Botanical name

Pimpinella anisum

Common Names

Aniseed, Anise.


Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)


Anise has a perennial, spindle-shaped, woody root, and a smooth erect, branched stem, about ten or twelve inches in height. The leaves are petiolated, roundish, cordate, serrate; flowers small and white, disposed on long stalks. Calyx wanting, or minute. The fruit is ovate, about an eighth of an inch long, dull brown and slightly downy. Not to be confused with Star Anise which is also often used in cooking.

Part supplied

The  dried herb.

Food Use

The odour of anise is penetrating and fragrant, the taste aromatic and sweetish. It imparts its virtues wholly to alcohol, only partially to water.

That used in cordials is usually Star Anise, which is procured from the Illicium Anisatum, a plant of Eastern Asia. Its volatile oil is often fraudulently substituted for the European oil of anise.

Aniseed is a native of Egypt, but now cultivated in many of the warm countries of Europe. The Spanish Aniseed is commonly used for medicinal purposes. 

The leaves are frequently employed as a garnish, for flavouring salads, and to a small extent as potherbs. Far more general, however, is the use of the seeds, which enter as a flavouring into various condiments, especially curry powders, many kinds of cake, pastry, and confectionery and into some kinds of cheese and bread.

Aniseed (Anise) oil is extensively employed for flavouring many beverages both alcoholic and non-spirituous 


Use 1 teaspoon of dried herb to one cup of boiling water to make a tasty tea. Infuse for 5-10 minutes. Sweeten with honey or lemon to taste.

Alternatively add half a teaspoon (2.5 ml) of tincture to a cup of warm water for a quick alternative to tea.

The herb can be added as a flavouring to gin, vodka and other infusions.

Medicinal Use

Flatulence, infant colic, nausea.

Sometimes added to medicines to improve their flavour or to correct disagreeable effects.

Key actions: Expectorant, mildly antispasmodic, antibacterial, stimulant and carminative.

In clinic: Herbalists use this herb to treat the digestive system (used as a tonic) and the respiratory system. 

If you are interested in the medicinal use of this herb please consult a herbalist. Herbs are generally used at medicinal strength, in blends, prescribed for each unique patient's condition.


Decoction: 1 teaspoon of herb to a cup of cold water, bring to the boil and leave to sit for 15 minutes. Or steep 1 teaspoon herb in cold water overnight. Flavour with lemon, ginger or honey if desired. Drink 3 times a day unless otherwise told by a medical herbalist.

Tincture: Take 2 ml (1:3 in 45% tincture), 3 times a day or as directed by a practitioner.

Other Uses

Cosmetic Use

The seeds are also ground and compounded with other fragrant materials for making sachet powders, and the oil mixed with other fluids for liquid perfumes. Various similar anise combinations are largely used in perfuming soaps, pomatums and other toilet articles. 

Other Uses

Aniseed (Anise) oil is also used to disguise the unpleasant flavours of various drugs. 

The very volatile, nearly colourless oil is usually obtained by distillation with water, about 50 pounds of seed being required to produce one pound of oil. At Erfurt, Germany, where much of the commercial oil is made, the "hay" and the seeds are both used for distilling.



This herb is considered safe in food amounts. Do not take if you are allergic to this plant or other members of this plant's family (Apiaceae. For example: fennel, caraway, celery, coriander and dill). Not all herbs are suitable in pregnancy, breastfeeding or for young children. If in doubt, please ask us or your medical herbalist.

Side effects

With the oil - occasional allergic reactions of skin, respiratory tract, and gastrointestinal tract. Plant extracts cause few side effects when taken correctly but if a side effect is experienced please contact us.

Interactions with drugs

Herbal remedies and supplements can interact with medicines. If you are taking medication please check with your medical practitioner, or call us, before taking herbs, supplements and medication together.

More Information


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Look in our recipes section for more uses of this herb.


Read the latest PubMed research on this herb.

Add to BagPimpinella anisum Anise seed 100g £6.75
Add to BagPimpinella anisum Anise seed 1kg £34.25

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