Last update: May 18, 2019

Anise

Low Risk for breastfeeding


Moderately safe. Probably compatible.
Mild risk possible. Follow up recommended.
Read the Comment.

Fruits of this herb are used.
Essential oil is composed basically by trans-anethol and Estragol with a mild estrogenic effect.
Properties attributed but unproven are: anti-spasmodic, carminative and expectorant.
It is widely used as a galactogogue (Wagner 2019, Javan 2017, Winterfeld 2012, Muresan 2011, Dennehy 2010, Ayers 2000).

Trans-anethole is excreted in breast milk in a very small amount (Hausner 2008).

Plant widely used as a condiment and infusion in many cultures. It has been used even for pain relief during pregnancy and colicky pain in fussy babies (Abdulrazzaq 2009), without proved data on this.
Since it is non toxic at appropriate dose, a moderate and occasional consumption is believed to be compatible while breastfeeding.

High dose of trans-anethol may decrease milk production and induce neurotoxicity along with development of seizures and coma. Estragol may be carcinogenic.
Based on this, the European Medicines Agency (EMEA 2013) has disapproved it for children younger than 12 years old.

Reportedly, two young infants were severely intoxicated after ingestion by the mother, as galactagogue, of two daily liters of a mix infusion with Licorice, Fennel, Anise and Galega officinalis (gout's rue), Symptoms were attributed to Anethol from both Fennel and Anise (Rosti 1994).

There is no good quality scientific evidence to increase milk production or improve the weight of infants (Wagner 2019, Ozalkaya 2018, Nóbrega 1983). The best galactagogue is frequent and at demand breastfeeding with correct technique in a self-confident mother (ABM 2018 and 2011, Mannion 2012, Forinash 2012, O'Leary 1982).

Precautions when taking plant preparations:
1. Ensure that they are from reliable source: poisoning has occurred due to confusion of one plant with another with toxic properties, poisonings from heavy metals that are extracted from the soil and food poisoning due to contamination with bacteria or fungi (Anderson 2017).
2. Do not take too much; follow recommendations from experienced phytotherapy professionals. "Natural" products are not good in any quantity: plants contain active substances from which a large part of our traditional pharmacopoeia has been obtained and can cause intoxication or act as endocrine disruptors (they contain phytoestrogens: Powers 2015, Zava 1998) if they are taken in exaggerated quantities or over extended time periods.

Alternatives

We do not have alternatives for Anise.

Suggestions made at e-lactancia are done by APILAM´s pediatricians and pharmacists, and are based on updated scientific publications.
It is not intended to replace the relationship you have with your doctor but to compound it.

Jose Maria Paricio, Founder & President of APILAM/e-Lactancia

Your contribution is essential for this service to continue to exist. We need the generosity of people like you who believe in the benefits of breastfeeding.

Thank you for helping to protect and promote breastfeeding.

José María Paricio, founder of e-lactancia.

Other names

Anise is also known as


Anise in other languages or writings:

Groups

Anise belongs to these groups or families:

Tradenames

Main tradenames from several countries containing Anise in its composition:

  • Nursing Tea™. Contains other elements than Anise in its composition
  • Wunderbalsam™. Contains other elements than Anise in its composition

Pharmacokinetics

Variable Value Unit
Relative Dose 0,2 (trans-anetol) %

References

  1. Wagner CL, Boan AD, Marzolf A, Finch CW, Morella K, Guille C, Gardner Z, Marriott BP. The Safety of Mother's Milk® Tea: Results of a Randomized Double-Blind, Controlled Study in Fully Breastfeeding Mothers and Their Infants. J Hum Lact. 2019 May;35(2):248-260. Abstract
  2. Özalkaya E, Aslandoğdu Z, Özkoral A, Topcuoğlu S, Karatekin G. Effect of a galactagogue herbal tea on breast milk production and prolactin secretion by mothers of preterm babies. Niger J Clin Pract. 2018 Jan;21(1):38-42. Abstract
  3. ABM: Brodribb W. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of Galactogogues in Initiating or Augmenting Maternal Milk Production, Second Revision 2018. Breastfeed Med. 2018 Jun;13(5):307-314 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  4. Anderson PO. Herbal Use During Breastfeeding. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Abstract
  5. Javan R, Javadi B, Feyzabadi Z. Breastfeeding: A Review of Its Physiology and Galactogogue Plants in View of Traditional Persian Medicine. Breastfeed Med. 2017 Sep;12(7):401-409. Abstract
  6. Powers CN, Setzer WN. A molecular docking study of phytochemical estrogen mimics from dietary herbal supplements. In Silico Pharmacol. 2015 Mar 22;3:4. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  7. EMEA. Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC). Assessment report on Pimpinella anisum L., fructus and Pimpinella anisum L., aetheroleum. 2013 Full text (in our servers)
  8. Winterfeld U, Meyer Y, Panchaud A, Einarson A. Management of deficient lactation in Switzerland and Canada: a survey of midwives' current practices. Breastfeed Med. 2012 Aug;7:317-8. Abstract
  9. Forinash AB, Yancey AM, Barnes KN, Myles TD. The use of galactogogues in the breastfeeding mother. Ann Pharmacother. 2012 Oct;46(10):1392-404. Abstract
  10. Mannion C, Mansell D. Breastfeeding self-efficacy and the use of prescription medication: a pilot study. Obstet Gynecol Int. 2012;2012:562704. Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  11. ABM. Academy Of Breastfeeding Medicine Protocol Committee. ABM Clinical Protocol #9: Use of galactogogues in initiating or augmenting the rate of maternal milk secretion (First Revision January 2011). Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  12. Muresan M. Successful relactation--a case history. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract
  13. ABM. Comité de Protocolos de la Academia Médica de Lactancia Materna. ABM Protocolo Clínico #9: Uso de Galactogogos para Iniciar o aumentar la tasa de secreción de Leche Materna. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  14. Dennehy C, Tsourounis C, Bui L, King TL. The use of herbs by california midwives. J Obstet Gynecol Neonatal Nurs. 2010 Nov-Dec;39(6):684-93. Abstract
  15. Abdulrazzaq YM, Al Kendi A, Nagelkerke N. Soothing methods used to calm a baby in an Arab country. Acta Paediatr. 2009 Abstract
  16. Hausner H, Bredie WL, Mølgaard C, Petersen MA, Møller P. Differential transfer of dietary flavour compounds into human breast milk. Physiol Behav. 2008 Sep 3;95(1-2):118-24. Abstract
  17. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 3. p 338-348. WHO monographs. 2007 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  18. Ayers JF. The use of alternative therapies in the support of breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2000 Abstract
  19. Zava DT, Dollbaum CM, Blen M. Estrogen and progestin bioactivity of foods, herbs, and spices. Proc Soc Exp Biol Med. 1998 Abstract
  20. Rosti L, Nardini A, Bettinelli ME, Rosti D. Toxic effects of a herbal tea mixture in two newborns. Acta Paediatr. 1994 Jun;83(6):683. No abstract available. Abstract
  21. Nóbrega S, Francenely N. [Aniseed and its galactogenous effect (an experimental study)]. Rev Bras Enferm. 1983 Abstract

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