Botanical Name: Pimpinella anisum | Family: Umbelliferae

Common name(s): Aniseed, Anise


  • Annual; herbaceous | 1 1/2 – 3 feet tall  | Feathery leaves, yellow umbel flowers, ridged seeds in autumn
  • Full sun | Light, well-drained soil | Protect from wind


Harvest seeds, when ripe, in late autumn.


Infusion: Gently crush seeds just before use. Pour 1 cup of water over 1-2 tsp seeds and let infuse for 5 minutes, covered. Drink a cup 1/2 hour before meals (or throughout the day, as needed).

External: Use essential oil to help control lice, add the essential oil to an ointment base to treat scabies.


Constituents: Carbohydrates, coumarins, essential oil, fatty acids, lipid, proteins

Actions: Aromatic, astringent, diaphoretic, (mild) estrogenic, styptic

Uses: Colic, flatulence, indigestion, nausea, coughs and colds, lice and scabies, increasing milk production

Combinations: Equal amounts of fennel and caraway seed for flatulence/colic; Coltsfoot, white horehound and lobelia for bronchitis.

Cautions: do not take the essential oil internally. Do not use while pregnant, except for normal amounts used in cooking.


  • Spicy, warm


  • The Way of Herbs, Michael Tierra
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Andrew Chevallier
  • photo credit: Hans on Pixabay (license)

This is a kitchen herb! So much medicine can be found in our spice cabinets.