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The consumption of anise has been linked to potential benefits for individuals dealing with the challenges of diabetes and menopause.

Anise vs Diabetes & Menopause

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What A Daily Gram Of Anise Can Do

Anise, specifically the seed of the plant, also called aniseed, is enjoyed for its licorice taste—as well as its medicinal properties.

Let’s see how well the science lives up to the folk medicine…

What medicinal properties does it claim?

The main contenders are:

  • Reduces menopause symptoms
  • Reduces blood sugar levels
  • Reduces inflammation

Does it reduce menopause symptoms?

At least some of them! Including hot flashes and bone density loss. This seems to be due to the estrogenic-like activity of anethole, the active compound in anise that gives it these effects:

Estrogenic activity of isolated compounds and essential oils of Pimpinella species

1g of anise/day yielded a huge reduction in frequency and severity of hot flashes, compared to placebo*:

*you may be wondering what the placebo is for 1g of a substance that has a very distinctive taste. The researchers used capsules, with 3x330g as the dose, either anise seed or potato starch.

❝In the experimental group, the frequency and severity of hot flashes before the treatment were 4.21% and 56.21% and, after that, were 1.06% and 14.44% at the end of the fourth week respectively. No change was found in the frequency and severity of hot flashes in the control group. The frequency and severity of hot flashes was decreased during 4 weeks of follow up period. P. anisum is effective on the frequency and severity of hot flashes in postmenopausal women. ❞

See for yourself: The Study on the Effects of Pimpinella anisum on Relief and Recurrence of Menopausal Hot Flashes

As for bone mineral density, we couldn’t find a good study for anise, but we did find this one for fennel, which is a plant of the same family and also with the primary active compound anethole:

The Prophylactic Effect of Fennel Essential Oil on Experimental Osteoporosis

That was a rat study, though, so we’d like to see studies done with humans.

Summary on this one: it clearly helps against hot flashes (per the very convincing human study we listed above); it probably helps against bone mineral density loss.

Does it reduce blood sugar levels?

This one got a flurry of attention all so recently, on account of this research review:

Review on Anti-diabetic Research on Two Important Spices: Trachyspermum ammi and Pimpinella anisum

If you read this (and we do recommend reading it! It has a lot more information than we can squeeze in here!) one of the most interesting things about the in vivo anti-diabetic activity of anise was that while it did lower the fasting blood glucose levels, that wasn’t the only effect:

❝Over a course of 60 days, study participants were administered seed powders (5 g/d), which resulted in significant antioxidant, anti-diabetic, and hypolipidemic effects.

Notably, significant reductions in fasting blood glucose levels were observed. This intervention also elicited alterations in the lipid profile, LPO, lipoprotein levels, and the high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level.

Moreover, the serum levels of essential antioxidants, such as beta carotene, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E, which are typically decreased in diabetic patients, underwent a reversal.❞

That’s just one of the studies cited in that review (the comments lightly edited here for brevity), but it stands out, and you can read that study in its entirety (it’s well worth reading).

Rajeshwari et al, bless them, added a “tl;dr” at the top of their already concise abstract; their “tl;dr” reads:

❝Both the seeds significantly influenced almost all the parameters without any detrimental effects by virtue of a number of phytochemicals, vitamins and minerals present in the seeds having therapeutic effects.❞

Full text: Comparison of aniseeds and coriander seeds for antidiabetic, hypolipidemic and antioxidant activities

Shortest answer: yes, yes it does

Does it fight inflammation?

This one’s quick and simple enough: yes it does; it’s full of antioxidants which thus also have an anti-inflammatory effect:

Review of Pharmacological Properties and Chemical Constituents of Pimpinella anisum

…which can also be used an essential oil, applied topically, to fight both pain and the inflammation that causes it—at least in rats and mice:

❝Indomethacin and etodolac were treated reference drugs for the anti-inflammatory activity. Aspirin and morphine hydrochloride were treated reference drugs for the analgesic activity. The results showed that fixed oil of P. anisum has an anti-inflammatory action more than etodolac and this effect was as strong as indomethacin. P. anisum induces analgesic effect comparable to that of 100 mg/kg Aspirin and 10 mg/kg morphine at 30 th min. of the study❞

Summary of this section:

  • Aniseeds are a potent source of antioxidants, which fight inflammation.
  • Anise essential oil is probably also useful as a topical anti-inflammatory and analgesic agent, but we’d like to see human tests to know for sure.

Is it safe?

For most people, enjoyed in moderation (e.g., within the dosage parameters described in the above studies), anise is safe. However:

Where to get it?

As ever, we don’t sell it (or anything else), but for your convenience, you can buy the seeds in bulk on Amazon, or in case you prefer it, here’s an example of it available as an essential oil.

Enjoy!

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