This section is from the book "A Treatise On Therapeutics, And Pharmacology Or Materia Medica Vol1", by George B. Wood. Also available from Amazon: Part 1 and Part 2.
Anise is the fruit of Pimpinella Anisum, a small plant, native of Egypt and Syria, but introduced into the South of Europe, where, as well as in Germany, it is cultivated for use. Each fruit, commonly called seed, is about a line long, oval, striated, slightly downy, and of a gray yellowish-green colour. It usually has a small footstalk attached. The smell and taste are agreeably aromatic. Its virtues depend on a volatile oil, which, when separated by distillation, is lighter than water, colourless, or yellowish, and of the odour and taste of the seeds. Anise imparts its virtues to water, but more readily and largely to alcohol. It is much used for imparting flavour to liqueurs. Its medical virtues are simply those of the aromaties; but it has been supposed to increase the flow of milk, of urine, and the menses. The milk is said to acquire the odour of anise when it is taken by nursing women; and it has been asserted to give an unpleasant smell to the urine. The Volatile Oil (Oleum Anisi, U. S, Br.) is more employed than the fruit itself. Dr. Ruschenberger, U. S. N., discovered in it the remarkable property of completely deodorizing a solution of tersulphide of potassium (sulphuret of potassa). A single drop of the oil was sufficient to overcome, instantly and entirely, the offensive smell of twenty grains of the tersulphide, dissolved in two fluidounces of water. (Am. J. of Med. Sci., Oct. 18(54, p. 419.) It is easy to conceive of numerous modes in which this property of the oil may be very usefully employed. The dose of the oil is from five to fifteen drops. It is an ingredient in several officinal preparations, among which may be especially mentioned the Camphorated Tincture of Opium, or common paregoric elixir. A Water and Spirit were formerly officinal in the London Pharmacopoeia, but they have been omitted in the British. Anise was used by the ancients. Poisonous effects have happened in consequence of mistaking the seeds of Conium maculatom for aniseed.