Essential Oils

Earth-Essences

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Aniseed essential Oil

Pimpinella Anisum

Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)

Synonyms: Anisum Officinalis, A. vulgare, anise, sweet cumin.

General Description: An annual herb, less than a metre high, with delicate leaves and white flowers.
Distribution: Native to Greece and Egypt, now widely cultivated mainly in India and China and to a lesser extent in Mexico and Spain.

Other Species:
There are several different chemotypes of aniseed according to the country of origin. Not to be confused with star anise, which belongs to a different family altogether.

Herbal/Folk Tradition
Widely used as a domestic spice. The volatile oil content provides the basis for its medicinal applications: dry irritable coughs, bronchitis and whooping cough. The seed can be used in smoking mixtures. Aniseed tea is used for infant catarrh, also flatulence, colic and griping pains, also for painful periods and to promote breast milk. In turkey a popular alocholic drink, raki, is made from the seed.

Actions: Antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, stimulant, stomachic. 

Extraction: Essential oil by steam distillation from the seeds.

Characteristics: Colourless to pale yellow liquid with a warm, spicy-sweet characteristic scent. like star anise, its a good masking agent.

Principal Constituents:Tran-anethole (75-90 per cent).

Safety Data: Its major component, anethole is known to cause dermatitis in some individuals-avoid in allergic and inflammatory skin conditions. In Large doses it is narcotic and slows down the circulation: can lead to cerebral disorders. Use in moderation only.

Aromatherapy/Home Use: See Star Anise

Other Uses:
By the pharmaceutical industry in cough mixtures and lozenges and to mask undesirable flavours in drugs. Also used in dentifrices and as a fragrance component in soaps, toothpaste, detergents,  cosmetics and perfumes, mostly of the industrial type. Employed in all major food categories.

Reference: The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils:Julia lawless

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