Anise, or sometimes written as anise seed or aniseed, is another herb that has been used and written about since writing was invented. It is one that may not be for everyone since it does have an extremely strong black licorice smell and taste. It was in the past frequently used as just a breath freshener, and chewing a few of the seeds works extremely well, even after garlic food or heavily spiced food.
It is mentioned in some of the most ancient medical texts for a variety of aliments by Hammurabi, Hippocrates, Dioscorides, and Pliny the elder recommended it for sleeplessness, placing it next to the bed the smell would soothe you to sleep. They also thought it would ward off bad dreams.
While it may not ward off bad dreams, it does ward off indigestion, and was often used by Romans in cakes to be eaten after meals, especially rich ones, to ease indigestion and flatulence. This cake could possibly be the ancestor of spiced wedding cakes. It was used as currency in some places, and in the 9th century Charlemagne ordered it grown on imperial farms. (Probably didn’t want to be called Charlie farty-pants.)
Anise is known as a great digestive as it is a mild antispasmodic, it also works really well for menstrual cramps. You can massage the oil directly on to the abdomen and it should relieve cramping. If you are having cramping from gas or indigestion, rubbing oil on the abdomen works as well, I have used this myself a few times to help with tummy issues from medications and treat my lactose intolerance.
It also works well for lower back pain and other aches and pains from daily movement or exercise. It even works as well as clove for numbing and reliving tooth pain. Typical dose is a drop or two massaged into the affected location. I have made a topical spray though to help with dispersing it evenly across an area.
Personally my favorite use of anise is for its numbing purposes, it is very effective as a local anesthetic and I regularly use it prior to a session of Graston to be able to take more and longer in a session. Remember to get therapeutic grade anise oil where you can, if you can not locate a reputable dealer in essential oils, use the oils you find externally ONLY.
Anise Numbing Spray
- 1 part anise
- 1 part rubbing alcohol
- 1 part distilled water (filtered is fine)
In a small 3 oz spray bottle combine the three ingredients for a travel sized spray, or in a larger bottle for home use. Just make sure you are using equal parts of all ingredients.
If you are unable to locate the oil, you can always use the seeds to make tea. Again do not use the plant part only the seeds.
Anise Seed Tea
- 4 c boiling water
- 2 tbspn crushed anise seeds – Crush with a mortar and pestle if you have one, if not you can use a clean coffee grinder (not ideal but it will do), but grind in quick pulses with breaks between to avoid heating the seeds too much
- *optional* Milk or milk substitute
Add the anise to the boiling water, steep for 5 minutes in a preferably covered teapot or teacup, and add a tablespoon or two of milk if you like. This tea is supposed to be good for indigestion, sleep, and it should ease some pains. It is even supposed to aid with asthma, and can be a good daily tea to drink if you suffer from it in addition to your existing medications.
Warning! I really like the taste and smell of this herb, but if you are not a fan of black licorice this may not be the one for you!
As always you need to do your research yourself and see if this is right for you, do your own trials and see what works. Always check for interactions on sites like WebMD and if you are in doubt consult a professional!