BOTANICAL NAME: Pimpinella anisum
FAMILY NAME: Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae)
Anise is a native of middle east. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who valued its medicinal properties and culinary uses. It was also known to the early Greeks and Romans. It is now cultivated in Europe, Asia, India and Mexico. It contains moisture, substantial amount of protien, fatty oil, crude fibre besides essential oils, sugars, starch and ash. It also contains choline.
Anise is an annual culinary herb belonging to azwain or celery family. Its fruit known as Aniseed is one of the oldest spices. The seed is ground grey to greyish brown in color, oval in shape and 3.2-4.8 mm in length. It has an agreeable odour and a pleasant taste. The Anise plant grows upto a height of 75 cms. It requires sunshine and warmth and does not grow satisfactorily in the tropical low lands.
Anise oil is a colorless or pale yellow liquid with the characteristic odour and taste of the fruit. This oil has now replaced the fruit for medicinal and flavouring purposes.
Medicinal uses of aniseed herb
Aniseed is esteemed in medicines for its properties to relieve flatulence and to remove catarrhal matter and phelgm from the bronchial tube. These properties are due to the presense of its essential oil. The seed also induces copious perspiration and increases the volume and discharge of urine.
Caraminative and pectoral, it is very useful against coughs and chest infections and is made into lozenges or smoked to clear the chest. Aniseed tea is good for infant catarrh, and aids digestion in adults. Anise seed is an ingredient of cathartic and aperient pills, to relieve flatulence and lessen the griping caused by purgative herbs. It can also be given in convulsions quite safely.