear to pale yellow in colour with an iridescent appearance. It has a strong licorice-like or anathole aroma. Not to be confused with Star Anise oil (Illicium verum L.).

Chemical Constituents

Phenol-methyl -ethyl (> 95%) trans-anethole (92%)
Chavicol methyl-ethyl (3%)
Terpenic alcohol: anisol (2-3%)
Aldehydes, cetones, coumarins [2][3]

Medicinal Uses

The essential oil has traditionally used for lung ailments and breathing and digestive problems. It also has been used to treat many estrogen-related functions, such as milk production, menstruation, and libido.[3]

 Oestrogen-like, galactogenic +++
Facilitates childbirth ++
Carminative, stomachic, appetizer +++
Tonic, digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory stimulant ++
Analgesic, antispasmodic +++

Antifungal: Anise essential oil and extract were tested against different yeast strains including Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. tropicalis, among others. The results showed that both the oil and the extract possessed antifungal activity, although the essential oil had stronger activity.[4] The oil of anise also is affective against certain types of mold, which may be useful as a protective food additive.[5]

Antiviral: This essential oil showed inhibitory effects against aciclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1.[6] An additional study found anise oil to inhibit herpes simplex virus type 2 at 0.016%.[7]

Anti Diuretic: In an animal model, anise oil decreased urine output in mice, which is contradictory to traditional use as a diuretic.[8]

Bronchial Relaxant: Laboratory studies on guinea pig tracheal chains demonstrated that P. anisum essential oil has bronchodilatory effects that are similar to theophylline, and relaxant activity due to inhibitory effects on muscarinic receptors.[9]

 Estrogen-like Activity: P. anisum retains estrogen-like qualities. This is thought to be due to the anethole, dianethole and photoanethole content.[3]

Traditional Use

Amenorrhea, oligomenorrhea, menstrual pains +++
Premenopausal, menopause ++
Digestive problems: aerophagia, flatulence, stomach pains, colitis +++
Cardiovascular and respiratory problems: palpitations, asthma +++

 Insecticide: The essential oil of anise has shown some insecticidal activity, although not as strong as other oils tested.[10] However, a component of this oil, p-anisaldehyde, has shown positive results against house dust mites.[11]

Contraindications and Precautions

Not to be used on infants, children or pregnant mothers.

Results from animal studies have concluded that those with epilepsy or seizure disorders should take caution with anise essential oil.[12]



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]

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  1)  Botanical Info


1.         Lis-Balchan M. Aromatherapy science: a guide for healthcare professionals. London: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

2.         Orav A. Essential oil composition of Pimpinella anisum L. fruits from various European countries. Nat Prod Res. 2008 Feb 15;22(3):227-232.

3.         Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J Ethnopharmacol. 1980 Dec;2(4):337-344.

4.         Kosalec I. Antifungal activity of fluid extract and essential oil from anise fruits (Pimpinella anisum L., Apiaceae). Acta Pharm. 2005 Dec;55(4):377-385.

5.         Elgayyar M. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms. J Food Prot. 2001 Jul;64(7):1019-24.

6.         Koch C. Efficacy of anise oil, dwarf-pine oil and chamomile oil against thymidine-kinase-positive and thymidine-kinase-negative herpesviruses. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008 Nov;60(11):1545-1550.

7.         Koch C. Inhibitory effect of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2. Phytomedicine. 2008 Jan;15(1-2):71-78.

8.         Kreydiyyeh SI. Aniseed oil increases glucose absorption and reduces urine output in the rat. Life Sci. 2003 Dec 19;74(5):663-673.

9.         Boskabady MH. Relaxant effect of Pimpinella anisum on isolated guinea pig tracheal chains and its possible mechanism(s). J Ethnopharmacol. 2001 Jan;74(1):83-88.

10.        Prajapati V. Insecticidal, repellent and oviposition-deterrent activity of selected essential oils against Anopheles stephensi, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. Bioresour Technol. 2005 Nov;96(16):1749-1757.

11.        Lee HS. p-Anisaldehyde: acaricidal component of Pimpinella anisum seed oil against the house dust mites, Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. Planta Med. 2004 Mar;70(3):279-281.

12.        Janahmadi M. The fruit essential oil of Pimpinella anisum L. (Umblliferae) induces neuronal hyperexcitability in snail partly through attenuation of after-hyperpolarization. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008 Dec 8;120(3):360-365.

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