Plant family: Apiaceae aka Umbelliferae (Carrot family)
Part used: seed (aka fruit)
Taste: sweet, aromatic
Historical commentary: The herb originated in Egypt. Aside from medicinal applications, its pleasant flavor has been used in making confections and flavoring alcoholic beverages.
Digestive aid: relieves gas and bloating (carminative), improves appetite and alleviates gastric insufficiency and distress (stomachic), promotes the flow of bile (cholagogue; promotes digestion of fats; may help alleviate fullness and constipation).
Phlegm-resolving: used for cough with excessive sputum (e.g., with common cold, bronchitis, chronic sputum production) and for hoarseness due to stickiness of mucus. Note: the isolated essential oil has stronger phlegm-resolving activity than the tea made from the seed.
Antispasmodic: alleviates intestinal cramping.
Galactagogue: increases milk production in nursing mothers.
Modern findings: The herb has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory actions; it has antioxidant activity, promoting the production of glutathione; the oil of the seed is estrogenic.
Dosage: 3 grams; lesser amounts in formulas.
Active constituents: Anethole is the main ingredient (90% or more) of the essential oil, which is deemed responsible for the medicinal effects; this same ingredient is found in fennel seed, which is a close botanical relative having similar therapeutic action, and in star anise, which is botanically unrelated but sometimes used as a substitute for anise. Anethole trithione, a synthetic derivative of anise oil, is used to treat xerostomia (insufficient saliva production); this effect is also obtained to a lesser extent with the herb and its oil.
Cautions: Anethole may cause allergy reactions in some individuals.
Künzle Formulas: Tea for Digestion, Laxative Tea, Slimming Tea.