Aniseed, a spice with a licorice-like flavor, has a long history of use in traditional medicine for various health concerns, including those related to reproductive health. But does the science back up these claims? Let’s delve into the available evidence to see if aniseed truly lives up to its reputation.
Aniseed for Fertility
For Females: Some studies suggest that aniseed may help young women struggling with menstruation by encouraging menstrual flow, while in older women, it may lower symptoms of menopause like hot flashes.
Reports from a study also suggest that anise seeds may be an effective and safe way to ease hot flashes in menopausal women .
According to the study, 72 women with hot flashes were randomly placed in two groups:
- Anise group: Took capsules containing 330mg anise seed extract 3 times a day for 4 weeks.
- Control group: Took capsules containing potato starch for 4 weeks.
The result showed that women in the anise group had a significant decrease in both the frequency and severity of their hot flashes
For males: However, men should be more careful and avoid high doses of aniseed extract because emerging reports from studies suggest it could increase oxidative stress which is detrimental to sperm health [2, 3].
Although, more research is needed regarding aniseed and male fertility, however, for hot flashes a common symptom in menopausal women, which causes sudden waves of heat, sweating, and chills aniseed has been found helpful.
Aniseed and Menstruation
Emerging evidence suggests that aniseed promote can promote a healthy and regular menstrual flow, since a certain compound in them is helpful against amenorrhea ,
Aniseed has been used to alleviate menstrual cramps and regulate irregular periods. While some anecdotal evidence supports this, some scientific studies have also shown its effectiveness in alleviating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) [5, 6].
According to a study  that investigated the efficacy of anise in alleviating premenstrual syndrome (PMS) symptoms in young women. More than 65 female college students aged 18-35 experiencing PMS were enrolled and randomly assigned to either an anise or placebo group. The intensity of PMS symptoms was measured after the first and second menstrual cycles.
The anise group displayed a significant reduction in PMS symptom intensity compared to the placebo group. This suggests that anise may be a promising natural approach for managing PMS symptoms.
However, further research with larger sample sizes and longer durations is needed to confirm these preliminary results and elucidate the underlying mechanisms of action.
Is Aniseed during pregnancy safe?
Aniseed and Star Anise are generally considered safe during pregnancy in small amounts and used as spice in food. However, large doses or concentrated forms like essential oil should be avoided due to the potential risks of miscarriage or birth defects.
Another reputable academic review suggests that the abortifacient property of anethole which is found in both plants may increase the risk of miscarriage since it can influence body hormones .
Aniseed during Lactation
Although aniseed is generally recognized as safe by the FDA, breastfeeding mothers should avoid excessive intake of anise seed extract since there are reported cases of toxicity linked to its anethole content [13, 16, 14].
Before use! It’s crucial to consult with a healthcare professional before consuming aniseed while breastfeeding, as it can potentially transfer certain compounds to the baby through breast milk .
Anise Vs. Star Anise fact to know
Licorice lovers, listen up! Anise and star anise might share the same yummy licorice taste, but they’re not the same!
Anise (aniseed) is Scientifically called Pimpinella anisum. While Star anise on the other hand is also known as Illicium verum.
Think tiny! Think Anise seeds (aniseed), they come from Mediterranean herbs with little seeds, like parsley’s distant cousin.
Think giant! Think Star anise, they grow on massive trees in China, like a licorice skyscraper!
Both have a chemical called anethole, which gives them that cool licorice vibe. But anise seeds are punchier, almost spicy, while star anise is sweeter and smoother.
You can swap them in recipes, but remember: less is more with star anise! It’s stronger stuff.
So next time you crave licoricey goodness, choose your anise adventure! Tiny seeds or giant stars? The choice is yours!
Note: Anise isn’t just for food! It’s used in medicine and even licorice candy. Pretty versatile for such a small seed!
While aniseed has been used for centuries for various reproductive health concerns, the scientific evidence supporting its effectiveness is often weak or lacking. More rigorous research is needed to definitively determine its potential benefits and risks.
JC is passionate about finding the impact of foods (feeding habits) on human fertility and reproductive health and a way to improve fertility.