With delicate, white floral bouquets atop long branches, the anise plant lends a lovely look to any yard or wild field. Related to fennel and Queen Anne’s lace, anise (Pimpinella anisum) is originally native to the eastern Mediterranean region.
While the lacy flowers are lovely, it’s the anise seeds that receive the most attention for health. Anise seeds have a subtle licorice flavor and people have used them as an after-dinner digestif for centuries. In ancient times, Greeks and Egyptians chewed them as a natural digestive aid to soothe indigestion, to balance blood sugar, and as a natural herbal remedy for fungus overgrowth. In later years, people created liqueurs from anise and it’s flavor cousin, licorice. Don’t confuse it with star anise (Illicium verum), which is a different species altogether.
Anethole, an aromatic compound that is the active ingredient in anise seed (also called aniseed), promotes normal blood sugar. By helping to balance blood sugar levels, it also deters harmful organisms in your body, particularly the yeast Candida albicans, which feeds on sugar. The olive-brown seed is also rich in nutrients such as iron, magnesium, calcium, and B vitamins.
What Is Candida?
Candida is a yeast (fungus) found naturally in your digestive tract and other parts of your body. While it’s natural to have some Candida in the body, it can get out of balance, leading to an overgrowth. This can cause discomfort and other common complaints, such as the following:[3, 4]
- Oral mucous overgrowth (thrush)
- Recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs)
- Chronic sinus infections
- Swelling in joints
If an overgrowth occurs, you can find Candida on the corners of your mouth. Candida may also grow in the esophagus or even invade the bloodstream. You may experience an unusual or itchy white discharge in the vagina, signs of a yeast infection.
Up to seventy-five percent of women will experience some form of Candida infection in their lifetime. Many women experience them chronically — until they can get their body’s microbiota in balance.
We all have some Candida in our bodies, but usually at low levels. Several factors can lead to an overgrowth.
- Excess sugar intake
- High alcohol consumption
- Eating too many carbohydrates
- Antibiotic use
Antibiotics are designed to kill bacteria — but that often allows fungus to proliferate. With bacteria out of the way, that paves the way for yeast infections and Candida overgrowth. Probiotics (helpful bacteria), on the other hand, can bring the internal microbiota back in balance. A balanced internal system contains healthy microbe levels.
How Anise Seed Helps Candida & Fungal Balance
A Candida diet that eliminates sugar, carbs, alcohol, and yeast-containing foods is the ideal way to curb an overgrowth. Supplements containing anise or other herbs can also help. Anise seeds contain many helpful nutrients that are responsible for its health-giving benefits.
The way anise seed helps with a Candida overgrowth is twofold. It naturally deters harmful organisms, including Candida, helping to keep it in balance. When anise seed extract was tested on seven species of yeast, the yeast did not survive.
Secondly, anise helps balance your blood sugar. It does this by stimulating the pancreas. The pancreas produces insulin and regulates the body’s blood sugar level. Anise’s active ingredient, anethole, activates enzymes that help the pancreas promote balanced blood sugar levels.
Other Benefits You Need to Know
Anise provides the following other benefits:
- Relaxing the body
- Relieving constipation
- Supporting endocrine health
- Easing the hot flashes of menopause
- Relieving discomfort
- Promoting normal breast milk production
- Soothing stomach ulcers
This seed is an excellent all-around stimulant of women’s health and women have used anise for centuries. Since at least the 1930s, women have used anise to promote hormone balance. Anise promotes normal breast milk production and calms the body.
Best Ways to Use Anise Seed
Not only is anise good for you, but it tastes great too. There’s fantastic versatility in how you can incorporate anise into your diet. Some people prefer chewing the seeds raw, while others use the flavor in traditional recipes. Yet others prefer to take it in supplement form.
With a sweet flavor similar to licorice or fennel seed, you’ll find anise in many baked goods, like pastries and cakes. Anise-flavored liqueurs are also popular as a post-meal digestif. As previously mentioned, many people like to chew anise seeds after meals, as well.
