Pimpinella anisum, Umbelliferae. It is also sometimes called anise. The dried fruits are the part of the plant used.

The ripe fruits are gathered in late summer.

Functions of aniseed


  • is used internally to ease cramping and the pain of intestinal colic and flatulence.
  • also has marked expectorant and anti-spasmodic actions and may be used in respiratory tract conditions such as bronchitis and tracheitis and where there is persistent coughing such as in whooping cough.
  • can be used externally as an oil in ointment to treat scabies. The oil by itself will assist in controlling lice.

Notes on aniseed

  • For flatulence and colic mix with fennel and caraway.
  • For bronchitis it combines well with coltsfoot and white horehound and lobelia.
  • Aniseed tastes sweet with a licorice-like taste.


Decoction: the seeds should be gently crushed before use so they will release their volatile oils. Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1-2 teaspoonsful of the seeds and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. To treat flatulence the tea should be drunk slowly before meals.

For the gardener

Aniseed is an annual that grows to the height of about 2 feet (60 cm). It can be grown from seed that is planted in the spring. It needs a warm soil and at least 120 frost free days to mature. The seeds should be sown where it is going to grow as it has a tap root and doesn't transplant well after it is established.

It prefers full sun and a light well worked soil that has plenty of humus.



Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

Hoffmann, F. and Manning M. 2002, Herbal Medicine and Botanical Medical Fads. The Haworth Press.

Marcin, M. M. 1990, Herbal Teas: Growing Harvesting and Brewing. Collins.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.




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