Pimpinella anisum L.

Last updated: 21 October 2016

Scientific Name

Pimpinella anisum L.


Anisum odoratum Raf. Anisum officinale DC., Anisum officinarum Moench, Anisum vulgare Gaertn., Apium anisum (L.) Crantz, Carum anisum (L.) Baill., Ptychotis vargasiana DC., Selinum anisum (L.) E.H.L. Krause, Seseli gilliesii Hook. & Arn., Sison anisum (L.) Spreng., Tragium anisum (L.) Link. [1]

Vernacular Name

Malaysia Jintan manis [2]
English Anise, aniseed, sweet cumin [2]
Indonesia Jinten manis [2]
Philippines Anis [2]
France Anis vert, boucage, pimpinelle [2].

Geographical Distributions

Pimpinella anisum probably originated in the eastern Mediterranean region. It is cultivated nowadays in a wide range of countries, especially in southern Europe (in particular Spain and Italy), the former Soviet Union, Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey, Iran, northern Africa, India, China, Japan, Chili, Argentina and Mexico, and is often naturalised. P. anisum fruits are used in Southeast Asia, but the crop does not grow satisfactorily in tropical lowlands. Only very occasionally is P. aniusm grown in Southeast Asia. [2]

Botanical Description

P. anisum is a member of Apiaceas family. P. anisum is an aromatic, erect, annual herb, up to (10-)15-50(-90) cm tall, with grooved stem and patently hairy. The leaves are arranged alternately and entire to pinnately compound. The petiole is 4-10 cm long in lower leaves while gradually becoming shorter to absent in uppermost leaves and always sheathing at base. The blade of lower leaves is orbicular-kidney-shaped and dentately lobed while the middle leaves blade is pinnate or 3-foliolate with incised leaflets. The blade of uppermost leaves is 3-partite and subsessile. [2]

The inflorescence is terminal and leaf-opposed while the umbel is compound. The peduncle is 2.5-7 cm long. The involucre of bracts is absent or short and 1-2-foliolate. There are 4-15 primary rays which are 0.5-2.5 cm long and hairy. There are also 7-13 secondary rays (pedicels) which are 1-5 mm long while the flowers are bisexual. The sepal is indistinct. The 5 obovate-cordate petal is 1-1.5 mm long, with ciliate margin and inflexed apex. There are 5 stamens. The filaments are longer than petals and apex is inflexed. The pistil is with inferior, bilocular, 2-carpelled ovary and 2 styles, each with swollen stylopodium at base and globular stigma at the top. [2]

The fruit is a schizocarp, ovoid, measure 3-5 mm long, with short hairs and at maturity it splits into 2 mericarps. The mericarp is 5-ribbed, with numerous oil ducts and containing a single seed. The fruit wall is connate with seed testa. [2]


P. anisum can be grown in temperate and subtropical climates, but does not grow well under tropical lowland conditions. It requires a frost-free growing season of about 120 days. It grows under conditions ranging from 1000-2000 mm average annual rainfall and mean annual temperatures of (6-)12-18(-24)ºC. Moisture requirements are highest in the period from stem emergence to flowering. Temperature and rainfall should be rather uniform because it is unfavourably affected by sudden changes in both. P. anisum can be grown in a wide range of soils, from sandy to clayey loams with a pH of 5-8, but it thrives on well-drained, moderate to heavy loams with adequate water-holding capacity. The sandy soils and heavy clay soils are unsuitable. [2]

Chemical Constituent

P. anisum has been reported to contain phenol-methyl -ethyl (> 95%) trans-anethole (92%), chavicol methyl-ethyl (3%), terpenic alcohol: anisol (2-3%), aldehydes, cetones and coumarins. [3][4]

Plant Part Used

Fruit/seed. [2]

Traditional Use

The essential oil has traditionally used for lung ailments and breathing and digestive problems. It also has been used to treat many estrogen-related functions, such as milk production, menstruation, and libido. [4]

P. anisum essential oil and extract were tested against different yeast strains including Candida albicans, C. parapsilosis, and C. tropicalis. The results showed that both the oil and the extract possessed antifungal activity, although the essential oil had stronger activity. [5] The oil of P. anisum also is affective against certain types of mold, which may be useful as a protective food additive. [6] This essential oil showed inhibitory effects against aciclovir-resistant herpes simplex virus type 1. [7] An additional study found anise oil to inhibit herpes simplex virus type 2 at 0.016%. [8]

