Anise is an herb. The seed (fruit) and oil, and less frequently the root and leaf, are used to make medicine.
Anise is used for upset stomach, intestinal gas, “runny nose,” and as an expectorant to increase productive cough, as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and as an appetite stimulant. Women use anise to increase milk flow when nursing, start menstruation, treat menstrual discomfort or pain, ease childbirth. Men use anise to treat symptoms of “male menopause.” Other uses include treatment of seizures, nicotine dependence, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, and constipation.
Some people apply anise directly to the skin to treat lice, scabies, and psoriasis.
In foods, anise is used as a flavoring agent. It has a sweet, aromatic taste that resembles the taste of black licorice. It is commonly used in alcohols and liqueurs, such as anisette and ouzo. Anise is also used in dairy products, gelatins, meats, candies, and breath fresheners.
In manufacturing, anise is often used as a fragrance in soap, creams, perfumes, and sachets.
How does it work?
There are chemicals in anise that may have estrogen-like effects. Chemicals in anise may also act as insecticides.
Possibly Effective for:
Menstrual discomfort. Some clinical research shows that taking a specific product containing anise, saffron, and celery seed (SCA, Gol Daro Herbal Medicine Laboratory) reduces pain severity and duration during the menstrual cycle.
Insufficient Evidence for:
Increasing breast milk.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of anise for these uses.
Anise is safe for most people including children in the amounts typically found in foods. It also appears to be safe when applied to the scalp in combination with other herbs. There isn't enough information available to know if anise is safe to take by mouth in medicinal amounts.
Hormone-sensitive condition such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids: Anise might act like estrogen. If you have any condition that might be made worse by exposure to estrogen, don’t use anise.
Some birth control pills include ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel (Triphasil), ethinyl estradiol and norethindrone (Ortho-Novum 1/35, Ortho-Novum 7/7/7), and others.
Estrogens interacts with ANISE
Large amounts of anise might have some of the same effects as estrogen. But large amounts of anise aren't as strong as estrogen pills. Taking anise along with estrogen pills might decrease the effects of estrogen pills.
Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.
Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) interacts with ANISE
Some types of cancer are affected by hormones in the body. Estrogen-sensitive cancers are cancers that are affected by estrogen levels in the body. Tamoxifen (Nolvadex) is used to help treat and prevent these types of cancer. Anise seems to also affect estrogen levels in the body. By affecting estrogen in the body, anise might decrease the effectiveness of tamoxifen (Nolvadex). Do not take anise if you are taking tamoxifen (Nolvadex).
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