Anise plant’s oil and seeds are widely used for its flavor as a food spice and for its medicinal properties. For centuries, anise has been used as a digestive aid and cough suppressant. The medicinal properties of anise and its fragrance can be attributed to the presence of anethol, its main ingredient. It does not pose any health threat when it is consumed or used in moderation.
Anise seeds are internally consumed in various dishes and anise oil is used for external application. Although anise is considered safe for internal and external usage, it has some side-effects associated with it. Except for occasional allergic reaction of the skin with topical use and of the respiratory or gastrointestinal tract due to internal use, there are no specific adverse effects from anise seeds or oil.1 Here are its side-effects and the details about who should avoid anise.
Side-Effects of Anise Oil
The essential oil extracted from anise seeds is highly concentrated and it must be diluted with other carrier oils. After diluting, the oil is either inhaled or massaged externally. Medications for common cold and cough, such as cough syrups and lozenges, use anise oil as an active ingredient owing to its stimulant, expectorant, and antioxidant properties. High doses of aniseed oil can cause side effects like nausea and vomiting. When used externally as a topical application, pure anise oil can cause some allergic reaction such as,
- Skin irritations
- Skin rashes
- Tongue or skin inflammation
- Breathing difficulties
Side-Effects Of Anise Seeds
Seeds of this aromatic plant are usually used as a flavoring agent or as a cooking spice. Powdered seeds can be used to prepare tea, which is known to treat indigestion and flatulence. But, consuming it orally as a medication is different, and more scientific research is required to declare it as a safe medicine. Some occasional allergic reactions include,
- Mouth or lip inflammation
- Nausea, vomiting, or seizures
- Skin irritation 2
- Pulmonary edema (accumulation of excess fluid in the numerous air sacs in the lungs that cause breathing difficulties)
Who Should Avoid Anise Oil?
As with most other oils, anise oil may cause allergic reactions, which can potentially be life-threatening. People with any skin conditions must avoid anise oil. Those who suffer from high blood pressure must consult the doctor before using anise oil. People who are allergic to pollen, celery, or carrots must also avoid this oil. In the case of adverse reactions in some people, just 1-5 ml of anise oil can cause nausea, vomiting, seizures, and pulmonary edema. Pregnant women and nursing mothers must avoid anise and must consult their doctor before using it.3 Avoid external application of the oil directly on the delicate skin of infants and young children.
Some people who are allergic to coriander celery, asparagus, cumin, dill, caraway, and fennel may have allergic reactions to anise. Since anise might have some of the same effects as estrogen, the condition of diseases like breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids may worsen.4 People with such health conditions must avoid anise.
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