Anise is a flowering plant whose oil has an odd smell. It is sweet and woodsy... and smells a little bit like licorice at first. Anise Seed Essential Oil is acquired through steam distillation of dried (and crushed) seeds. The plant itself can be used in culinary (some root beers) and medicinal practices. Anise (plant) is also used as a digestive after meals in India.
Anise (oil) can be used to aid menstrual cramping because it is an antispasmodic. It also has estrogen-like effects, which is most likely why usage of Anise is advised against during pregnancy. Oh and it may be an eye/skin irritant so it is recommended not to apply neat. Just thought I would throw that in and remind everyone that essential oils are not for prolonged use. Take a break :)
The oil is very warm and invigorating and is thought by many to replenish Qi (chi). Anise seed oil is used interchangeably with Star Anise. Which I found interesting because in India as an herb Anise is very similar to fennel, in India they are both called saunf.
An odd but interesting fact is that is can be used while hunting and fishing. You can place oil on fishing lures to attract fish. It was friendly called the fisherman's friend and it is said that it would remove all traces of the human scent. Thus making it easier to lure them in. Has anyone tried this? I would LOVE confirmation on this one. I just recently discovered this fact and I am quite astounded. I live in a small fishing community and I've never heard tell of this one. I plan on asking around!