Aromatherapists and health-conscious people are turning to essential oils to treat a number of problems. The oils have properties in them making using them popular, especially among those who do not want to take over-the-counter medicines or prescription pharmaceuticals. Use anise oil for its ability to heal certain conditions.
Anise is an annual herb that grows 0.3 to 0.6 m and is cultivated widely throughout the world. The flowers are yellow, compound umbels and its leaves are feather shaped. The greenish-brown, ridged seeds are used for food or the drug. They are harvested when ripe in autumn. Aniseed has an anethole-like odor and a sweet “licorice-like” aromatic taste, which has led to the traditional use of anise oils in licorice, candy and cookies.
The herbaceous anise plant is a member of the carrot family that can grow to heights of up to three feet. Thin, spindle-shaped roots produce grooved stems and leaves that form feathery lobes. In July and August, the plant yields umbels of dainty yellow or white flowers with a delicately sweet aroma. In late August to September, the plant produces small brown seeds known as “aniseed.” The plant is native to Egypt, Asia Minor, Crete and Greece but is now grown around the world in warm and favorable conditions.
The health benefits of Anise Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an anti-epileptic, anti-hysteric, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aperient, carminative, cordial, decongestant, digestive, expectorant, insecticide, sedative, stimulant and vermifuge substance. Since ancient times, anise has been in use as a spice and flavoring agent for food stuffs and beverages. It is also employed to flavor liquors. In India and certain other countries, anise is used as a mouth freshener and digestive agent. The medicinal properties of this herb were known long ago in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome. The essential oil of anise is extracted by steam distillation of dried fruits of anise, or Pimpinella Anisum, as it is known in botanical terminology, which yields a thin and clear oil of which Anethol is the prime constituent, consisting of about 90 percent of it and is also responsible for its characteristic aroma. The other constituents are alpha pinene, anisaldehyde, beta pinene, camphene, linalool, cis and trans-anethol, safrol, and acetoanisol.
Anise is used widely as a flavoring in all food categories including alcohols, liqueurs, dairy products, gelatins, puddings, meats and candies. It is sold as a spice, and the seeds are used as a breath freshener. The essential oil is used medicinally as well as in perfume, soaps and sachets.
Anise Essential Oil possesses the distinctive aroma of black licorice. Although you may not be a fan of black licorice, a single drop or two of Anise Essential Oil can dramatically enhance an otherwise dull blend. It is said to help promote the production of breast milk and stimulate menstruation, but it should be used with caution and avoided in estrogen-dependent cancers. Also, anise oil is known to cause miscarriages, so pregnant women shouldn’t take it.
It can be useful in diffuser and inhaler blends intended to help ease bronchitis, colds and the flu. This will act as a decongestant and loosen clogged lungs. Individuals suffering from colds, coughs and the flu can experience relief from using anise oil because of its expectorant and decongestant activities. The oil loosens mucous or phlegm in the respiratory tract and eases breathing troubles, asthma and other respiratory issues.
Anise oil can be useful in the treatment of muscular aches and pains, rheumatism. The oil is known for being effective against minor joint pains and pains elsewhere in the body. The oil of star anise has been found to be beneficial in patients with joint pain and lower back pain. To get the benefits of anise oil use, you should massage the oil regularly into the affected area.
Anise oil keeps blood pressure under control. It reduces the pressure on the heart. Also, because the oil is detoxifying, it improves blood circulation and keeps the heart healthy. The oil stimulates the heart and keeps it active. However, people who have low blood pressure should not use the oil because it can lead to a further drop in blood pressure. Besides the heart, detoxifying with anise oil benefits overall health. Metabolism of the body can be kept optimum by the use of anise oil. The oil stimulates hormones in the body. Stimulation of enzymes in the body keeps the metabolic rate healthy. As a result, the overall health of the body is improved. The detoxifying effects of anise seeds also promotes metabolism by getting rid of toxins in the body.
The antibacterial properties of anise oil make it useful against bacterial strains like Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, Escherichia coli, and Corynebacterium ovis. Anethol, aniseed’s predominant constituent, has antimicrobial and antifungal activities, making it useful against Candida albicans and fungal strains like Alternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Fusarium and Penicillium.
