The Beginner’s Guide to Anise Oil

Anise oil (or aniseed oil) has amazing health benefits like relaxing muscles, improving breathing and killing microbes, mites and even lice!

anise oil

Properties of Anise Oil

Botanical name: Pimpinella anisum.
Anise is not the same as star anise (Illicium verum). Lots of brands and blogs mix up the two. But not you!

Color: None. It’s colorless.

Smell: Anise oil has a strong licorice scent. I absolutely love it!

Compounds in the oil:
Trans-anethole is the main compound in anise oil. It can make up more than 60% of the oil, sometimes even 90%. The oil may also contain gamma-himachalene, limonene, p-allyl anethole, beta-selinene, and estragole.

Anise Oil Benefits

The oil can relax muscles, improve breathing, ease depression, reduce inflammation, neutralize free radicals, destroy microbes like bacteria and fungi, kill lice, insects and mites. And all these anise oil benefits are backed by science!

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Anise oil is relaxing and helps breathing
Anise essential oil is bronchodilatory. That means it encourages the trachea and bronchi in the respiratory system to relax. When this happens, you can breathe better.

A 2016 study also found an anise-based medicine was effective for treating sinusitis. And it reduced postnasal drip and nasal obstruction.

Awesome! Ajowan essential oil also has these benefits. So blend the two for a wonderful, relaxing blend that will clear up your airways.

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It may help with depression
This 2017 clinical trial used anise oil for treating depression in IBS patients. 120 patients were given capsules containing anise oil or peppermint oil or a placebo. After a 4-week trial, the anise group were far less depressed than the other groups. And in a follow-up, two weeks after the trial, the anise group still had lower levels of depression.

So anise is both antidepressant and relaxing.

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It’s anti-inflammatory
A 2006 study found anise has the same benefits as indomethacin. Now, you may know indomethacin is a prescription, anti-inflammatory drug – used for pain, fever, headaches, arthritis and swelling.

And the study showed anise oil is just … as … strong!

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It’s antioxidant
There are several studies (detailed in this review) proving the antioxidant benefits. In fact, researchers suggest anise is a potent free radical scavenging oil.

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It is antibacterial

Aniseed is pretty powerful against bacteria. A 1999 study tested more than fifty essential oils on multi-drug resistant bacteria and found anise was very effective.

I mean, it wasn’t as potent as lemongrass or bay, but it’s still great.

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Anise oil is anti-fungal
A 2015 study tested 15 essential oils on five Penicillium species. The 15 oils included anise, caraway, german chamomile, lavender, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme.

And the results? Well, of all the essential oils tested, oregano and anise oil had the most powerful antifungal benefits.

Another study from 2012 looked at the effects of seven essential oils (including clove, garlic and sweet orange) on four fungi species. And again, anise was one of the best!

It kills lice
A 2002 study tested a natural remedy containing anise oil on lice. The remedy (which contained anise and ylang ylang essential oils in a coconut oil carrier) was applied to children with lice. The results showed the essential oil mix was just as effective against lice as over-the-counter products. And there were no side effects!

So try this mix to keep lice away from your kids.

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It kills other bugs too
There are quite a few studies proving anise’s insecticidal properties. A 2014 one showed anise and its main compound, trans-anethole, were effective against mosquitoes and water fleas. The study went on to recommended aniseed as a possible botanical insecticide.

Another study (2004) showed anise oil was very effective against house dust mites. In fact, the oil was tested alongside benzyl benzoate and DEET. And guess what? Anise oil was far more potent than these synthetic, commercial insecticides.

Here’s a great summary:

Anise Essential Oil Benefits

Anise Oil Uses

Add a few drops of aniseed essential oil to your diffuser for a nice licorice scent. It’s also a great relaxer and a known bronchodilator. So use it to calm your nerves and ease your congestion, coughs and colds.

What oils blend well with anise? Anise essential oil blends well with spicy oils like caraway, cardamom, cedarwood and mandarin essential oils.

You can also use it on your skin. But do a skin patch test first. If you are not allergic, then add 2-3 drops of the oil to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba or tamanu oil.

Also, before massaging the oil, you should know ingesting small amounts of the oil can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures and pulmonary edema. So use with caution. And definitely keep out of the reach of kids and pets.

That’s not the only major precaution for this essential oil. A 2012 study showed anise interacts with certain drugs. So if you use codeine, diazepam, midazolam, pentobarbital, imipramine and fluoxetine, you should not use this oil. The essential oil can either increase or decrease certain effects the drugs have on your body and central nervous system.

This makes it even more important to check with your doctor before using this essential oil.

Where to buy anise oil?



  1. August 25, 2017 / 9:08 pm

    Great well done article. Always good to see someone referring to facts when writing to support natures pharmacy.

  2. roseanna launstein
    November 14, 2017 / 1:16 pm

    Great article loved this

  3. January 23, 2018 / 7:22 pm

    good article, can we use it for food too ?

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