P Anisum L

1.3.1 Biblical References

Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!, for ye pay the tithe of mint and anise and cumin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.

1.3.2 History

Anise was cultivated and well appreciated by the ancients. The Arabs called it by the name anysun. The Egyptians called it Inst, and the hieroglyphic name can be traced to Pharaonic texts as a component of refreshing drinks for stomach ailments, bladder problems, and other gastric illness (Manniche, 1989). They certainly appreciated its aromatic qualities. About the same time, the Chinese were also using anise as a carminative and expectorant (Lawrence Review of Natural Products, 1991).

Anison was known to the ancient Greeks, and the Greek physician Pedanius Dioscorides mentioned the use of aniseed in medicine and that he preferred aniseed from Crete, with the Egyptian material as his second preference. Pythagorus, the Greek geometrician and mathematician, declared anisonas bread a great delicacy in 550 B.C., and praised it cooked or raw (Keville, 1991; Sturtevant, 1972). Theophrastus (372-278 B.C.) mentioned aniseed, as did Pliny (23-77 A.D.), who said "anesum, green or dry, is desirable in all seasonings or sauces" (Sturtevant, 1972).

Anise was also used in the ancient and Ayurvedic (Indian) medicinal system (Heinerman, 1988). The Indian name for anise is the same as that for dill, and it is considered similar in properties and uses (Attygale, 1994). In Sri Lanka, the seed has traditionally been used as a carminative and aromatic (Jayaweera, 1982).

Anise flavored a spicy cake, called mustaceus by the Romans, which was made with an unfermented wine and included powdered aniseed mixed with honey (Back, 1987; Gordon, 1980); it also contained cumin and other digestive herbs (Bremness, 1991). This cake, considered a great delicacy, was served at banquets and weddings to aid digestion and, possibly more important, was considered to have aphrodisiac properties (Gordon, 1980). It is probably from this rich cake that the traditional European wedding cake was derived.

The Romans also used anise medicinally (Back, 1987).

Anise warms the abdomen, dispels gas (especially after eating beans) and is helpful for belching, vomiting, chronic diarrhoea, abdominal pains, sluggish digestion and hernia. The tribal people of the Amazon find it especially good for children with stomach-aches. Anise is used as a sedative, especially for nervousness and to induce sleep. It is thought to prevent fainting. In the Amazon, this herb is thought to function as a female tonic during the menses by eliminating sad thoughts.*

* Raintree Group, Inc., Austin, TX, 1997. © 2004 by CRC Press LLC

Palladius (at the beginning of the third century) gave directions for its sowing (Sturtevant, 1972), and Charlemagne (in the ninth century) instructed that anise should be grown on the imperial farms in Germany (Sturtevant, 1972), as were all of the herbs and spices that he found growing in St. Gall's Monastery (Bremness, 1991).

In the thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus referred to the plant as Roman fennel. In 1305, Edward I granted a patent giving the right to levy a toll on it at the Bridge of London for the purpose of raising money to repair the bridge (Wood and Bache, 1883).

In 1480, King Edward IV had his personal linen scented with "lytil bagges of fustian stuffed with ireos and anneys."

In 1536, Ruellius recorded the use of anise in France and gave it the common name Roman fennel.

In 1542, Boore, in his Dyetary of Helth, said of aniseed and fennel, "These herbes be seldom used, but theyr seedes be greatly occupyde." Before this date, the plant seems to have been grown as a pot herb in England (Sturtevant, 1972).

In 1551, William Turner (1520-1568), in A New Herball, used anise to "maketh the breth sweter." It was taken in the form of comfits (seeds coated with sugar) (Norman, 1991).

In the seventeenth century, Quintyne wrote about the use of the leaves in salads. John Josselyn, traveling in New England, made a list of the plants taken by the settlers and noted whether they had prospered or failed; of coriander, dill, and anise, he wrote: "they thrive exceedingly." It was taken to North America by the Quakers as a medicinal herb crop, and in 1806, McMahon mentioned anise as a culinary herb (McMahon, 1806).

In Victorian times, there existed a sweet known as a dragati, an aniseed-flavored "ball" with a hard sugar coating, which became the much-loved dragée in France. It is interesting to note that this term has been adopted by the pharmacy as any sweet sugar-coated pill.

1.3.3 Traditional Uses

1.3.3.1 Flavoring

Mouthwashes and toothpastes or dentifrices were common uses for anise (Harry, 1963). It was also used to mask the flavor of unpleasant-tasting medicines, as a flavor for some teas (Launert, 1989), and in the preparation of various liqueurs. One of the oldest traditional uses is as a flavoring in sweets, the best illustration of this use being aniseed balls.

It is a flavoring in pernod (Graves, 1990), anisette (Leung and Foster, 1996; Wichtl, 1994), ouzo (Greek aniseed spirit), and pastis, and it is an ingredient of Benedictine, Boonekamp, Danziger Goldwasser, etc. (Wichtl, 1994).

