Last update: March 22, 2018


Low Risk probable for breastfeeding

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

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 (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.

Fruits of this herb are used. Essential oil is composed basically by trans-anethol and Estragol with a mild estrogenic effect.

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 (EMA) 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.

Properties attributed but unproven are: anti-spasmodic, carminative and expectorant.

It has not been shown to improve milk production. The best method of milk production improvement should be mother's self-esteem reinforcement, frequent on-demand breastfeeding, appropriate breastfeeding technique and effective support to mothers willing to breastfeed their infants.


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:


Anise belongs to these groups or families:


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


  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. 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)
  4. 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)
  5. Muresan M. Successful relactation--a case history. Breastfeed Med. 2011 Abstract
  6. Perret C, Tabin R, Marcoz JP, Llor J, Cheseaux JJ. [Apparent life-threatening event in infants: think about star anise intoxication!]. Arch Pediatr. 2011 Abstract
  7. 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)
  8. Abdulrazzaq YM, Al Kendi A, Nagelkerke N. Soothing methods used to calm a baby in an Arab country. Acta Paediatr. 2009 Abstract
  9. WHO. World Health Organization. Geneva. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Volume 3. WHO monographs. 2007 Full text (link to original source) Full text (in our servers)
  10. Ayers JF. The use of alternative therapies in the support of breastfeeding. J Hum Lact. 2000 Abstract
  11. Rosti L, Nardini A, Bettinelli ME, Rosti D. Toxic effects of a herbal tea mixture in two newborns. Acta Paediatr. 1994 Abstract
  12. Nóbrega S, Francenely N. [Aniseed and its galactogenous effect (an experimental study)]. Rev Bras Enferm. 1983 Abstract

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