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The discovery of aniseed

Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), a plant from the parsley family, has a long history that dates back to ancient times. Originally native to the eastern Mediterranean, it was highly valued by the ancient Egyptians and Romans for its medicinal and culinary properties. It was already known for its healing properties in ancient Greece, and Dioscorides, a famous Greek physician and pharmacologist, documented its use in the first century AD. In the Middle Ages, it was further disseminated by Arab physicians and eventually reached Europe, where it quickly gained popularity.

Dosage forms and dosage

Aniseed can be consumed in a variety of forms. Aniseed oil, which is extracted from the seeds, is a highly concentrated form and should be used in small quantities. Aniseed can be used as a spice in cooking, while aniseed tea is a popular way to enjoy the beneficial properties of the plant.

The recommended dosage varies depending on the intended use. For aniseed tea, one to two teaspoons of crushed seeds are usually poured over hot water and allowed to steep for ten minutes. When taking aniseed oil, one should be very careful and not add more than one to two drops to a glass of water, as it is very strong.

Diseases that aniseed can cure

It has many healing properties. Traditionally, it is used for digestive problems such as flatulence and stomach cramps. It has antispasmodic properties and can help to soothe the digestive system. It is also known for its expectorant properties, i.e. it helps to clear mucus from the lungs and is therefore helpful for coughs and bronchitis.

Other uses include the treatment of insomnia and anxiety, as it has a calming effect on the nervous system. In traditional medicine, it is also used to promote milk production in nursing mothers.

Effect on the body

Aniseed’s healing properties are due to its essential oils, in particular anethole, which makes up the majority of the oil. Anethole has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. It relieves muscle cramps and has a calming effect on the central nervous system.

Recommendations for use and contraindications

Aniseed should be taken when symptoms such as digestive problems, coughing or mild anxiety occur. It can also be used preventively to strengthen the immune system and promote general well-being.

However, it is not recommended for everyone. People with an allergy to umbellifers (such as coriander or caraway) should be careful, as cross-sensitivity is possible. Pregnant women should avoid taking it in large quantities, as its effect on the uterus is not fully understood. People with hormone-dependent diseases such as breast cancer or endometriosis should also be careful, as it may have an estrogen-like effect.

Food supplements and medicinal plants

Certain food supplements and medicinal plants can be combined to enhance the effect of aniseed. Fennel and caraway are excellent food supplements because they have a similar antispasmodic and digestive effect. Ginger can also be helpful because of its anti-inflammatory and antiemetic effect.

Foods with a high aniseed content

It is often used in baked goods such as biscuits and bread. In Mediterranean cuisine, it is a popular seasoning for fish dishes and sauces. It also plays an important role in liqueurs such as ouzo, raki and pastis.

Possible side effects

Although aniseed is generally well tolerated, side effects can occur with excessive consumption. These include skin rashes, nausea and vomiting. In the case of an allergy to aniseed or related plants, more severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing or swelling may occur.

Overdose and its consequences

An overdose, especially in the form of aniseed oil, can cause serious health problems. Symptoms of an overdose include dizziness, impaired consciousness and, in severe cases, seizures. It is therefore important not to exceed the recommended dose and to use it with caution.

Natural medicine and aniseed as a remedy

In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda, aniseed is used as a remedy. It is often used to strengthen qi (vital energy) and harmonize the digestive system. In Western herbal medicine, it is also a popular remedy for digestive and respiratory disorders.


Aniseed is a versatile remedy with a long history and many health benefits. It has a wide range of uses, from relieving digestive complaints to treating coughs and promoting milk production. Its soothing and antispasmodic properties make it a valuable component of natural medicine. As with all medicinal plants, however, it is important to use it responsibly and to adhere to the recommended dosage in order to avoid possible side effects.

Published on: 23. June 2024


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