Essential Oil of the Week: Anise
Anise essential oil has a long and interesting history. King Edward IV used it to perfume his clothing and Pliny the Elder (author of the first encyclopedia) claimed it prevented bad dreams. It was used to help fund the repairs for the London Bridge and to flavor food in the Middle Ages. Currently, it is used as a flavoring agent for liquors and natural mouthwashes.
Anise oil is thin and clear, and extracted through steam distillation of dried anise fruit (or Pimpinella Anisum as it is botanically known). It has been cultivated in Egypt for over 4,000 years. It comes from the parsley family, and has the flavor of black licorice– rich, sweet, and slightly spicy. Because of this, it pairs well with sharp, herbaceous notes like clary sage, cedarwood, lavender, and bergamot.
The oil has many therapeutic benefits. It has been said to aid bronchitis, arthritis, rheumatism, indigestion, and respiratory problems. Anise is a well-known carminative and expectorant. For example, you can mix 5 drops of anise essential oil with almond oil and rub on your stomach for cramps, or on your neck for sneezing and whooping cough. High doses or excessive usage is discouraged, however, because it can be a strong narcotic.
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