Anise

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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

Anise consists of dried ripe fruits of Pimpinella anisum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.


ANISE

 

 

Synonyms

 

Anise, Anise fruits, Aniseed, Sweet cumin, Star anise, Chinese anise.

 

Biological Source

 

Anise consists of dried ripe fruits of Pimpinella anisum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.

 

Geographical Source

 

Anise is native of Egypt, Greece, Crete, and Asia Minor and at present is cultivated in European countries like Spain, North Africa, Italy, Malta, Russia, Germany, Bulgaria, and Mexico.

 

History

 

Anise has been in use since the fourteenth century, The ancient Greeks, including Hippocrates, prescribed Anise for coughs. In Virgil’s time, the Ancient Romans used Anise in a special cake (Mustacae) which prevents indigestion.

Historically, Anise was used due to the flavor, its ability to promote digestion; it acted as an aphrodisiac, for infant colic, etc. Early English herbalists recommended Anise for hiccups, for promoting lactation, in headache, as breath freshener, in asthma, bronchitis, insomnia, nausea, lice, infant colic, cholera, and even in cancer. Anise is one of the herbs that were supposed to avert the Evil Eye.

 

Cultivation and Collection

 

The prorogation is done using seeds; the seeds are sown in dry, light soil, on a warm, sunny border during early April. The plant flowers in July and ripen in autumn. Once the fruits are ripened the plants are cut down and the seeds thrashed out.

 

Characteristics

 

Anise is a delicate, white-flowered umbelliferous annual herb which grows to about 18 inches high, with secondary feather-like leaflets of bright green colour. Anise is an entire cremocarp and the pedicel is attached. It has greyish brown colour, ovoid-conical shape. The size of fruit varies from 3 to 5 mm long and 1.5 to 2 mm broad. Due to the presence of short, conical epidermal trichomes the fruits exhibit a rough texture. It has sweet and aromatic odour and taste.

 


                       Pimpinella anisum


Microscopy

 

Anise has two vittae on the ventral surface and about 20 to 40 vittae on the dorsal surface. Below the primary ridges it has the vascular strands, the epicarp consists of short, conical, epidermal trichomes. Mesocarp has rounded parenchyma cells showing the parquetry arrangement. Testa is single-layered cell with thin, brown-coloured cells, abundant oil globules, and aleuron grains are present in the endosperm region.

 


                     T.S. (schematic) of anise fruit



               T.S. of mericarp of anise fruit


Chemical Constituents

 

Anise fruit consist of 2.5 to 3.5% of a fragrant, syrupy, volatile oil. The chief aromatic component of the essential oil is trans-anethole, present to about 90% along with estragole, anisic acid, anisaldehyde, anise ketone, β-caryophylline, linalool; polymers of anethole, dianethole, and photoanet-hole. It consists of coumarins (umbelliferone, scopoletin), flavonoid glycosides (rutin, isovitexin and quercetin), and phenylpropanoids. Other constituents of the fruit are lipids, fatty acids, sterols, proteins, and carbohydrates.

 


 

Uses

 

Anise is used as expectorant, carminative, aromatic, antimicrobial, and antispasmodic. It can enhance the memory, increases lactation, it is used in the treatment of bronchitis, asthma, relieves menopausal discomforts, in whooping cough, externally in scabies, flatulent colic of infants, overcomes nausea, and as a digestive.

 

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