Anise oil and anethol have antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, stimulant and expectorant properties. This is why anise oil is often used or added to medicine, such as cough syrups and lozenges. Anise essential oil also displays potent antioxidant action.
Antioxidants fight against free radicals (atoms or molecules with unpaired electrons) that can cause cellular damage and may be responsible for diseases like diabetes, heart problems or even cancer. It is constantly being produced in our body as a metabolic byproduct. The excessive production and deposition can be neutralized only by consuming a rich source of antioxidants. Reports from India (in 2007 by Dr. Bhatnagar, School of biochemistry, Devi Ahilya University, Bhopal, M.P) and abroad have shown a potent antioxidant property of star anise. The antioxidant property is due to the presence of a chemical called linolool. Vitamins A and C also contribute to this property to a large extent.
Kick Digestion Issues with Anise Oil Uses Anise oil is effective against conditions that are associated with spasms, such as cramps, diarrhea, convulsions and muscle pains, thanks to its relaxant and antispasmodic effects. The essential oil can relieve indigestion, flatulence and acute chest pain, and promotes the elimination of excess gas in your digestive system. Anise oil is used to fight menstrual cramps.
This oil has mild purgative properties but is safe to use. Unlike other synthetic or harsh purgatives, it is not hard on the stomach and liver and does not leave you exhausted and fatigued. When taken in low dosages, it helps clear motions and cures constipation, resultant flatulence, and indigestion. Only those who are suffering from gas know what a relief it is to get rid of it. Gas is not funny at all. It is a very serious ailment and must be treated in a timely manner. It gives rise to indigestion, flatulence, acute chest pain, stomach aches, muscular cramps and pains, rheumatism in the long run, heaviness, hypertension, and even problems like hair loss and reduction of eyesight, if it becomes chronic. Anise essential oil promotes the removal of gases and as a digestive, it does not let it form, as indigestion is the cause of excess gas.
Some components of aniseed are known to have calming effects that can relieve anxiety and nervousness. These components include thymol, stigmaterol, linalol, terpineol, alpha-pineno and eugenol. Due to its somewhat narcotic or numbing effects, it is used as a sedative for anxiety, nervous afflictions, depression, anger and stress as well as for symptoms such as insomnia due to its tranquilizing and relaxing effects. This effect is particularly visible when it is used in higher dosages because in very small doses, it acts as a stimulant. However, the utmost care should be taken while administering it in heavy doses, keeping in view its narcotic effects.
A paste made from the seeds may be applied to the forehead, neck or temples to relieve headaches and migraines. A similar paste can be used to treat lice and scabies. Anise essential oil relieves headache pain. This oil warms the body and clears the mind. It also relaxes muscles that are tight, causing the headaches. To make anise herbal ointment, melt a tablespoon of beeswax with with two tablespoons of carrier oil. While mixture is still warm add a few drops of anise essential oil and stir well. Place in a small, tightly covered jar and store in a cool place or the refrigerator. Discard if mold appears or scent becomes rancid.
Anise has aphrodisiac properties that can increase libido. Drinking one glass of water infused with the crushed seeds each night can increase one’s sex drive. Herbal aphrodisiacs not only improve your sex life but also many can nourish your overall health and enhance your sense of well-being. Many herbal remedies to enhance libido work slowly and must be taken over a period of time to be effective.
The essential oil of anise is toxic to insects and smaller animals, therefore its smell keeps insects away. For this reason, this oil can be employed to drive away insects by using it in fumigants, vaporizers and sprays. This is yet another aspect of its insecticidal property. It can kill worms found in the intestines. This property can be particularly beneficial for children as they are most commonly afflicted with intestinal worms.
Using herbs as health tonics may help to lessen the occurrence of cancers. Many medicinal plants contain compounds that are shown to prevent cancer, which is unsurprising given the large range of types of cancers and the host body systems they affect. This long list of herbs includes those that have either been researched as anti-cancer agents, or have a history of use in traditional folklore. Many of the major plant families and genus are represented here, missing are the numerous lesser known plants that may disappear from our green Earth before we recognize their potential.
