Anise and Breastfeeding

Herbs Jan 5, 2021

What is Anise Seed?

Anise (Pimpinella anisum), sometimes called aniseed, is an herb from the Apiaceae (parsley) family, which is native to the eastern Mediterranean.

This licorice flavor herb has been used in cooking as well as medicine for decades.

The Anise seeds contain anethole, which is a Phytoestrogen. This means it has estrogen-like effects.

Please do not confuse Anise seed with Star Anise. The consumption of Star Anise should be avoided when pregnant and/or breastfeeding.

What can you use Anise for?

  • Treating clogged ducts and other problems in the milk glands, by maintaining a constant milk flow.
  • Increasing breast milk supply.
  • Treat menstrual discomfort and pain.
  • Ease childbirth.
  • Increase your sex drive. Read more about sex and breastfeeding here.
  • Anise water can be given to babies to relieve gassiness. Get the recipe here.
  • Decreases colic symptoms in babies via the breast milk.

What Part to Use?

The flower of the Anise plant can be picked when the seeds form. The seeds are then separated from the flower and easily dried on trays.

The other parts of the plant (leaves and stems) can also be used, but the seeds have higher volumes of the precious properties (oils) of the Anise. Thus the seeds are most often used.

How much to Consume?

  • To boost low milk supply: Take about 6 teaspoons of Anise seeds each day for the first 4 to 6 days. Continue regular dosing after that.  Always remember that each and every person reacts differently to the herb. Keep an eye on the effects Anise has on you and your baby.
  • To keep milk supply constant: Consume at least 3 teaspoons of Anise daily.

Ways to use Anise

  • Anise Tea: Take a teaspoon crushed Anise seed and add to a cup of boiling water. Let it steep for 10 minutes. Dosage: 1 to 2 cups per day
  • Anise Oil: The Anise oil can be used in cooking or baking.
  • Syrup: Anise syrup is used mostly for the relief of coughs or congestion. If you’re not a tea person, then a spoon of Anise syrup is just as beneficial as it contains all of its precious properties. Dosage: Take 1 to 3 spoons of Anise syrup, up to three times per day.
  • Cooking and baking: The sweet flavor of Anise has been used in cooking and baking for decades. The seeds can be used as a whole or even crushed. The mild licorice taste of Anise seeds enhanced the sweetness in pastries, cakes or cookies. When cooking, you can combine Anise with cinnamon, which compliments it very well. Dosage: You’ll have to follow the recipe or just trust your taste buds.
  • Tincture: Tinctures are a concentrated form of the herb, which has an extended shelf life of several years. Vodka is used to aid in the release of the essential components. Do not worry about the alcohol intake, as it will be in such small amounts that it is not harmful at all. Dosage: 20 to 40 drops can be taken up to 3 times per day, directly under the tongue or in juice or even water.
  • Used externally as a compress: You can soak a cloth with warm Anise tea and put it on any area to relieve pain, like your tummy, breasts or even your eye.
  • Anise Seed Milk: Drop a teaspoon Anise seed in a warm glass of milk.
herbal tea bags
Photo by Gareth Hubbard / Unsplash

Other Uses:

  • Chew Anise seeds in the morning for fresh breath.
  • Suck on Anise seeds for a sore throat. It’s perfect as lozenges.
  • Prepare a bath with some Anise seed. It’s perfect for rashes, bites, infections, cuts, and headaches.
  • Interesting tip: You can use Anise seeds in a mouse trap. They love the flavor. But be careful if you have a dog or cat. They also love Anise.

Anise Seed Recipes

Aniseed Rusks


4 cups cake flour
1 ½ teaspoons salt
1 cup butter
30 ml whole anise seeds
20g instant yeast
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 large egg
3 ½ cups water

Note: It can be a bit tricky to tell you how much Rusks to consume to increase your milk supply. Keep in mind that you can combine all the different ways of consuming Anise. If you prefer eating the Anise, instead of drinking tea, feel free to do so. I would recommend consumption three times a day. You may take a few Anise rusks at breakfast, Anise tea in the afternoon and maybe a glass of milk with Anise seeds at bedtime.


Mix flour and salt. Rub the butter into the flour, until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Mix the Anise seeds, sugar and yeast.

Lightly whisk water and eggs together with a hand whisk. Add to flour mixture and mix until combined.

Knead mixture until elastic. Cover dough with cling film and let it rest in a warm place until double the size.

Shape the dough into balls, without handling it too much and put them in a smeared bread tin and let sit until it's risen to the edge of the tin.

Bake for 45 minutes at 180 °C.

When finished baking, remove from tin to cool down thoroughly.

Do not cut with a knife!

Break pieces apart and dry out on an oven pan at 100 °C.

Anise oil


¼ cup Anise seeds (coarsely ground)
1 cup Coconut oil

Note: Store in refrigerator and use within 1 month.

For increased breast milk, use in proximity of dosing mentioned above. Make sure you take the same amount as 3 teaspoons Anise seed per day. One teaspoon of Anise will be the same as about 25 ml Anise oil.


Add the Anise seeds and oil in a pot.

Boil on medium heat for about 10 minutes, while stirring regularly. Let the oil mixture cool down.

Transfer the mixture into a glass bottle and put into the fridge for 2 weeks.

Strain the Anise oil through a sieve and pour into a clean, airtight oil bottle.

Anise and Breastfeeding Warnings

  • Consuming a lot of Anise does not have any serious side effects, but high doses can cause nausea and vomiting.
  • The intake of Anise can have an influence (reducing the efficiency) on some medications such as birth control pills and other Estrogen medication, as it acts like the hormone Estrogen.
  • The use of Anise (with its Estrogen-like properties) can affect people with a hormone-sensitive condition, such as breast cancer, uterine cancer, ovarian cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.
  • Stick to dosing, except if specified otherwise by a healthcare professional.
  • Allergies: Allergies might occur in people who are allergic to the same plant family such as asparagus, caraway, celery, coriander, cumin, dill, and fennel.

Lactogenic Foods


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