Health Benefits of Anise Essential Oil
The health benefits of Anise Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties like anti epileptic & anti hysteric, anti rheumatic, anti septic, anti spasmodic, aperient, carminative, cordial, decongestant, digestive, expectorant, insecticide, sedative, stimulant and vermifuge.
Since long, anise has been in use as a spice and flavouring agent for food stuffs and beverages. It is also employed to flavour liquors. In India and certain other countries, anise is also used as a mouth freshener and digestive agent. The medicinal properties of this herb were known long ago in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
The Essential Oil of Anise is extracted by steam distillation of dried fruits of anise, or Pimpinella Anisum, as it is known in botanical terminology, which yields a thin and clear oil of which Anethol is the prime constituent, present by about 90 percent in it and is responsible for its characteristic aroma. The other constituents are alpha pinene, anisaldehyde, beta pinene, camphene, linalool, cis & trans-anethol, safrol, and acetoanisol.
Let us see what they knew about anise and what medicinal properties we have discovered so far.
Health benefits of anise essential oil
Anti-epileptic & Anti-hysteric: Since Anise Essential Oil has a narcotic and sedative effect, it can calm down epileptic and hysteric attacks by slowing down circulation, respiration and nervous response, if administered in higher dosages (this is contrary to its stimulating and cordial properties, which are shown when administered in lower dosages). It is found effective in sedating nervous afflictions, hyper reactions and convulsions etc. This property was known and was in since long. But this property should be used with caution as heavy dosages can have adverse effects, particularly in children.
Antirheumatic: This oil can give relief from rheumatic and arthritic pains by stimulating blood circulation and also by reducing sensation of pain in the affected areas.
Antiseptic: This essential oil also has anti septic properties and give wounds an effective protection against infections and septic. This aids faster healing of wounds.
Antispasmodic: The situations or ailments caused by spasm are cramps, coughs, aches, diarrhea, nervous afflictions and convulsions. Spasm is an excessive contraction in the respiratory tracts, muscles, nerves, blood vessels and internal organs resulting in severe coughs, cramps, convulsions, obstructed blood circulations, aches in stomach and chest and other symptoms. The Essential Oil of Anise, being a relaxant and an anti spasmodic in nature, relax these contractions and gives relief from the ailments mentioned above.
Aperient: This oil has mild purgative properties and is safe to use too. Unlike other synthetic or harsh purgatives, it is not hard on stomach and liver and does not leave you exhausted and fatigued. This, taken in low dosages, helps clear motions and cures constipation and resultant flatulence and indigestion etc.
Carminative: Only those who are suffering from gas know what a relief it is to get rid of it. Gas is not funny at all. It is very serious ailment and must be treated in time. It gives rise to indigestion, flatulence, acute chest pain, stomach aches, muscular cramps and pains, rheumatism in the long run, heaviness, hypertension and even problems like hair loss and reduction of eyesight, if it becomes chronic. The Anise Essential Oil promotes removal of gases and being a digestive, it does not let it form too, as indigestion is the cause to gas.
Cordial: The warming effect of this oil on the respiratory and the circulatory system makes it a cordial. This property helps counter cold and deposition of phlegm and problems like rheumatism and arthritis.
Digestive: This property of Anise and the Anise Essential Oil are very commonly used to promote digestion. It has been an old practice to chew Anise seeds or to serve desserts containing Anise or to have a glass of warm water with few drops of Anise Essential Oil in it to aid digestion, especially after a heavy meal or feast.
Expectorant: This oil is really remarkable as an expectorant and this property earned it quite a big share of its reputation. It loosens cough or phlegm deposited in the lungs and respiratory tracts and gives relief from cough, heaviness in the chest, breathing troubles, asthma, bronchitis, congestion and other respiratory disorders. Due to presence of this essential oil in the seeds, the seeds are used for smoking to loosen catarrh or phlegm.
Insecticide: The Essential Oil of Anise is toxic to insects and smaller animals and hence its smell keeps the insects away. Hence this oil can be employed to drive away insects by using it in fumigants, vapourizers, sprays etc.
Sedative: Due to its somewhat narcotic or numbing effects, it is used as a sedative for anxiety, nervous afflictions, depression, anger, stress etc. and also for symptoms such as insomnia due to its tranquilizing and relaxing effects. This effect is particularly visible when it is used in higher dosages, since in very small doses, it acts as a stimulant. But utmost care should be taken while administering it in heavy doses, keeping in view its narcotic effects.
Stimulant: The stimulating property of Anise Essential Oil can benefit us in the following ways. It can stimulate circulation and give relief from rheumatism and arthritis, stimulate secretion of enzymes and hormones and thus the whole metabolism and finally, it can stimulate the nervous system and the brain and can make us more active and alert.
Vermifuge: This is yet another aspect of its insecticidal property. It can kill the worms in the intestines. This property can be particularly beneficial for the children.
Other Benefits: It can be used to treat colic, flatulence, pectoral affections etc.
Few Words of Caution: In heavy dosages, it has narcotic effects and slows down respiration and circulation. It is poisonous to certain small animals and birds and therefore children should not be given heavy dosages. Further, it may cause irritation to certain skin types. Better to avoid in pregnancy. This may also aggravate certain types of cancers caused due to estrogen hormone.
This article was contributed by Aparup Mukherjee