1.3.3.2 Perfumery

Anise is the component of various perfumes (Harry, 1963), and it is also used as a component of potpourri (Back, 1987), in which the crushed seeds can be used for their fragrance (Bremness, 1991) or simply for their appearance.

The fragrance of anise is described as penetrating, the taste warm, aromatic, and sweetish. It imparts its virtues wholly to alcohol, but only partially to water (Phelps-Brown, 1993) and sparingly to boiling water (Wood and Bache, 1883). Because of the traditional use of anise oils with licorice in licorice sweets, the flavor of anise is often confused with that of licorice (Leung, 1980).

1.3.3.3 Cosmetic

The tea will reduce skin oiliness (Heinerman, 1988), and the seeds can be ground and added to a face pack (Bremness, 1991).

1.3.3.4 Medicinal

The tea is used for children's flatulence, upper respiratory tract problems, and bronchial asthmatic attacks (Buchman, 1987). The tisane is also used as an expectorant (British Herbal Manufacturing Association, 1996), as a cough suppressant (Fluck, 1988), and for pertussis (Newall et al., 1996), and it is good for sore throats and bronchial infections (Ody, 1996). It is a pectoral (relieves infections of the chest and lungs) and is used, not only in cough medicines, but also in lozenges (Potter, 1985). It has been cited for use in whooping cough (Hoffman, 1991) because of its antispasmodic action.

Sweetened with a little honey, anise is a soothing carminative for babies (for colic) and is useful for a hacking cough (Ceres, 1984). It is also used as a sedative for children (Launert, 1989) and may help reduce nausea (Phelps-Brown, 1993). It is an aid to digestion, nervous indigestion in particular. The dried seeds may also be chewed as a digestive aid (Gordon, 1980).

Anise is a strong galactogogue, and so helps nursing mothers to produce more milk (Schauen-berg and Paris, 1990). In addition, it has been traditionally used to facilitate childbirth (Leung and Foster, 1996; Ody, 1996).

Anise oil is useful in destroying body lice (Spoerke, 1990), head lice, and itching insects (Buchman, 1987), and the oil can be used by itself (Hoffman, 1991), which makes it useful for pediculosis, the skin condition caused by lice (Newall et al., 1996).

It can be used for scabies (Ody, 1996), where it may be applied externally in an ointment base (Hoffman, 1991). It can also be used in oil or in an ointment base as a stimulating liniment and against vermin (Wichtl, 1994). It is mildly laxative (Fluck, 1988), but it is probably more often used to counter the griping pains that can occur with constipation (Hoffman, 1991).

The following therapeutic benefits have been noted:

• Promotes menstruation (Leung and Foster, 1996) or emmenagogue (stimulates the menstrual flow) (Wichtl, 1994)

• Has a mild tonic effect on the liver (Ody, 1996)

• Helps insomnia when taken as a few seeds in a cup of hot milk at bedtime (Gordon, 1980)

• Acts as an antispasmodic and antiseptic (Wichtl, 1994)

• Acts as a diuretic and diaphoretic (Spoerke, 1990)

1.3.3.5 Aromatherapy

Anise is used in aromatherapy to help ease difficulty in breathing (Price, 1987). The oil is also thought to be an aphrodisiac (Wichtl, 1994), though the action is unclear from any source. In some references it is said to be specifically a female aphrodisiac (Ody, 1996), whereas in others it is said to increase libido and alleviate symptoms of male climacteric (Leung and Foster, 1996).

It has been described as very mildly narcotic, similar to fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) (Launert, 1989), and is reported as capable of causing delirium (in large doses) (Graves, 1990).

The leaves of anise can be used in salads. The seeds are used in Italy to flavor diverse pastries; in Germany, they are put in breads; and in England, they are used in special breads, in rye bread, and even in cheese (Sturtevant, 1972).

Anise, star anise (to a lesser extent), anise oil, and star anise oil are widely used as flavoring ingredients in all major categories of foods, including frozen dairy desserts, sweets (e.g., licorice confections), baked goods, gelatins, and puddings, as well as in meat and meat products. The highest average maximum use levels for anise oil are about 0.06% (570 ppm) in alcoholic beverages and 0.07% (681 ppm) in sweets (Leung and Foster, 1996). Anise and star anise are widely used as domestic spices; the former is mainly used by Westerners, whereas the latter is used primarily by Asians, especially in Chinese foods.

1.3.3.7 Animals

The powdered seed is largely employed in condition and other condiments for horses.

The scent of aniseed is fascinating to dogs and is often used to decoy them away from a scent (Graves, 1990), and the seed can be used as bait in mouse traps (Bremness, 1991).

1.3.3.8 Miscellaneous

Anise oil contains antifungal substances (Shukla and Tripathi, 1987), and one of the components, anisic acid, is sold under the name SL-688 as a specific treatment for molds and is used for that purpose at a concentration of 0.25% (Straetman, 1993). The oil may also demonstrate parasiticide activity (Hoffman, 1991), and the tea is reputed to improve memory (Heinerman, 1988).

