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Anise is an herb with seeds that are often used in cooking and baking. The seeds have also been used to ease digestion and reduce cold-like symptoms. Anise can be taken as a pill, powder, or extract. Anise can also be used as an oil or spray.


There are no advised doses for anise.

What Research Shows

May Be Effective

Not Enough Data to Assess

Editorial process and description of evidence categories can be found at EBSCO NAT Editorial Process.

Safety Notes

It is likely safe to use anise on the skin and to take it orally in small doses for a short time. Not enough studies have been done to say whether it is safe to use for a long period.


Talk to your doctor about any supplements or therapy you would like to use. Some can interfere with treatment or make conditions worse such as:

  • People taking blood thinners should talk to their doctor before taking anise. It may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • People with mugwort allergies should talk to their doctor before taking anise. It may cause a reaction.
  • Women taking contraceptives should talk to their doctor before taking anise. Anise may make contraceptives less effective and increase chance of pregnancy.


A. Dysmenorrhea

A1. Nahid K, Fariborz M, et al. The effect of an Iranian herbal drug on primary dysmenorrhea: a clinical controlled trial. J Midwifery Womens Health. 2009 Sep-Oct;54(5):401-404.

B. Irritable Bowel Syndrome

B1. Mosaffa-Jahromi M, Lankarani KB, et al. Efficacy and safety of enteric coated capsules of anise oil to treat irritable bowel syndrome. J Ethnopharmacol. 2016;194:937-946.

B2. Mosaffa-Jahromi M, Tamaddon AM, et al. Effectiveness of anise oil for treatment of mild to moderate depression in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized active and placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017;22(1):41-46.

C. Rhinosinusitis

C1. Vazifehkah S, Shams-Ardekani MR, et al. Evaluation of a novel natural drop for treatment of chronic rhinosinusitis without nasal polyps: a single blind randomized trial. Int Forum Allergy Rhinol. 2016 Sep;6(9):943-949.

D. Safety

D1. Zabłocka-Słowińska K, Jawna K, et al. Interactions between preparations containing female sex hormones and dietary supplements. Adv Clin Exp Med. 2014 Jul-Aug;23(4):657-663. Review.

Last reviewed March 2019 by EBSCO NAT Review Board Eric Hurwitz, DC  Last Updated: 3/27/2019