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Anise - Pimpinella anisumAnise seed brewed into an herbal tea can help relieve congestion from allergies, colds, or flu, and settle upset stomach with gas. Many herbalists note that the herb is it is also an antiseptic, antispasmodic, and soporific and that a few seeds taken with water will often cure hiccups.
Anise can be used to relieve menstrual cramps.
In addition to its culinary applications, Anise has traditionally been used for relieving indigestion, nausea, & bloating. Due to its naturally sweet taste, Anise is commonly enjoyed as a delightful after-dinner tea for encouraging proper digestion.
Another centuries-old use for Anise, includes its application for quieting coughs and supporting respiratory function, so you can breathe easier. The Greeks use teas from this herb for asthma and other respiratory ailments. It contains helpful chemicals , creosol and alpha-pinene, that help loosen bronchial secretions.
For culinary purposes, this "licorice-flavored" spice whether whole or ground is perfect for cookies, cakes & pastries. Anise's sweet, spicy taste also makes it a great addition to curry, pickles or any dish that calls for dill or cumin.
Anise is a dainty, white-flowered urnbelliferous annual, about 18 inches high, with secondary feather-like leaflets of bright green, hence its name (of mediaeval origin), Pimpinella, from dipinella, or twicepinnate, in allusion to the form of the leaves.
In this country Anise has been in use since the fourteenth century, and has been cultivated in English gardens from the middle of the sixteenth century, but it ripens its seeds here only in very warm summers, and it is chiefly in warmer districts that it is grown on a commercial scale, Southern Russia, Bulgaria, Germany, Malta, Spain, Italy, North Africa and Greece producing large quantities. It has also been introduced into India and South America. The cultivated plant attains a considerably larger size than the wild one.
In the East Anise was formerly used with other spices in part payment of taxes. 'Ye pay tithe of Mint, Anise and Cummin,' we read in the 23rd chapter of St. Matthew, but some authorities state that Anise is an incorrect rendering and should have been translated 'Dill.'
In Virgil's time, Anise was used as a spice. Mustacae, a spiced cake of the Romans introduced at the end of a rich meal, to prevent indigestion, consisted of meal, with Anise, Cummin and other aromatics. Such a cake was sometimes brought in at the end of a marriage feast, and is, perhaps, the origin of our spiced wedding cake.
On the Continent, especially in Germany, many cakes have an aniseed flavouring, and Anise is also used as a flavouring for soups.It is largely employed in France, Spain Italy and South America in the preparation of cordial liqueurs. The liqueur Anisette added to cold water on a hot summer's day, makes a most refreshing drink.