1.3.4 Preparations

Following is a list of different ways of taking anise:

• Dried fruits: Dose is 0.5 to 1 g or by infusion.

• Spirit BPC (British Pharmaceutical Codex) (1949): Dose is 0.3 to 1 mL.

• Distilled anise water BPC (1934): Dose is 15 to 30 mL (British Herbal Manufacturing Association, 1983).

To take anise via infusion, the seeds should be gently crushed just before use to release the volatile oils. Pour 1 cup boiling water over 1 to 2 teaspoons of the seeds and let stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes; take 1 cup three times daily. To treat flatulence, the tea should be drunk slowly before meals (Hoffman, 1991).

One drop of the oil may be taken internally by mixing it into half a teaspoonful of honey (Hoffman, 1991). Another method of taking anise is to bring 2 pints of water to the boil, add 7 teaspoons aniseed, reduce heat to a lower setting, and simmer contents down to 1.5 pints. While still warm, strain and add 4 teaspoons honey and glycerin. Take 2 teaspoons of this syrup every few hours to relieve hacking coughs, or three times daily to strengthen the memory. If using as a tea, omit the honey and drink 2 cups once or twice daily for skin problems, milk needs, or to relieve stomach problems (Heinerman, 1988).

To make tea, cover 1 to 5 grams of the seeds (pounded or coarsely powdered immediately before use) with boiling water and allow to draw in a closed vessel for 10 to 15 minutes (1 teaspoon = ca. 3.5 g) (Wichtl, 1994).

Take 1 to 2 mL tincture three times a day or dilute 10 drops of essential oil in 25 mL carrier oil as a chest rub (Ody, 1993).

1.3.5 Combinations with Anise

Anise combines well with Mentha piperita in flatulent colic, with marrubium, tussilago, symplocarpus, and lobelia in bronchitis, and with prunus in tracheitis. The oil (1%) may be combined with oil of sassafras (1%) in an ointment base for scabies (British Herbal Manufacturing Association, 1983).

For flatulent colic and indigestion, mix aniseed with equal amounts of fennel and caraway. For bronchitis, it combines well with coltsfoot, white horehound, and lobelia (Hoffman, 1991). Combine it with 1 to 2 mL wild lettuce for irritant coughs, or with 2 to 3 mL thyme or hyssop tincture for infections. Add 10 drops eucalyptus oil to form a chest rub (Ody, 1993).

1.3.6 Pharmacopoeial Monographs

Pharmacopoeial monographs mentioning anise include the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, 1983 (British Herbal Manufacturing Association, 1993), the British Pharmacopoeia, Vol. 1 (1980), and Martindale, The Complete Drug Reference, 30th and 27th eds. Other pharmacopoeias include those from Austria, Brazil, Czechoslovakia, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, The Netherlands, Romania, Russia, and Switzerland.

Both crude and essential oils are listed in the National Formulary (1985) and the Food Chemicals Codex (1972). Preparations containing 5 to 10% essential oil are used as respiratory inhalants in Germany (German Commission E Monograph [B Anz. no. 122, dated 6 June, 1988]).

1.3.7 Legal Recognition

The regulatory status for anise is generally recognized as safe (#182.10 and #182.20). Anise seed and star anise seed are subjects of German official monographs; 3.0 g of seed or 0.3 g essential oil (mean daily dose) are allowed as a bronchial expectorant for upper respiratory tract congestion and as a gastrointestinal spasmolytic (Leung and Foster, 1996).

Aniseed is used extensively as a spice and is listed by the Council of Europe as a natural source of food flavoring (category N2). This category allows small quantities of aniseed to be added to foodstuffs, with a possible limitation of an active principal (as yet unspecified) in the final product (Newall et al., 1996)

1.3.8 Legal Category (Licensed Products)

The legal category of anise oil is General Sales List, Schedule 1, Table A.

1.3.9 Remedies and Supplements

The use of anise is widespread in modern medicines, as shown by this list of preparations (Ody, 1996):

BioCare Artemisia Complex Bioforce Bronchosan

Bumbles Propolis, Aniseed, and Liquorice Lozenges Culpeper Cough Relief Mixture

Culpeper Herbal Mixture for Acidity, Indigestion, and Flatulence

Frank Roberts Acidosis Tablets

Hactos Cough Mixture

Herbcraft Peppermint Formula

Lane's Cut-a-Cough

Lane's Honey and Molasses Cough Mixture Neal's Yard Echinacea and Mallow Linctus Neal's Yard Horehound and Aniseed Linctus Neal's Yard Horehound and Honey Lozenges Potter's Acidosis

Potter's Lightning Cough Remedy Potter's Malted Kelp Tablets

Potter's Vegetable Cough Remover Revitonil

Weleda Carminative Tea

Weleda Clairo Tea

Weleda Cough Elixir

Weleda Fragador Tablets

Weleda Herb and Honey Cough Elixir

Weleda Laxadoron Tablets

In addition, a celebrated empirical preparation sold under the name Dalby's Carminative is supposed to owe its virtues to these oils, united with water by means of magnesia (Graves, 1990).

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