It is the pimpinella anisum Lin. Sp. Pi. 379. Anisum herbariorum. Common anise.
The common anise is a native of Egypt, Crete, and Syria: cultivated in the southern parts of Europe, and grows in our gardens in England; but it does not arrive at any great degree of perfection with us. The seeds only are used in medicine: those which are produced in Spain are smaller than those collected in other countries, and are generally the most esteemed.
Aniseseeds have an agreeable aromatic odour, and to the taste they are gratefully warm, with a degree of sweetness; they are much used in flatulent complaints, and a scruple of the powder has been given for a dose, and in spasms of the bowels: they are also moderately anodyne, diaphoretic, diuretic, and discutient; an infusion of them in water moderates the,thirst in a dropsy, and abates the diarrhoea; the fume received through the nostrils is said to abate head-ach; they promote an appetite, and check convulsive coughs, when a flatus and coldness in the stomach are the causes. They are supposed to increase the milk in nurses. Geoffroy says the odour is perceptible in that fluid. Cullen's Mat. Med.
Those who arc offended with the seeds may employ the tincture, for the spirit in some measure covers their flavour.
Water and spirit of wine both completely extract the virtues of aniseseeds; but in distillation very little of the seeds are carried over with the spirit; however, after its evaporation, a powerful and agreeable extract remains.
Angelica seeds are added to improve the flavour of those of the anise, in the compound water of aniseseeds. This water is apt to be milky if drawn so low as directed in the dispensatory: it has been considered an elegant cordial stomachic medicine; a glass of it assists digestion after full meals, and when vegetables have been too freely eaten.
Along with the water in distillation, their essential oil, called by Van Helmont intestinorum solamen, arises to the quantity of i. from iii.; it possesses the taste, smell, and all the virtues of the seeds in the highest perfection: it congeals when the air is not sensibly cold into a butyraceous consistence: so that the water in the refrigeratory should rather be warm, particularly towards the end of the process. The dose is from ten to thirty drops.
This oil is also obtained from aniseseeds by expression; it is of a greenish colour, grateful to the taste, and strong of the seeds, of which, if sixteen ounces are lightly moistened by exposure to the steam of boiling water, about an ounce of oil may be obtained from them. This oil is gross, insipid, and inodorous, similar to the common expressed ones, with a part of the essential oil of the seed, on which its flavour-depends. If this expressed oil is digested in rectified spirit of wine, the essential oil is extracted from it; or if it is distilled in water, the essential oil rises and leaves the other behind. The gross oil seems to reside in the kernel of the seed, the essential in the cortical part.
Anisum Indicum, Stellatum; Sinenses Phillipense; Badian Semen; Faeniculum Sinense; Cardamomum Siberiense; Zingi. Indian or stellated anise. It is the produce of a small tree which grows in Tartary, China, and the Philippine islands. The husks contain the chief of the flavour, which is the same as that of the common aniseseed, but not so fiery: if they are digested in spirit of wine, they yield a most acrid resinous extract. The seeds afford much essential oil by distillation in water, which is thinner, more limpid, and more fragrant than that from the common sort.
The seeds of this species of aniseseed art not yet common in the shops, though they are deserving of a preference to those in use. To the virtues of the common aniseseeds they are supposed to add an expectorant power, and to be useful in atonic diseases of the lungs. Added to tea they make it more grateful and less injurious. The dose of the powder is 3 ss. In infusion 3 i. is added to a pint of water.
Anisum fructicosum Galbaniferum; - Africanum fructicescens, folio, et caule vere caeruleo tinctis. See Galbanum.