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Health Effects of Anise Seed: Breaking It Down

Published July 07, 2019 Read Time: 3 minutes
Kate Sullivan

Written By: Kate Sullivan, MS

Kate holds a MS in Business Psychology and is currently a PHD researcher in Well-Being and Performance Psychology.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"Health Effects of Anise Seed: Breaking It Down", "datePublished":"July 07, 2019", "description":"Anise, a licorice-flavored spice, with many health benefits. We share a few reasons why you might consider adding it to your diet.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/06/anise-seeds-thumbnail-0203.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What is Anise Good For?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">Does Anise Have Side Effects?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">How To Use Anise</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">Wrapping It Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>Love trying flavors and spices from different cultures? Have you ever tried anise? Anise, also called <i>Pimpinella anisum</i> or sweet cumin, is a licorice-flavored seed used in the cuisine of Mexico, Italy, and the Middle East. Possibly you’ve seen the Chinese star anise before. That brown-colored spice looks just like a star, but anise seed is different—although it has a similar flavor. It comes from the same family of plants as parsley, celery, and carrots. With its signature strong scent, anise often lends a licorice-flavor to candy, liquor, biscotti, sausage, and other dishes. It’s a great way to add a new flavor to your food and pack a punch of health benefits!</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section1"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What is Anise Good For?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Used for centuries for its medicinal properties, anise seed treats a wide range of symptoms. It soothes digestive problems, asthma, bronchitis, pain, hormones, and childbirth. You can even use it for bad breath.1 Pretty wide array of benefits, right?"}}]}</script> <h2>What is Anise Good For?</h2> <p>Used for centuries for its medicinal properties, anise seed treats a wide range of symptoms. It soothes digestive problems, asthma, bronchitis, pain, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-amazing-benefits-of-pine-pollen/" rel="noreferrer">hormones</a>, and childbirth. You can even use it for bad breath.<sup>1</sup> Pretty wide array of benefits, right?</p> <p>Research has discovered many possible health benefits of anise seed. Here are six of the health benefits of anise seed:</p> <h3>1. High in Iron</h3> <p>One tablespoon provides 2.5 mg of iron, meeting approximately 25% of men’s daily needs and 14% of women’s needs.<sup>2</sup></p> <h3>2. Antibacterial Properties</h3> <p>Anise may be able to block the growth of certain types of bacteria and fungi, preventing infections.<sup>3</sup> </p> <h3>3. May Help Improve Symptoms of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/top-10-foods-for-fighting-depression/" rel="noreferrer">Depression</a> </h3> <p>Three grams of anise seeds after meals three times a day may improve symptoms of postpartum depression, a study found.<sup>4</sup></p> <h3>4. Relieving Menopause or Menstrual Discomfort</h3> <p>Studies have shown anise may mimic the effects of estrogen, relieving symptoms of menopause and PMS. One found anise seeds were able to reduce hot flashes by 75%.<sup>5</sup> Another found that anise, celery seed, and saffron were able to relieve menstrual pain.<sup>6</sup></p> <h3>5. Can Help Lower <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-best-supplements-to-fight-inflammation" rel="noreferrer">Inflammation</a></h3> <p>Anise oil may help reduce swelling and pain. It is high in antioxidants and other anti-inflammatory compounds.<sup>7</sup></p> <h3>6. May Help Regulate Blood Sugar</h3> <p>The active compound in anise is anethole. Preliminary research has found that it may prevent high blood sugar by changing how the body uses carbohydrates. Further research is needed for how anise can help with <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-keto-diet-and-diabetes/" rel="noreferrer">blood sugar control</a>.<sup>8</sup> </p> <p>As you can see, anise seed has many potential health benefits from being an anti-inflammatory to blood sugar control: all in one <i>tiny</i> seed.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/seeds-in-different-dishes-0203.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/seeds-in-different-dishes-0203.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/seeds-in-different-dishes-0203.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/seeds-in-different-dishes-LR-0203.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="seeds-in-different-dishes"> </picture> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Does Anise Have Side Effects?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Anise does have some side effects. In very high doses it has been known to possibly cause complications during pregnancy and reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills.\n\nAnise seed can cause allergic reactions for those with allergies to plants in the same family. So consult your doctor if you are allergic to celery, carrots, or parsley.\n\nFor most people, using anise in normal quantities in food does not increase the risk of any significant health side effects."}}]}</script> <h2 id="section2">Does Anise Have Side Effects?