The Health Benefits of Anise
Anise is an annual herb that grows up to eighteen inches in height. Though native to Egypt and the Mediterranean region, it is now being grown all over the world. Its flowers are small, yellowish white and grow in umbels, whereas the leaves are feather shaped. The fruit of anise is oblong and grayish white in color. It is this part that has a wide variety of medicinal as well as culinary uses. In fact, its use dates as far back as the ancient era.
Different periods of time saw anise being used for different purposes. For instance, in the seventh century, anise was used as a remedy for curing coughs and also the Romans used it to control bad breath. In the sixteenth century, owing to its feathery appearance, it was used often as bait to trap mice. Due to its popularity, anise was listed as a taxable drug in the
Even today, anise is a very widely used herb. It is especially known for its digestive properties. Anise seeds are consumed after meals to help in the process of digestion. If crushed and added to tea, not only does it enhance the flavor, but also works as a digestive and helps relieve the problem of flatulence.
Anise, due to its antimicrobial properties, is found in a lot of over the counter remedies. The oil extracted from anise seeds is used as an expectorant. It relieves congestion by working on the secretary cells in the respiratory tract.
Though anise can be used to treat a wide range of medical conditions, a word of caution is in order. It is recommended that people with high blood pressure should not consume anise as it might exacerbate the condition, though there is no concrete scientific evidence for this.
Anise is also a popular culinary herb that is used extensively in cooking and liqueurs. Also, due to its fresh scent, it is often used as a herbal fragrance in aroma therapy. Moreover, anise is added to oral hygiene products like toothpaste and mouthwash in order to enhance their flavor and effectiveness.
Back in the ancient times, the Romans used anise to make scented oils and soaps. Perhaps the tradition of wedding cakes can be traced back to the Roman period when anise tea and cake were served after a wedding feast.
Anise Health Benefits
If you lived in the 16th century you would think mice if you heard the word anise. The feathery appearance of the leaves attracted mice like cheese. In the 7th century it was used for coughs, the Romans used it to cure bad breath, in the 14th century a tax was levied on the herb due to its popularity.
The flower of anise is a small yellowish white petal umbel. The part of the herb that is used in both culinary and medicinal applications is the fruit which is a flat, oval seed that is gray to brown in color.
Native only to Egypt and the Mediterranean region, this herb has a long reputation of being a digestive aid. It is now cultivated in almost every region of the world. A simple tea made of the the crushed seeds works well to not only aid in digestion but stop the flatulence that sometimes is associated. It is a pleasant way to end any meal.
It is also used as an expectorant and mild antimicrobial which is why today in many of the over the counter products, one of the main ingredients is anise. It is the essential oil of the seed that has proven to react on the secretory cells of the respiratory tract. The flavor of anise is licorice which gives the medicinal benefits an added bonus.
It should be noted that although not proven scientifically, those with high blood pressure should avoid anise. In some people it has been shown to increase the blood pressure.
For the most part however, this herb is used as a flavoring in culinary dishes as well as in liqueurs.
It is a great herb for aromatic therapy. It was widely cultivated by the Romans for its fragrance and was used in soaps, oils, and mouth fresheners. Take whole seeds and place them in a sachet to flood your senses of the light fragrance. The seeds are ground up often and added to natural toothpastes and mouthwashes to aid in the flavoring.
Some believe that the tradition of the wedding cake in history relates back to anise. After a wedding feast anise tea and cake was served by the Romans.
Another interesting fact that is not well known about anise is that as catnip is to cats, anise is to dogs.