Anethole is the main fragrance and bioactive compound of anise, fennel, and star anise spices and more than other 20 plant species. It is widely used as flavor agent in food industry and other industries, in cosmetics, perfumery, and pharmaceuticals. In the last few years, various studies have revealed multiple beneficial effects of anethole for human health, such as anti-inflammatory, anticarcinogenic and chemopreventive, antidiabetic, immunomodulatory, neuroprotective, or antithrombotic, that are mediated by the modulation of several cell signaling pathways, mainly NF-kB and TNF-α signaling, and various ion channels. This chapter aims to review the scientific data and attempts to provide an insight into pharmacological activity of anethole and its therapeutic potential in human chronic diseases.
Keywords: AP-1 signaling pathways; Anethole; Anti-inflammatory; Anticarcinogenic; MAPK; NF-kB; STAT; TNF-α.