Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

What is Anise?

Biological Name: Pimpinella anisum

Names in Other Languages: Anisu, Magambu (Tamil), Shombu (Malayalam), Kuppi soptu (Telugu), Variyali (Gujarati), Saph (Bengali), Badishep, Shauf (Marathi), Sop, Juani (Oriya), Valaiti sounf (Punjabi), Anisuan (Urdu). Anise, Aniseed, Sweet Cumin, Chinese anise

Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

Anise is native to the eastern Mediterranean region, the Levant, Egypt and Southwest Asia. While being native to the Mediterranean area Anise is cultivated widely for its aromatic seeds and the oil from them used medicinally and as a flavoring in cookery.

Anise is an annual herb that grows 0.3 to 0.6 m and is cultivated widely throughout the world. The flowers are yellow, compound umbels and its leaves are feather shaped. The greenish-brown, ridged seeds are used for food or the drug. They are harvested when ripe in autumn. The seeds feature oblong or curved like comma shape, about 3-4 mm long, light brown color and fine stripes over its outer surface. Aniseed has an anethole-like odor and a sweet “licorice-like” aromatic taste, which has led to the traditional use of anise oils in licorice candy.

Anise has been a popular remedy here in North America for hundreds of years as carminative, a herb that relieves gas pains and bloating. Other traditional uses include colic, rheumatism, and the familiar licorice-flavor in cough drops.

Anise and the closely related fennel both contain anethol which has estrogenic properties. Both of these herbs have a folklore reputation as tonics for women who are nursing and want to increase milk production , or have menstrual problems like delayed or skimpy periods.

Anise in Liquor around the world

Anise is used to flavor Middle Eastern Arak, Colombian Aguardiente, French spirits Absinthe, Anisette and Pastis, Greek Ouzo, Bulgarian Mastika, German Jägermeister, Italian Sambuca, Dutch Brokmöpke, Peruvian And Spanish Anís, Mexican Xtabentún And Turkish Raki. In these liquors, it is clear, but on addition of water becomes cloudy, a phenomenon known as the Ouzo effect. Anise is believed to be one of the secret ingredients in the French liqueur Chartreuse. Anise is also used in some root beers, such as Virgil's in the United States.

Anise in history

Anise is one of the oldest known spice plants and has been used both for culinary and medicinal purposes since ancient times.

In ancient Chinese Traditional Medicine (CTM) as well as the Indian or Ayurvedic system of medicine, anise has assumed a very popular stature and its used in various herbal medications in both systems for many centuries now.

Egypt has cutivated Anise for at least 4,000 years, and some of the Pharaonic medical texts show that the anise seeds were used as an herbal diuretic. Such remedies were also used in the treatment of different digestive problems, and as a therapy to relieve toothache and pain.

Even the ancient Greeks were familiar with the medicinal use of this herb. Early in the 1st century AD, the Greek scientist, Dioscorides wrote that the anise "warms, dries and dissolves" various symptoms in the body, he said the anise "facilitates breathing, relieves pain, provokes urine and eases thirst" in patients affected by such symptoms. This herb also saw widespread and popular use in the renaissance period.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

To prevent indigestion and aid digestion, the Romans enjoyed anise-rich cakes, Mustacae, at the end of a rich meal. These cakes 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 tradition of spiced wedding cake.

In the 1300's, anise was listed by King Edward I as a taxable drug and merchants bringing Anise into London paid a toll to help raise funds to maintain and repair London Bridge.

Although, there are several varieties of the aniseed-with more or less similar properties, the most commonly known type of anise is the ash colored variety from Spain. Today, Anise is used in the manufacture of many commercial cough syrups and sore throat medications, used to flavor other medicines and to scent soaps and perfumes.

Anise is used in many forms for both culinary and medicinal purposes. Anise can be readily purchased as essential oils, extracts, powdered, and whole seed. The seeds quickly lose flavor, so buy seeds whole and grind them as needed, keep out of light, and in an airtight container. To form a refreshing herbal breath sweetener try roasting the whole seeds lightly before chewing.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

There are many reported health benefits of anise, some of which include the treatment of gastrointestinal disturbances, respiratory illnesses, and hormonal imbalances. This herb may also be used to reduce fluid retention or to treat insomnia. Some studies suggest that the use of anise oil may be useful in treating parasitic infestations such as lice or scabies. Those with oily skin may benefit from using soap or other cleansers that contain anise. While the benefits of taking anise are far greater than any possible negative side effects for most people, a doctor should be consulted before beginning any new treatment program.

