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Anise seed, which is completely different than the spice known as star anise, is an aromatic cooking spice and flavoring, but it is also a medicinal herb. It is related to other common cooking spices, including caraway, dill and fennel. Anise is well-liked for its licorice-like taste, which creates a sweet and enjoyable tea. Anise seed tea is not only pleasing, but it is also beneficial for relieving common problems such as an upset stomach and congestion.
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Infusing crushed anise seeds in boiling water is a gentle, natural remedy for many digestive issues. Drinking anise tea is beneficial for gas, indigestion and an upset stomach. It can even be used to help with colic — a nursing mother can drink a cup of tea and pass on the soothing benefits to the baby. Another option is to give a child anise water with a medicine dropper, although always talk to your pediatrician first.
Anise seed is good for relieving digestive problems because it has anti-spasmodic and carminative properties, easing the stomach and supporting digestion. For stomach issues it blends well with fennel and caraway.
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Drinking an herbal infusion made from anise seeds can also be beneficial for common respiratory problems. As an anti-spasmodic, anise will help to ease coughing. With expectorant properties it can also relieve congestion, clearing mucus from airways. With good anti-microbial properties it is also helpful for fighting a bacterial or viral infection.
A steaming cup of tea can help with bronchitis, the common cold and any persistent coughing. For respiratory issues anise seed blends well with coltsfoot and lobelia. If symptoms are persistent, be sure to see your doctor.
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Increasing Milk Flow
Drinking this aromatic tea regularly can also benefit nursing mothers. Anise seed encourages milk production due to a mild oestrogenic effect. For the same reason it may help with low libido and menopausal symptoms. This herb is safe for nursing mothers, but always talk to your doctor before using any form of herbal medicine if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. To help increase milk flow anise seed can be blended with fenugreek.
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Tea Recipe with Anise Seeds
To make a cup of anise seed tea first gently crush one to two teaspoons of the dried seeds. Put in a cup and then add one cup of freshly boiled water. Steep covered for about ten minutes and then strain. Add a small amount of honey to sweeten if desired. Drink up to three cups daily.
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Safety of Using Herbal Medicine
Anise seed is generally considered to be safe with no known side effects. It is an enjoyable afternoon or after dinner tea. Still, do not take in excess. If pregnant, taking any medication or if you have a health condition, be sure to talk to your doctor first.
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Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Hoffmann, David. "The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal: A Safe and Practical Guide to Making and Using Herbal Remedies." (Element Books, 1996).
Mountain Rose Herbs. Anise Seed and Powder Profile. http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/anise_seed.php
photo by David Monniaux
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