Many Middle East, Italian, German, and Indian foods use whole or ground anise seed as well as anise seed oil, often along with cumin, dill, and fennel. Cooking may change some of the natural, beneficial compounds found in the raw seeds — but you still get the aroma and flavor.
Look for anise seed in the spice section of your local grocery. Store it in a cool, dry, and airtight space for extended shelf life.
Happy Tummy Anise Tea
Another way to add anise to your diet is in herbal tea. Take this happy tummy tea right after a meal. It will quell indigestion and leave you feeling relaxed. Not to mention, your taste buds will thank you!
- 1 teaspoon anise seed
- 2 teaspoon dried peppermint leaf
- ½ teaspoon crushed fresh ginger root
- 1 teaspoon raw honey, if desired
- Crush up anise seeds.
- Add anise seeds, peppermint, and ginger to a cup and add boiling water.
- Add honey if desired. Enjoy!
Supplementing With Anise
To get the benefits of anise seed, you can go the simple and direct route of taking supplements. Most people take anise in capsule form, alone or with other herbs. It works well with several other herbs that have similar effect, such as the ones below.
Other Herbs & Supplements That Help With Candida
Mycozil™ promotes a healthy, balanced digestive system and a body free of fungal overgrowth. We chose the most potent herbal ingredients; Anise seed is complemented by wildcrafted jatoba, pau d’arco bark, enzymes, and other herbal ingredients. Together, they form the most powerful and effective all-natural yeast and fungal cleanser on the market.
Points to Remember
Anise supports the body’s defense against fungus and reduces blood sugar. Egyptians and Greeks once chewed anise seed to freshen their breath and improve digestion, and this still occurs in some Mediterranean cultures. Most people today drink anise tea, use it in recipes, or take a supplement. Anise is a powerful tool in maintaining a balanced internal microbiota.
Candida is a common yeast (fungus) that can easily become overly abundant in the body, especially if you eat a lot of sugar, simple carbs, or consume alcohol. While a Candida diet that eliminates sugar, carbs, alcohol, and yeast-containing foods is the first-line defense against overgrowth, supplements can also help.
Adding anise to your diet can boost your health by helping you detox or deter Candida fungal overgrowth. If you’re interested in taking a supplement, try Mycozil which combines anise seed with other potent ingredients like jatoba, pau d’arco bark, and enzymes.
Have you tried anise seed or a product with anise seed for Candida? Have you used it in cooking or as a digestive aid? Share your experiences below!
- Sheikh BA, et al. Trans-anethole, a terpenoid ameliorates hyperglycemia by regulating key enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism in streptozotocin induced diabetic rats. Biochimie. 2015 May 1;112:57-65.
- Sun W, et al. Anise (Pimpinella anisum L.), a dominant spice and traditional medicinal herb for both food and medicinal purposes. Cogent Bio. 2019;5(1).
- Kumamoto CA. Candida biofilms. Curr Opin Microbiol. 2002 Dec 1;5(6):608-611.
- Jenkinson HF, Douglas LJ. Interactions between Candida species and bacteria in mixed infections. Ch 18 In: Brogden KA, Guthmiller JM, eds. Polymicrobial Diseases. Iowa City, IA: ASM Press; 2002.
- Candidiasis. Harvard Health Publishing. Published Jan 2019. Accessed Nov 21 2019.
- Kosalec I, et al. Antifungal activity of fluid extract and essential oil from anise fruits (Pimpinella anisum L., Apiaceae). Acta Pharmaceutica. 2005 Dec 1;55(4):377-385.
- Shojaii A, Abdollahi Fard M. Review of pharmacological properties and chemical constituents of Pimpinella anisum. ISRN Pharmaceutics. 2012 Jul 16;2012.
- Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J. Ethnopharmacol. 1980 Jan 1;2(4):337-344.