In an animal model, anise oil decreased urine output in mice, which is contradictory to traditional use as a diuretic. [9] Laboratory studies on guinea pig tracheal chains demonstrated that P. anisum essential oil has bronchodilatory effects that are similar to theophylline, and relaxant activity due to inhibitory effects on muscarinic receptors. [10]

P. anisum retains estrogen-like qualities. This is thought to be due to the anethole, dianethole and photoanethole content. [4] The essential oil of P. anisum has shown some insecticidal activity, although not as strong as other oils tested. [11] However, a component of this oil, p-anisaldehyde, has shown positive results against house dust mites. [12]

Preclinical Data


No documentation

Clinical Data

Clinical findings

No documentation

Side effects

No documentation

Pregnancy/Breast Feeding

P. anisum has been reported to not be used on infants, children or pregnant mothers. [13]

Adverse reaction

No documentation

Interaction & Depletion

No documentation


P. anisum essential oil reported to be contraindicated to those with epilepsy or seizure. [13]


No documentation

Poisonous Management

No documentation

Line drawing


Figure 1: The line drawing of P. anisum. [2]


  1. The Plant List. Ver1.1. Pimpinella anisum L. [homepage on the Internet]. c2013 [updated 2012 Mar 23; cited 2016 Oct 31]. Available from: http://www.theplantlist.org/tpl1.1/record/kew-2402426
  2. Cardenas LB, de Guzman CC. Pimpinella anisum L. In: de Guzman CC, Siemonsma JS, editors. Plant Resources of South-East Asia No. 13: Spices. Leiden, Netherlands: Backhuys Publisher, 1999; p. 180-183
  3. Orav A, Raal A, Arak E. Essential oil composition of Pimpinella anisum L. fruits from various European countries. Nat Prod Res. 2008;22(3):227-232.
  4. Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J Ethnopharmacol. 1980;2(4):337-344.
  5. Kosalec I, Pepeljnjak S, Kustrak D. Antifungal activity of fluid extract and essential oil from anise fruits (Pimpinella anisum L., Apiaceae). Acta Pharm. 2005;55(4):377-385
  6. Elgayyar M, Draughon FA, Golden DA, Mount JR. Antimicrobial activity of essential oils from plants against selected pathogenic and saprophytic microorganisms. J Food Prot. 2001;64(7):1019-1024.
  7. Koch C, Reichling J, Kehm R, et al. Efficacy of anise oil, dwarf-pine oil and chamomile oil against thymidine-kinase-positive and thymidine-kinase-negative herpesviruses. J Pharm Pharmacol. 2008;60(11):1545-1550.
  8. Koch C, Reichling J, Schneele J, Schnitzler P. Inhibitory effects of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2. Phytomedicine. 2008;15(1-2):71-78.
  9. Kreydiyyeh SI, Usta J, Knio K, Markossian S, Dagher S. Aniseed oil increases glucose absorption and reduces urine output in the rat. Life Sci. 2003;74(5):663-673.
  10. Boskabady MH, Ramazani-Assari M. Relaxant effect of Pimpinella anisum on isolated guinea pig tracheal chains and its possible mechanism(s). J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;74(1):83-88.
  11. Prajapati V, Tripathi AK, Aggarwal KK, Khanuja SP. Insecticidal, repellent and oviposition-deterrent activity of selected essential oils against Anopheles stephensi, Aedes aegypti and Culex quinquefasciatus. Bioresour Technol. 2005;96(16):1749-1757.
  12. Lee HS. p-Anisaldehyde: acaricidal component of Pimpinella anisum seed oil against the house dust mites, Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus. Planta Med. 2004;70(3):279-281.
  13. Janahmadi M, Farajnia S, Vatanparast J, Abbasipour H, Kamalinejad M. The fruit essential oil of Pimpinella anisum L. (Umblliferae) induces neuronal hyperexcitability in snail partly through attenuation of after-hyperpolarization. J Ethnopharmacol. 2008;120(3):360-365.