What is Anise,
Anise also called aniseed or Pimpinella anisum, is a plant that hails from the same family as carrots, celery and parsley.
It can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall and produces flowers and a small white fruit known as anise seed.
Anise has a distinct, licorice-like taste and is often used to add flavor to desserts and drinks.
It’s also known for its powerful health-promoting properties and acts as a natural remedy for a wide variety of ailments.
Rich in Nutrients
Though anise seed is used in relatively small amounts, it packs a good amount of several important micronutrients into each serving.
In particular, anise seed is rich in iron, which is vital for the production of healthy blood cells in your body (1).
It also contains a small amount of manganese, a key mineral that acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for metabolism and development (2Trusted Source).
One tablespoon (7 grams) of anise seed provides approximately (3Trusted Source):
Protein: 1 gram
Fat: 1 gram
Carbs: 3 grams
Fiber: 1 gram
Iron: 13% of the Reference Daily Intake (RDI)
Manganese: 7% of the RDI
Calcium: 4% of the RDI
Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
Phosphorus: 3% of the RDI
Potassium: 3% of the RDI
Copper: 3% of the RDI
However, keep in mind that most recipes will likely call for less than a tablespoon.
May Reduce Symptoms of Depression
Depression is a common yet debilitating condition that affects up to 25% of women and 12% of men around the world (4Trusted Source).
Interestingly, some research has found that anise seed may help treat depression.
One study showed that anise seed extract exhibited powerful antidepressant properties in mice and was as effective as a common prescription medication used to treat depression (5Trusted Source).
What’s more, in another study in 107 people, taking 3 grams of anise seed powder three times daily was effective at reducing symptoms of postpartum depression (6Trusted Source).
Similarly, in a four-week study in 120 people, taking a capsule with 200 mg of anise oil three times daily significantly decreased symptoms of mild to moderate depression, compared to a control group (7Trusted Source).
Could Protect Against Stomach Ulcers
Stomach ulcers, also called gastric ulcers, are a painful sore that forms in the lining of your stomach, causing symptoms like indigestion, nausea and a burning sensation in your chest.
Though traditional treatment typically involves the use of medications to decrease the production of stomach acid, preliminary research suggests that anise seed could help prevent stomach ulcers and reduce symptoms.
For instance, one animal study noted that anise reduced stomach acid secretion, helping prevent the formation of stomach ulcers and protecting cells against damage .
However, research on anise seed’s effects on stomach ulcers is still very limited.
Additional studies are needed to understand how it may impact ulcer formation and symptoms in humans.
Prevents the Growth of Fungi and Bacteria
Test-tube studies show that anise seed and its compounds possess potent antimicrobial properties that prevent infections and block the growth of fungi and bacteria.
One test-tube study demonstrated that anise seed and anise essential oil were especially effective against certain strains of fungi, including yeasts and dermatophytes, a type of fungus that can cause skin disease.
Anethole, the active ingredient in anise seed, inhibits bacterial growth as well.
In one test-tube study, anethole blocked the growth of a specific strain of bacteria that causes cholera, an infection characterized by severe diarrhea and dehydration.
However, further research is needed to examine how anise seed may affect the growth of fungi and bacteria in humans.
Could Help Relieve Menopause Symptoms
Menopause is the natural decline in women’s reproductive hormones during aging, resulting in symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue and dry skin.
Anise seed is thought to mimic the effects of estrogen in your body, potentially reducing symptoms of menopause.
In one four-week study, 72 women with hot flashes took either a placebo or a capsule containing 330 mg of anise seed three times daily. Those taking anise experienced a nearly 75% reduction in severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Some of the compounds in anise seed may also help prevent bone loss, one of the hallmark symptoms of menopause that occurs as a result of declining estrogen levels in your body.
One study found that an essential oil comprised of 81% anethole, the active ingredient in anise, helped prevent bone loss and protect against osteoporosis in rats.
Despite these promising results, more research is needed to determine how anise seed itself may affect menopause symptoms in women.
May Balance Blood Sugar Levels
Some research indicates that anethole, the active ingredient in anise seed, may keep blood sugar levels in check when paired with a healthy diet.
In one 45-day study in diabetic rats, anethole helped reduce high blood sugar by altering levels of several key enzymes. Anethole also enhanced the function of pancreas cells that produce insulin.
Another animal study also reported that anethole improved blood sugar levels in rats with diabetes.
Keep in mind that these studies are using a concentrated dose of anethole — much higher than what is found in a typical serving of anise seed.
More studies are needed to evaluate how anise seed may affect blood sugar levels in humans.
Can Reduce Inflammation
In many cases, inflammation is considered a normal response by your immune system to protect against injuries and infection.
However, high levels of long-term inflammation are linked to chronic conditions, such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes.
Animal and test-tube studies suggest that anise seed may reduce inflammation to promote better health and prevent disease.
For example, one study in mice showed that anise seed oil reduced swelling and pain.
Other research indicates that anise seed is high in antioxidants, which can reduce inflammation and prevent disease-causing oxidative damage.