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  1. Singletary, Keith W. PhD


Anise (Pimpinella anisum L., family Apiaceae) is an aromatic annual herb native to the eastern Mediterranean region and western Asia. Although the small fruit is incorrectly referred to as a seed, nonetheless, the fruit is commonly known as aniseed. When ripe and dried, it is the popular spice. Aniseed and its essential oil are used in traditional therapies, for example, for relief of coughs, respiratory congestion, migraines, gastrointestinal distress, and colic; for treatment of skin infections; as a tranquilizer and aphrodisiac; and to improve lactation. Limited and preliminary clinical research has examined the efficacy of aniseed toward diabetes, dysmenorrhea, and menopausal hot flashes. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties also were identified. The present narrative review summarizes human and animal studies reporting potential health benefits of aniseed and highlights areas for future research.