Pimpinella anisum common names: pimpinel seed, sweet cumin

Although anise has long been used as a cooking spice, did you know that it has medicinal properties? It first came from Asia but through the seeds, spread across the continents to Europe, North Africa and then to America. It was used as a spice (which were precious and expensive) by the Romans and Egyptians. anise, sweet cumin The seeds are used in cooking, but it is the essential oils distilled from the seeds that have health benefits.

The oils when taken have a secretory effect that stimulates the body to secrete fluids which clears congestion and aids in digestion. The oils are used in chewing gums, cough syrup and toothpaste.

The seeds can be boiled in water for a tea (also called a tisane), the oils are used in aromatherapy and as mentioned the whole seeds are used in cooking.

This is a tall plant with green leaves that are feathery in appearance. It can get as high as 4 fee with white flowers. The fruit is often called the seed and is brownish-green in color. Considered an annual, it has to be grown each year. If you are trying to grow it yourself in the garden, it may require staking to avoid breakage.

The benefits for specific health conditions include the following:

  • Bad breath. The seeds can be chewed, or boil a few teaspoons in 1c. water and use as a mouthwash.
  • Breast feeding difficulty. Has effects similar to estrogen. Increases milk production.
  • Colic. Stops spasmotic flatulance and aids in digestion.
  • Sinusitus. Essential oil in aromatherapy stimulates secretions of lungs and throat. A cough suppressant and decongestant.

Cautions In Use Of Anise

You should avoid this hern if you and allergic or inflammatory condition. Large doses are narcotic-like and can slow circulation. Use this herb in moderation only.

There have been some publications that talk about using the tea as a lactation aid, however it may also be toxic to infants. At the present time I do not recommend that nursing mothers use this herb or its seeds in any form such as tea.

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