Anise is anti-spasmodic in nature and is very effective in several situations or ailments caused by spasms, such as cramps, coughs, aches, diarrhea, nervous afflictions and convulsions.

Remedies derived from anise seeds are very commonly used with infants and children to induce relief from cases of colic, and these remedies are also given to people of all ages to help in relieving the symptoms associated with indigestion and nausea arising as a result of different reasons. Another beneficial effect of the anise seeds, mainly their antispasmodic properties are very helpful in effectively dealing with the symptoms of menstrual pain, with the discomfort during asthma attacks, in the treatment of the whooping cough, as well as in the treatment of other spasmodic coughs, and cases of bronchitis in different patients.

Anise contains several essential minerals like calcium, iron, copper, potassium, manganese zinc and magnesium. 100 g dry seeds contain 36.96 mg or 462% daily required levels of iron. Potassium present in anise is an important constituent of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.

Anise is rich in copper which is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome C-oxidase and superoxide dismutase. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required in the production of red blood cells.

Benefits And Nutrition Of Anise For Health

Anise oil has narcotic and sedative properties which help in calming down epileptic and hysteric attacks by slowing down the process of circulation, respiration and nervous response. Anise is also quite effective in sedating nervous afflictions, hyper reactions and convulsions.

Anise or anise oil has anti-septic properties and can be very effective in protecting against infections and septic. Anise further helps in accelerated healing of wounds.

Anise can provide immense relief from rheumatic and arthritic pains by stimulating blood circulation and reducing sensation of pain in the affected areas.

Anise is commonly used for promoting digestion. Anise seed oil obtained from extraction of the seeds is found application in many traditional medicines as stomachic, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic.

Anise has narcotic or numbing effects and can be used as a sedative for anxiety, nervous afflictions, depression, anger, stress etc. It is also used against insomnia due to its tranquilizing and relaxing effects.

The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of anise make it an effective mouthwash and it fights against bad breath and other oral inflammations.

The seeds are extremely beneficial for both men and women by increasing libido. They are useful for reducing menstrual pains, inducing menstruation and treating cardiovascular functions, frigidity and impotence.

Anise is a great stimulator as it helps in stimulating circulation and providing relief from rheumatism and arthritis. Anise also boosts the secretion of enzymes and hormones, thereby stimulating the whole metabolism. As such, it stimulates the nervous system and brain to make us more active and alert.

The oil from the anise plant is thought to contain anti-parasitic properties. For this reason, Anise is often used to treat external parasites such as scabies or lice. Patients with heavy infestations may need to see a doctor for stronger treatment options, as anise oil seems to work best on mild parasitic infestations.

Culinary Use

Adding Anise Seed to seafood stews will impart a unique Mediterranean flavor to fish and shellfish. Make a quick sauce for grilled fish by combining melted butter, toasted Anise Seed, lemon juice, and minced green onion.

Aniseed has a wide range of culinary applications, both sweet and savory. In the Middle East and India, anise is used in seasoning blends like as curry, hoisin. In Europe you can find Anise in soups and stews, and used to season sausage and pepperoni. Anise is also used to compliment duck, pork or fish, either alone or sometimes in combination with cinnamon and bay leaves. Anise is used in much the same way as fennel to flavor fish, poultry, soups and root vegetable dishes.

Anise is primarily associated with cakes, biscuits and confectionery, as well as rye breads. To add special flavor and texture to baked goods, brush rolls or sugar cookies with beaten egg white and sprinkle with Anise Seed before baking.

Anise is also used whole or crushed in cakes, cookies, pastries, sweet breads and candy. Italian biscotti and Springerle, a German cookie are traditionally flavored with Anise.

The licorice flavor complements eggs, fruit, cheese, pastries, cakes, and cookies. The leaves are used in salads or as a garnish and dried for teas

Star anise (which is generally used in Chinese dishes) has very similar ingredients and medicinal properties as Anise. Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) is a plant native to China which's seeds are also widely used in traditional medicine, and cooking.

Anise is available in tea, and the whole seeds are used in cooking. All foods containing anise are thought to offer some of the same benefits as the teas and capsules, although foods are generally less effective than supplementation.