</h2> <p>Anise does have some side effects. In very high doses it has been known to possibly cause complications during pregnancy and reduce the effectiveness of birth control pills. </p> <p>Anise seed can cause allergic reactions for those with allergies to plants in the same family. So consult your doctor if you are allergic to celery, carrots, or parsley. </p> <p>For most people, using anise in normal quantities in food does not increase the risk of any significant health side effects. </p> <h3>Does Anise Increase Estrogen?</h3> <p>There is some concern over the ability of anise to act like estrogen, increasing levels in the body. In high doses, it might worsen some hormone-sensitive conditions like endometriosis and breast cancer. Research is still evaluating the impact of anise on estrogen-dominant conditions and what dosage might be dangerous.<sup>9</sup></p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/wooden-spoons-with-seeds-in-it-0203.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/wooden-spoons-with-seeds-in-it-0203.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/wooden-spoons-with-seeds-in-it-0203.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/wooden-spoons-with-seeds-in-it-LR-0203.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="wooden-spoons-with-seeds"> </picture> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"How To Use Anise","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Ready to get started using anise in your food and getting all the health benefits? You can use anise as a spice to flavor food. You can add it to dishes either ground or whole. Anise seed is not the same as the Chinese star anise (as we mentioned before). It’s a bit more versatile as it does not need to be ground.\n\nYou can find it in most grocery stores in the spice aisle. You may also be able to find it as an essential oil or an extract. The oil is more concentrated than the extract form, but both are great for cooking. Add anise seeds to baked goods or various Middle Eastern, Mexican, or Italian dishes for authentic flavors.\n\nAnise extract is commonly used in various cultures to flavor coffee or tea. To make your own, add some to a tea bag and steep to make a post-meal digestive tea. Or you can even eat the seeds whole after a meal to help with digestion."}}]}</script> <h2 id="section3">How To Use Anise</h2> <p>Ready to get started using anise in your food and getting all the health benefits? You can use anise as a <i>spice</i> to flavor food. You can add it to dishes either ground or whole. Anise seed is not the same as the Chinese star anise (as we mentioned before). It’s a bit more versatile as it does not need to be ground. </p> <p>You can find it in most grocery stores in the spice aisle. You may also be able to find it as an <i>essential oil</i> or an <i>extract</i>. The oil is more concentrated than the extract form, but both are great for cooking. Add anise seeds to baked goods or various Middle Eastern, Mexican, or Italian dishes for authentic flavors. </p> <p>Anise extract is commonly used in various cultures to flavor coffee or tea. To make your own, add some to a tea bag and steep to make a post-meal digestive tea. Or you can even eat the seeds whole after a meal to help with digestion.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section4"> <h2>Wrapping It Up</h2> <p>Ready to experiment with exciting new flavors? Anise is your answer for this summer’s dinner parties. Since it tastes like licorice, make sure your guests are excited about some exotic new flavors. Anise is the flavorful <i>and</i> healthy spice to add to your favorite cultural dishes--so what are you waiting for? Get cookin’! </p> <h3>Resources</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-582/anise" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Anise</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/02002?fgcd=&manu=&format=&count=&max=25&offset=&sort=default&order=asc&qlookup=anise+seed&ds=&qt=&qp=&qa=&qn=&q=&ing=" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Basic Report: 02002, Spices, anise seed</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16375827" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Antifungal activity of fluid extract and essential oil from anise fruits</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4354059/" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Pimpinella anisum in the treatment of functional dyspepsia</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15368661" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Estrogenic activity of isolated compounds and essential oils of Pimpinella</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.semanticscholar.org/paper/The-effect-of-an-Iranian-herbal-drug-on-primary-a-Nahid-Fariborz/6cf436a4dae0704ef70f8be52cdcc9e795c89f3e" rel="nofollow noreferrer">The effect of an Iranian herbal drug on primary dysmenorrhea</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.researchgate.net/publication/236232426_Evaluation_of_analgesic_and_antiinflammatory_activity_of_Pimpinella_anisum_fixed_oil_extract" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Evaluation of analgesic and antiinflammatory activity of Pimpinella anisum</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25708856" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Trans-anethole, a terpenoid ameliorates hyperglycemia</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/6999244" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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