It needs to be stressed, however promising the research is, cancer should never be self-medicated and the information presented here is not to be confused with medical advice. None of these herbs are presented for use as a primary treatment for cancer.
Dogs love anise, and you can make their dog bed more attractive to them by putting a muslin bag with anise seeds in the blankets. This also helps to keep fleas at bay. Anise and baking soda also make a quick and easy doggie toothpaste
Steam is one of the best methods to ease breathing and break up congestion. The healing, aromatic, antibacterial vapors go right to where they are needed most – the lungs and sinuses. Part of the appeal of a hot bath or shower is the steam that they create, and of course vaporizers are commonly used to raise the humidity and ease breathing in sick rooms.
Aromatherapy is user-friendly, so there is no excuse to shy away from it. Once you understand a few basics, the use of essential oils for a healthier, happier you is easy. While we touched on a few ways essential oils can be used, in the following, you’ll discover how to get the most from aromatherapy.
For solo artists (those of you who like to do things on your own), aromatherapy through scent is the way to go. For example, we know that peppermint is good for the digestive system, but did you know that if you smell it you will get quicker relief than if you ingest it? It’s true!
A 1963 Japanese experiment discovered this result. There are several ways to use scent, and one of the best and most common ways is through a diffuser. So, while opening a bottle of essential oil and taking a big whiff can be of some help, a diffuser emits the scent continually, creating a pleasant, aromatic, healing environment.
However, some benefits are best received through skin application. For instance, ginger oil, known for its bone healing properties, can be applied directly to a small broken appendage like a toe. (Of course, this is in addition to Western therapy, which may include a splint of some sort.) Keep in mind that essential oils are highly concentrated oils. Make sure you carefully read the manufacturer’s instructions for proper usage. Very few essential oils should be applied to the skin or ingested at full strength. Most require dilution, and some should not to be used on the skin or ingested at all.
For those who like to share everything with family, friends and loved ones, massage may be the therapy that draws you. Touch itself is healing and, when coupled with essential oils, massage can be doubly nurturing. When using essential oils during massage, it’s important to add it to what’s known as a carrier oil. This dilutes the essential oil somewhat and makes it go farther. The general rule is to add anywhere from 10 to 30 drops into an ounce of quality carrier oil.
Inhalation, direct application and massage are among the most common ways to use essential oils, but there are many other ways as well. Some, other uses for essential oils include, but aren’t limited to, facial tonics, Jacuzzi hot tubs, potpourri, humidifiers, mouthwash, perfume, sitz baths, face and body spray, and in creams and lotions. Once you start using aromatherapy, you’ll find that it fits into many different aspects of your lifestyle!
In heavy doses, it has narcotic effects and slows down respiration and circulation. It is poisonous to certain small animals and birds and therefore children should not be given high doses. Furthermore, it may cause irritation to certain skin types. It is best to avoid it during pregnancy. It may also aggravate certain types of cancers caused due to its effect on the estrogen hormone.
Like other essential oils, anise oil should first be diluted before use. Essential oils are highly concentrated and may cause sensitizations in the user. Oil of anise should be first mixed with carrier oils like sweet almond oil, wheatgerm oil and jojoba oil.
Once diluted, anise oil works best when inhaled or used in a diffuser. It can also be applied topically as a massage oil. Here are some specific ways you can experience anise oil’s benefits:
Relieves stomach cramps – Mix five drops of anise oil with one tablespoon of almond oil and massage into your stomach
Relieves respiratory conditions (colds, coughs, flu, and asthma) – Place two to three drops in a diffuser, or use in steam inhalation to clear phlegm and mucus
Treats hiccups – Use two to three drops in steam inhalation
Freshens breath – Mix one to two drops with warm water and use as a gargle
Eases menstrual pain – Add two to three drops in a carrier oil and use as a massage oil in the affected area
Treats nausea, migraine, and vertigo – Place two to three drops on a cloth and inhale