Anise is an herb. The seed (fruit) and oil, and less frequently the root and leaf, are used to make medicine.
Anise is used for upset stomach, intestinal gas, “runny nose,” and as an expectorant to increase productive cough, as a diuretic to increase urine flow, and as an appetite stimulant. Women use anise to increase milk flow when nursing, start menstruation, treat menstrual discomfort or pain, ease childbirth, and increase sex drive. Men use anise to treat symptoms of “male menopause.” Other uses include treatment of seizures, nicotine dependence, trouble sleeping (insomnia), asthma, and constipation.
Some people apply anise directly to the skin to treat lice, scabies, and psoriasis.
In foods, anise is used as a flavoring agent. It has a sweet, aromatic taste that resembles the taste of black licorice. It is commonly used in alcohols and liqueurs, such as anisette and ouzo. Anise is also used in dairy products, gelatins, meats, candies, and breath fresheners.
In manufacturing, anise is often used as a fragrance in soap, creams, perfumes, and sachets.
How does it work?
There are chemicals in anise that may have estrogen-like effects. Chemicals in anise may also act as insecticides.
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