We're big fans of natural insomnia remedies, so we're always on the lookout for new ones to share with you.
Recently we thought we'd stumbled across one we hadn't seen mentioned before: aniseed.
A book published in 2004, Illicium, Pimpinella and Foeniculum, mentions anise as a potential sedative.
The book states that the Romans used anise as a sedative for nervousness and to induce sleep. It also says that one of the active ingredients (trans-anethole) was found to increase drowsiness and double sleep time in an experiment conducted on rabbits. 
Furthermore, according to research undertaken in the 1960s and 1970s, trans-anethole can lower body temperature and have hypnotic effects. 
Now for the bad news: the book Illicium, Pimpinella and Foeniculum goes on to mention that side-effects can include seizures in humans and catatonic states and death in mice.
Perhaps this is why the Council of Europe limits the acceptable daily intake of trans-anethole to just 1.5mg per kg. 
Hardly sounds like something we should be experimenting with, then - and it adds further weight to our argument that just because something is 'natural', that doesn't mean it's safe.
For more reading, hit the source links below.
Last updated: November 6, 2012