Preparations: Oil of Anise
"The dried ripe fruit of Pimpinella Anisum Linne (Fam. Umbelliferae) without the presence or admixture of more than 3 per cent. of foreign seeds or other vegetable matter." U. S. "Anise Fruit is the dried ripe fruit of Pimpinella Anisum, Linn." Br.
Anisi Fructus, Br.; Fructus (Semen) Anisi, s. Anisi vulgaris; Aniseed, Anny, Aneys, Annyle; Anis, Anis vert, Graines d'Anis, Fr.; Fructus Anisi, P. G.; Anissame, Anis, G.; Anice, Anace, Semi d'Aniso, It.; Anis (Fruto de), Simiente de Anis, Sp.; Anison, Ar.
Pimpinella Anisum is an annual plant, about a foot in height, with an erect, smooth and branching stem. The leaves are petiolate, the lower roundish-cordate, lobed, incised-serrate, the middle pinnate-lobed with cuneate or lanceolate lobes, the upper trifid, or undivided, linear. The flowers are white, and in terminal compound umbels, destitute of involucres.
The anise plant is a native of Egypt and the Levant, but has been introduced into Southern Europe and is cultivated in all warm climates, especially Germany, Russia, Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, India, Japan and Chili. It is also cultivated occasionally in the gardens of this country. The Spanish is smaller than the German or French, and is usually preferred; the Russian fruit is very short. It is said also to be extensively cultivated in India and South America, although we are not aware that the product ever comes into American commerce. It is estimated that over a million pounds of anise are imported annually.
It is one of the oldest aromatics, having been used by the old Egyptians, and is spoken of by Theophrastus and cultivated in the imperial German farms of Charlemagne. In 1305 Edward I granted a patent giving the right to levy tolls upon it at the Bridge of London for the purpose of repairing the bridge.
Anise seeds (botanically, fruit) are officially described as follows: "Cremocarp broadly ovoid or pyriform, laterally compressed, from 3 to 6 mm. in length and from 2 to 3 mm. in breadth; mericarps usually cohering and attached to a slender pedicel from 2 to 12 mm. in length; summit with a ring-like disk and 2 projecting, diverging styles; externally grayish or greenish-gray, seldom grayish-brown, slightly pubescent; each with five light brown filiform ridges and in cross-section with from 15 to 45 vittae. Odor and taste agreeable and aromatic. Under the microscope transverse sections of Anise show an epidermal layer with numerous papillae and short, one-celled, non-glandular hairs having very thick papillose walls; primary ribs each with a small fibro-vascular bundle, surrounded by a few sclerenchymatous fibers; vittae or oil-tubes from 15 to 45 in number, extending as a more or less interrupted circle in the tissues of the mesocarp on the dorsal side of each mericarp; 2 large vittae on the commissural surface, each separated from the other tissues of the mericarp by a large cavity due to shrinkage of the seed-coat; inner epidermis of pericarp consisting of a layer of narrow, tangentially elongated cells closely united with the 1-layered seed-coat, the inner walls of which are yellowish-brown and considerably thickened; endosperm of polygonal, thick-walled cells filled with spherical or ellipsoidal aleurone grains, each containing a small rosette aggregate of calcium oxalate; the aleurone grains surrounded with an oily protoplasm, the oil of which is liberated upon mounting sections in hydrated chloral T.S., in the form of small globules; epidermal layer near the middle of the commissural surface composed of 2 or 3 rows of cells with thick porous walls, and beneath which occur small groups of thick-walled cells resembling stone cells. The powder is yellowish-brown; consisting of numerous irregular fragments of pericarp showing portions of the yellowish vittae, fragments with tracheae and sclerenchymatous fibers of carpophore; cells of endosperm filled with aleurone grains about 0.006 mm. in diameter, each usually enclosing a rosette aggregate crystal of calcium oxalate about 0.002 mm. in diameter; non-glandular hairs 1-celled, from 0.025 to 0.2 mm, in length, either straight or curved and with numerous, slight, centrifugal projections on the outer surface. Heat 1 Gm. of the whole drug or powdered drug with 10 mils of potassium hydroxide T.S.; no mouse-like odor develops (fruits of Conium maculatum Linne). Anise yields not more than 9 per cent. of ash." U. S.
"Ovoid, somewhat compressed laterally; about five millimetres long and two millimetres broad. Mericarps usually united and attached to the pedicel. Rough from the presence of short, bristly hairs. Greenish-grey or greyish-brown; primary ridges pale, slender and entire. In transverse section, numerous vittae in each mericarp; commissural surface of the endosperm not deeply grooved. Agreeably aromatic odor; taste aromatic and sweet. Ash not more than 11 per cent." Br.
Their odor and taste, which depend upon a peculiar volatile oil existing to the extent of from 1.5 to 3.5 per cent., are imparted sparingly to boiling water, but freely to alcohol. (See Oleum Anisi.) The endosperm of the fruit contains a bland fixed oil. By expression, a greenish oil is obtained,, which is a mixture of the two. The fruits are sometimes adulterated with fine gravel and small fragments of an argillaceous earth which resembles them in color. This accounts for the fact that the amount of ash may run as high as 30 per cent., greatly exceeding the official requirements. Their aromatic qualities are occasionally impaired by a slight fermentation, which they are apt to undergo in the mass, when collected before maturity. Russian anise is sometimes admixed with as much as 30 per cent. of coriander. Anise is also contaminated with weed seeds and stems of the anise plant.
The Italian anise not infrequently is admixed with from 2 to 10 per cent. or even 50 per cent. of the fruits of conium. A case of poisoning is on record from the accidental admixture of the fruits of Conium maculatum, which latter may be distinguished by their crenate or notched ridges and the absence of oil tubes; by their mericarps being- smooth, grooved upon the face, and having crenate or notched ridges with wrinkles between them. The conium fruits are, moreover, broader in proportion to their length, and are generally separated into half fruits (or single mericarps), while those of anise are whole (double mericarps).
Star aniseed, the Cardamomum Siberienae or Annis de Siberie of the seventeenth century and the badiane of the French writers, is the product of Illicium verum Hook. f., Gaertn., and is fully described under the heading Illicium. They contain about 4 per cent. of a volatile oil very closely resembling that of anise. There are no known chemical differences between these oils, although dealers distinguish them by their odor and taste.
Ruschenberger, U. S. N., has shown that oil of anise has a remarkable power of masking the odor of potassium sulphide; a drop of the oil having entirely deprived of offensive odor a drachm of lard with which five grains of the sulphide had been incorporated. (Am. J. M. S., N. S., xlviii, 419.)
Uses.—Anise, a grateful aromatic carminative, may be used in flatulent colic, and as a corrigent of griping or unpleasant medicines.
Dose, eight to fifteen grains (0.5-1.0 Gm.); of the oil, which should always be preferred, three to eight minims (0.2-0.5 mil).
The Dispensatory of the United States of America, 1918, was edited by Joseph P. Remington, Horatio C. Wood and others.