• Pimpinella anisum, or better and more commonly known as anise or star anise, is a flower commonly used as a spice. It is a member of the family Apiaceae and has a sweet candy-like taste similar to black licorice. It has a strong similarity, especially in taste, to things like cumin, dill, and even fennel. Anise is native to Crete, Egypt, and Greece, and there is evidence of anise use in Egypt as early as 1500 B.C. The early Arabic name for anise was anysum, which derived from the Latin anisun and the Greek anison. Did you know that in the Bible in the book of Matthew it is stated that tithe was paid with anise?
• Anise plants typically grow anywhere from 18 inches to 3 feet high. The plant has white dainty flowers that only grow to about 1/8 of an inch in diameter. The flowers grow out in a umbel shape, meaning that a number of connected short stems all branch out at a common point to make an almost upside down umbrella shape. Anise plants have two different types of leaves, the base leaves are long and shallow lobed, growing anywhere from 3/8 to 2 inches long. Higher up on the plant, the leaves are feathery. The anise plant also has a fruit called the aniseed that typically grows 1/8 to 1/4 inch long and is dry and oblong.
• Anise can be used in many different products and industries. While commonly used for food and beverage purposes, it can also be used for bath and body products, medicinal purposes, hair care, skin care, and soap making. Common products it can be used in are body wash, face tonics, massage oil, bath bombs, shampoos and conditioners, bath teas, foot scrubs, facial masks, bath salts, creams, ointments, and lotions. Did you know that steam locomotive builders used aniseed oil capsules in white metal plain bearings? The oils’ distinctive smell was used to signal overheating.
Food and Beverages
• One of the more common uses for anise is for culinary purposes. Aniseed oil can actually be added to many different kinds of alcohol, and is one of the key ingredients in a Mexican drink similar to hot chocolate, called champurrado. Anise is very similar to fennel and can be used as a substitute for it in some Indian dishes. It is also used to sweeten many vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pears. It can even be used to give a different flavor to foods like cookies and breads. Anise leaves can also be added to salads. The ancient Romans actually served aniseed flavored spice cakes called mustaceoe at the ends of meals to help the digestive system.
Bath and Body Products
• Anise can be used for many different industries and products. It can be used for hair care, skin care, many bath and body products, medicinal purposes, soap making, and even for foods and beverages. When used in the soap making process, anise is used as a gentle exfoliator and also gives the soap a nice natural color.
• Many common products that anise can be included in are bath bombs, bath teas, bath salts, conditioners and shampoos, ointments, creams, lotions, massage oil, face tonics, body wash, and foot scrubs.
• When used for its skin care benefits anise help to treat acne, oily skin, psoriasis, and spotted and damaged skin. It also helps to bring a beautiful glow to skin and keep it smooth and soft.
• There are also many hair benefits to the use of anise as well. It can help to repair damaged hair, bring moisture to dry hair, stimulate hair growth, and bring relief from flakes and dandruff. Anise also treats lice, scabies, and other scalp infections.
• There are many medical ailments that can be treated with anise or aniseed oil. It can treat seizures, constipation, asthma, runny nose, intestinal gas, coughs, insomnia, upset stomach, and even nicotine dependence. Anise has many antimicrobial, antiseptic, sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and carminative properties.
• For women, anise has many health benefits. It can help to treat menstrual cramps, start menstruation, ease the pain of childbirth, increase sex drive, and it also helps to increase milk flow during breastfeeding.
• Some men use anise as treatment for symptoms of male menopause. It can also stimulate appetite and increase urine flow.
• Anise helps to control the heartbeat, control blood pressure levels, and helps to reduce the pressure on the heart. It actually works as a natural analgesic.
• When wrapped in a warm cloth, anise seeds can be used as a compress to relieve eye pain.
• There are also some dental benefits to using anise. It can help to relieve tooth aches and the seeds can be chewed to help freshen your breath.
• Anise is actually poisonous to pigeons, but it has been used as bait for mouse traps.
• In Indian and Pakistani cultures, there is no distinction between fennel and anise. They are both called saunf.
• Nature’s Garden sells anise seed and anise essential oil for external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The information above talks about how great anise is for many industries, however we only sell it for external use. We provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using this product or any of this information for treatment purposes.