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 Essential Oils
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Anise Oil

Pythagoras claimed that it stored the caliber to enhance man's libido & fertility, cured insomnia, stimulated appetite, and facilitated digestion. Having numerous therapeutic virtues, the anise seeds have also remained a favorite spice of ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. This native of Egypt, Greece, Crete, and Asia Minor is also mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny; being cultivated in Tuscany in Roman times. Interestingly, the anise plant is used as a food plant by the larvae of Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths).

Having a characteristic licorice-like aroma, the anise oil extracted from these seeds is also addressed as Aniseed, Sweet Cumin, Chinese Anise, Illicium, and Star Anise. Primarily, this sweet and spicy oil is used as an expectorant so as to relieve the symptoms of asthma. Apart from being used to clear up cold symptoms as well as helping in lactation, the essential oil is extremely effective for treating lice and scabies. It mixes particularly well with the essential oils of cedarwood, clary sage, lavender, orange, rosewood, sandalwood, and tangerine.
 

Oil Extraction
Hailing from the family of Umbelliferae, Carrot; the anise plant bears the scientific name Pimpinella Anisum. This flowery, herbal, and aromatic plant (growing up to the height of 40 - 70 cm) is a native to the Eastern Mediterranean region and South West Asia. The oil extracted from anise seeds undergoes the process of steam distillation. This obtained from crushed seeds contains 70-90% anethole from the 1-4% volatile oil, fatty acid, flavonoids, furanocoumarins, sterols, proteins, and phenylpropanoids, coumarins, and carbohydrates. In fact, anise oil is the common trade name for the essential oils of two different plant species-- pimpinella anisum and illicium verum. The more commercial variety is obtained from illicium verum (also known as star anise).

History of Anise
Touted by the ancient Greeks for its ability to contribute to the relief and cure of many common ailments, the anise seeds were used

as a part of their meals. These were also used while preparing medicinal formulas for treating digestion, colic, and nausea. Being also used as an effective aphrodisiac, it is one of the herbs that was supposed to avert the Evil Eye. In the East, anise was formerly used with other spices in part payment of taxes.

It was decreed by law from the Virginia Assembly in 1619 that each family should plant at least six anise seeds a year. What more..English herbalists started using it to treat hiccups, for lactation treatment, and for ecdema or water retention. The oil extracted from anise fruits is said to prove a capital bait for mice, if smeared on traps.

 

Applicable Benefits
The health benefits of Anise Essential Oil or Anise Seed 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. The medicinal properties of this essential oil discovered so far include the following:

  • 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. It is found effective in sedating nervous afflictions, hyper reactions and convulsions, etc. However, this property should be used with caution as heavy dosages can have adverse effects, particularly in children.
  • Anti Rheumatic: 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.
  • Anti Septic: This essential oil also has anti septic properties and give wounds an effective protection against infections and septic. This aids faster healing of wounds.
  • Anti Spasmodic: The situations or ailments caused by spasm are cramps, coughs, aches, diarrhea, nervous afflictions and convulsions. 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. 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. 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.
  • Decongestant: This oil of Anise is very effective in clearing congestion in the lungs and the respiratory tracts, in conditions like asthma, bronchitis, etc.
  • Digestive: This property of Anise and the Anise Essential Oil are very commonly used to promote digestion.
  • 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.
 

Caution Note: The essential oil of anise can have narcotic effects, if taken in heavy dosages. Further, it 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. It is best to avoid it in pregnancy. This may also aggravate certain types of cancers caused due to estrogen hormone.

 
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