Aniseed myrtle is considered a “functional” food as it has displayed varying levels of antioxidant activities and anti-microbial activities . These activities can be attributed to two main components found in the plant – anethole and methyl chavicol (citral). The herb has been used traditionally as a sedative and a stimulant for coughs as anethole has been shown to break down respiratory tract secretions. Anethole rich plants such as the Anisata tree are traditionally used by Indigenous Australians as a treatment for digestive problems such as belching, hiccupping and persistent epigastric (upper abdomen) pain. Research additionally has shown that anethole has anti-inflammatory properties. Citral is known to have strong anti-microbial properties.
RIRDC funded research has shown that extracts of aniseed myrtle inhibited the growth of foodborne pathogens such as the cholera-causing bacterium Vibrio cholerae amongst others . The same research also showed that extracts of anisata displayed mild antioxidant activities.
These functionalities ensure that this herb is perfect as a culinary herb as it requires no 'aids' to such as chemical fumigation or irradiation to be safe to eat (as some non-Indigenous herbs and spices do) while delivering some precious phytochemicals as well.