Fructus Anethi , Herbal Medicine

Fructus Anethi consists of the dried ripe fruits of Anethum graveolens L.
(Apiaceae) (1, 2).

Pastinaca anethum Spreng., Peucedanum graveolens Benth. & Hook.,
Selinum anethum Roth (1, 3). Apiaceae are also known as Umbelliferae.

Selected vernacular names
Aneth, anethum, bo-baluntshep, dill, Dill-Fenchel, eneldo, faux anis
aneth, fenouil batard, fenouil puant, garden dill, Gartendill, hinan, inondo,
jirashi, kapor, kerwiya amya, koper, sadapa, sadhab el barr, satakuppa,
satakuppi, sathukuppa, satpushpa, shabat, shabath, shatapuspi, shebet,
shebid, sheved, shevid, shi ra ja, shibth, sibt, slulpha, soolpha, sova, sowa,
s-sebt, suva, sulpha, sutopsha, thian ta takkataen, zira (1, 4–9).

Geographical distribution
Indigenous to southern Europe. Cultivated widely throughout the world

An aromatic annual or biennial herb, 40–120 cm high, with an erect hollow
green stem, branching above. Leaves glaucous, tripinnate, with linear
leafl ets. Infl orescence umbellate with 15–30 rays; bracts and bracteoles
absent; fl owers yellow. Fruits deep brown, fl attened, oval, with protruding
clear back ribs with sharp edges .

Plant material of interest: dried ripe fruits

General appearance
Mericarps separate, broadly oval, chocolate-brown, each dorsally compressed,
3–4 mm long, 2–3 mm wide and 1 mm thick, the ratio of length to width being approximately 1.6:1.0; two ventral ridges prolonged into
wide yellowish membranous wings; three dorsal ridges, brown, inconspicuous.
Transversely cut surface of the fruit surface shows six vittae,
four in the dorsal and two in the commissural side; fi ve vascular bundles,
three in the ridges and two in the wings, those in the wings being wider
than those in the ridges .

Organoleptic properties
Odour: characteristic, aromatic; taste: characteristic, pleasant .

Microscopic characteristics
Mericarp has four vittae in the dorsal and two in the commissural side.
Outer epidermis has a striated cuticle. Mesocarp contains lignifi ed, reticulate
parenchyma. Inner epidermis composed of tabular cells frequently
with wavy walls, tabular cells all parallel (e.g. parquet arrangement).
Thick-walled parenchyma of the endosperm contains fi xed oil, aleurone
grains and microrosette crystals of calcium oxalate (1, 4, 14, 15).

Powdered plant material
Greyish-brown powder characterized by fragments of pericarp with a
few brownish pieces of vittae. Outer epidermis has striated cuticle. Mesocarp
fragments show lignifi ed reticulate parenchyma, inner epidermis,
tabular cells frequently wavy walled, numerous fragments of endosperm;
aleurone grains, fi xed oil and microrosette crystals of calcium oxalate (1).

General identity tests
Macroscopic and microscopic examinations (1, 2), and thin-layer chromatography

Purity tests

Tests for specifi c microorganisms and microbial contamination limits are
as described in the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal
plants (16).

Not less than 3.0% essential oil (2).

Foreign organic matter
Not more than 2.0% (1).

Total ash
Not more than 11.0% (1).

Acid-insoluble ash
Not more than 1.5% (2).

Water-soluble extractive
Not less than 15.0% (2).

Alcohol-soluble extractive
Not less than 4.0% (2).

Pesticide residues
The recommended maximum limit of aldrin and dieldrin is not more than
0.05 mg/kg (17). For other pesticides, see the European pharmacopoeia
(17), and the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal
plants (16) and pesticide residues (18).
Heavy metals
For maximum limits and analysis of heavy metals, consult the WHO
guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plants (16).

Radioactive residues
Where applicable, consult the WHO guidelines on quality control methods
for medicinal plants (16) for the analysis of radioactive isotopes.

Other purity tests
Loss on drying test to be established in accordance with national requirements.

Chemical assays
Contains not less than 2.0% essential oil (1). Gas chromatography (19)
and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (20) methods for essential
oil constituents are also available.

Medicinal uses

Uses supported by clinical data

Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents
Treatment of dyspepsia (25), gastritis and fl atulence (1, 26), and stomach
ache (27).

Uses described in traditional medicine
As an aphrodisiac, analgesic, antipyretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, galactagogue,
appetite stimulant and vaginal contraceptive. Treatment of diarrhoea,
asthma, neuralgia, dysuria, dysmenorrhoea, gallbladder disease,
insomnia, hiatus hernia and kidney stones (9, 26–29).

