Origin: Anise natively belongs to Eastern Mediterrean and West Asia. In Biblical times, anise was considered so valuable and was highly prized that is was used as a form of currency. Romans served it after meals to avoid indigestion. It was so highly prized that it was often used for tithes, offerings and payment of taxes in Palestine. Anise has it’s mention in both the gospels of Luke and Mark. Anise has been in cultivation for over 2000 years now. It is believed that it was first cultivated in Egypt and Greece.
Later by the Middle age, it found its way into the Central Europe. Ancient people believed that Anise is an effective aphrodisiac and also prevented nightmares. They also believed that Anise helps in warding off the evil eye. They also believed that when anise is mixed with lard, it serves as an effective treatment for insect bites and other annoying skin irritations.
Scientifically: Anise is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae. It is botanically called Pimpinella anisum. The Anise plant reaches up to 0.75 metres (2.5 feet) of height. The leaves of the anise are usually near the base, which are long-stalked and simple, whereas the leaves on the stem are compound with shorter stalks.
Anise plant also have white yellow flowers and the fruit of the plant is generally a dry fruit formed out of multiple carpels that separate and is ovoid in shape. It is about 3.5 mm (0.12 inch) long in size and has five longitudinal dorsal ridges. The word anise is derived from Latin anisum from Greek anison or anneson. It looks very similar to fennel seeds. The fragrance of anise is Sweet and slightly woody.
Usage: Anise is well known for digestive properties. 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 of cough, asthma, and bronchitis. Anise has a history of use as a spice and fragrance. The oil has been used commercially since the 1800s.
The fragrance is used in food, soap, creams, and perfumes. Anise often is added to licorice candy or used as a "licorice" flavor substitute. The essential oil is used medicinally as well as in perfume, soaps, and sachets.
Below are some DIYs with anise:
- Take a tablespoon of anise powder and add some water to make a thick paste. Apply this paste to your under eyes for 5-7 minutes. Rinse later. This helps in removing puffiness of the eyes and soothes them.
- Take a teaspoon of anise powder, add some honey and yogurt to make paste. Apply this mixture on the face and let it dry for 5-7 minutes. This helps in reducing the appearance of the acne and any other kind of inflammation.
- Take a cup of anise seeds and coarsely ground them. Add some water to thick paste. Apply this mixture on the affected cellulite area and gently massage for 15 minutes. This helps in reducing appearance of cellulite and stretch marks.
- Take 2 cups of water and boil them with 3 tablespoons of anise seeds. Once the mixture reduces to half. Remove from the burner and let it cool. Use this concoction on shampooed hair and leave it on for 10 minutes. Then thoroughly rinse your hair. This hair rinse adds strength to the hair roots and make them full of bounce.