From London's Ghost Acres

Aniseed, or Anise, is a flowering plant found mainly in the Eastern Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. Anise oil is obtained from the fruits by means of either steam distillation, or extracted by using supercritical carbon dioxide. (

Anissed oil (also referred to as Anise) is primarily used in horse medication to treat any griping effects caused by purgative medications. However, it is also given to humans as a stimulant and as a carminative (anti-flatulence), with treatment being focused on intestinal and digestive aliments.

The oil, when distilled in Europe does not have any toxic qualities. Oil distilled in China and then imported into Europe is extracted from Illicium anisatum, or Japanese star anise, which can be toxic. (

British Pharmacopoeia 1867

Recorded in the Pharmacopoeia under “Anise/Anisi”

Preparations of Anise

Essence of Anise / Essentia Anisi [1]

  • Oil of Anise (1 fl oz) mixed with rectified spirit (4 fl oz)
  • dose: 10-20 minims

Oil of Anise / Oleum Anisi[2]

  • when distilled in Europe the oil comes from the fruit of Pimpinella Anisum. Oil distilled in China comes from Illicium anisatum (this is Japanese star anise, and can be toxic. Chinese star anise is Illicium verum)
  • “Colourless or plae yellow; with the odour of anise, and a warm sweetish taste. Concretes at 50°.
  • used in the preparations of: Essentia Anisi, Tinctura Camphorae composita, and Tinctura Opii Ammoniata.

Compound Tincture of Camphor / Tinctura Comphorae Composita[3]

  • syn: tincture camphora cum opio, tincture opii camphorate
  • Opium, in coarse powder (40 grains), benzoic acid (40 grains), Camphor (30 grains), oil of anise (1/2 fl drachm). Proof spirit (1 pint)
  • dose is given in 15 minims to 1 fl drachm

Ammoniated Tincture of Opium / Tinctura Opii Ammoniata [4]

  • opium, in a coarse powder (100 grains), saffron, cut small (180 grains), benzoic acid (180 grains), oil of anise (1 fl drachm), strong solution of ammonia (4 fl oz), rectified spirit (16 fl oz)
  • dose: ½ - 1 fl drachm

A Compendium of Domestic Medicine, 1865

Aniseed oil is used as a stimulant and carminative (anti-flatulence), especially in children (combining aniseed oil and sugar and then mixing it into children's food). "The great consumption of this oil is in the preparation of horse medicines, to obviate the griping effects of strong purgative medicines."[5]

Remedies Containing or to be used with Aniseed Listed in CDM1865

  • Hoffman's Ether: this is a substitute for Hoffman's anodyne, and is used as a narcotic to calm irritation, induce sleep. It "will sometimes succeed... when even opiates fail." Contains spirit of aniseed.[6]
  • Carminative Mixture for Infants[7]

Prescriptions Containing Aniseed as listed in CDM1865


  • Antacid Draught [8]
  • Antacid Mixture [9]


  • Antispasmodic Draughts for Spasms of the Stomach arising from Flatulence [10]


  • Turpentine Mixture [11]


  • Stomach Mixture [12]
  • Stomach Mixture, Another [13]


  • Diuretic Mixture, Another [14]


  • Stimulant Mixture, Another[15]


  1. General Medical Council of Great Britain, British Pharmacopeia, (London: Spottiswoode & Co.,1867), 112
  2. GMCGB, 220-221
  3. GMCGB, 322
  4. GMCGB, 338
  5. Savory, John. A Compendium of Domestic Medicine (London: John Churchill and Sons, 1865), 127.
  6. Savory, 81
  7. Savory, 120
  8. Savory, 327
  9. Savory, 328
  10. Savory, 338
  11. Savory, 341
  12. Savory, 342
  13. Savory, 342
  14. Savory, 346
  15. Savory, 354

Imported from