Experimental pharmacology

Antispasmodic and carminative activities
A 50% ethanol extract of Fructus Anethi inhibited acetylcholine- and histamine-
induced contractions of guinea-pig ileum in vitro (30). The essential
oil, 50 mg/ml, reduced contractions of rabbit intestine (31). The essential
oil (containing the monoterpenes and phenylpropanes: dillapiol,
myristicin and isomyristicin) (concentration not specifi ed) acted as a mild
carminative and stomachic (32). The essential oil had carminative activity
and reduced foaming in vitro, median effective concentration 2.0% (33).

Miscellaneous effects
Intravenous administration of 12.5 mg/kg bw of a 70% dried ethanol extract
of the fruits, dissolved in normal saline, to dogs had a diuretic effect,
with a 2.2-fold increase in urine output. Intravenous administration of
25.0 mg/kg bw of a 70% ethanol extract to dogs reduced blood pressure.
Intravenous administration of 4.0 μl/kg bw of the essential oil induced
diuresis in dogs lasting 80 minutes, with increased sodium and calcium ion
excretion (36). Intravenous administration of 5.0–10.0 mg/kg bw of a 5%
seed oil in saline to cats increased respiration volume and lowered blood
pressure; intraperitoneal administration of 35.0 mg/kg bw of the seed oil
to guinea-pigs induced anaphylactic shock (11). A single intragastric dose
of 250.0 mg/kg bw of a 50% ethanol extract of the fruits to fasted rats reduced
blood glucose levels by 30% compared with controls (30).

In a report by a national regulatory authority “generally regarded as safe
status” was granted to Fructus Anethi as a fl avouring agent in 1976 (37).

Clinical pharmacology
No information available.

Adverse reactions
Allergic reactions to Fructus Anethi including oral pruritus, tongue and
throat swelling and urticaria, as well as vomiting and diarrhoea were reported
in one patient with a history of allergic rhinitis (38).

Traditionally, extracts of fruits (seeds) have been used as a contraceptive
and to induce labour (4). Furthermore, extracts of the fruits may have
teratogenic effects (39). Therefore, the use of Fructus Anethi during pregnancy
and nursing is not recommended.

No information available.
Fructus Anethi
WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants


Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility
A chloroform–methanol (2:1) extract of the fruits was not mutagenic in
concentrations up to 100.0 mg/plate in the Salmonella/microsome assay
using S. typhimurium strains TA98 and TA100, with or without metabolic
activation. A 95% ethanol extract was also without mutagenic activity
in the same test system (40).
An essential oil prepared from the fruits was cytotoxic to human lymphocytes
in vitro, and was active in the chromosome aberration and sister
chromatid exchange tests in the same system. The oil was inactive in the
Drosophila melanogaster somatic mutation and recombination test in vivo

Pregnancy: non-teratogenic effects
See Contraindications.

Nursing mothers
See Contraindications.

Other precautions
No information available on general precautions or precautions concerning
drug interactions; drug and laboratory test interactions; teratogenic
effects during pregnancy; or paediatric use.

Dosage forms
Dried fruits for teas, essential oil and other galenical preparations for internal
applications. Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and

(Unless otherwise indicated)
Average daily dose: Fructus Anethi 3 g; essential oil 0.1–0.3 g; or equivalent
for other preparations (25).

1. African pharmacopoeia. Vol. 1. Lagos, Organization of African Unity, Scientifi
c, Technical and Research Commission, 1985.
2. The Ayurvedic pharmacopoeia of India. Part I. Vol. II. New Delhi, Ministry
of Health and Family Welfare, Department of Indian System of Medicine
and Homeopathy, 1999.
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[Dictionary of plant names in Latin, French, English and Arabic.] Beirut,
Dar al-Raed al-Arabi, 1991.
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and Wilkins, 1939.
5. Youngken HW. Textbook of pharmacognosy, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA,
Blakiston, 1950.
6. Zahedi E. Botanical dictionary. Scientifi c names of plants in English, French,
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Economics Co., 1998.
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15. Wallis TE. Textbook of pharmacognosy, 4th ed. London, J & A Churchill,
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Organization, 1998.
17. European pharmacopoeia, 3rd ed. Strasbourg, Council of Europe, 1996.
18. Guidelines for predicting dietary intake of pesticide residues, 2nd rev. ed.
Geneva, World Health Organization, 1997 (WHO/FSF/FOS/97.7; available
from Food Safety, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland).
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essential oil by sensory analysis and gas chromatography. Journal of Agricultural
and Food Chemistry, 1995, 43:1307–1309.
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Journal of the Indian Institute of Science, Series A, 1925, 8:143–188.
Fructus Anethi
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