Anise (/ˈænɪs/; Pimpinella anisum), also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, tarragon and liquorice. Anise in general usually refers to the seeds of a plant with aromatic leaves and stems. The seeds are used as a spice, either ground or whole.

Most common ways Anise is used in culinary dishes:

While the leaves of the anise plant can be used as an herb, it’s mainly the seeds that are used in cooking.  The seeds are used as a spice, either ground or whole. Aniseed is used in various baked goods and desserts. For example, Italian biscotti is made with anise extract.

Health Benefits of Anise

Anise is well known as a carminative and an expectorant. Its ability to decrease bloating and settle the digestive tract still is used today, especially in pediatrics. In high doses, it is used as an antispasmodic and an antiseptic and for the treatment ofcough, asthma, and bronchitis.  Consuming star anise tea after meals helps treat digestive ailments such as bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation. 

Other common uses for Anise as a dietary suppliment or treatment.

Drinking one glass of water infused with the crushed seeds of star anise at night can increase one’s sex drive!

Substitutions for Anise in Reciepes

A few other seeds, like star anise, fennel seeds, and caraway seeds can be used to replace aniseeds in a recipe. The flavor of these seeds closely resemble the smell of anise seeds. Those looking for a less expensive substitute of aniseeds can go for star anise seeds.

Storage Tips for Anise 

Like all spices, star anise should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and light. Whole stars will stay fresh for about two years; ground star anise lasts about one year. To check the freshness of a whole star, break off a point and squeeze it until the seed pops.

Properly stored, anise seed will generally stay at best quality for about 3 to 4 years.

When harvesting fresh the leaves can be frozen for future use.

Our standard word of caution….

As with anything.  Every person and body is different.  Interactions are not likely but depending on diet, other suppliments or medicines taken one shouldnt blindly ingest Anise.  Though reactions or concerns are highly unlikely it is recommended and just plain good advice to consult with your doctor prior to using, trying or adding to your routine.  A little moderation is usually best and overdoing anything isnt good for you.