Green anise (Pimpinelle anisum) is an annual, sometimes biennial, herb plant that is very fragrant and ornamental.
Native to the Mediterranean area and to Egypt, aniseed was grown by the Egyptians over 4000 years ago and is already famous for its digestive properties.
Today, green anise has many therapeutic applications.
Health benefits of aniseed for the body
- Known for its antispasmodic properties, aniseed is great to treat difficult digestion, bloating and aerophagia. Aniseed infusions, ½ oz (15 g) seeds for 1 quart (1 liter) water, drunk several times a day or after meals, clearly facilitates digestion.
- Green anise helps reduce nervous dyspeptic disorders such as contractions of digestive organs, palpitations, vertigo, and the feeling of oppression that would hit after meals.
- Aniseed increases the appetite, calms migraines and preps you up to fight off overall tiredness.
- Its relaxing activity makes aniseed a great remedy against asthma, lung congestion, pharyngitis and bronchitis. Inhalations of aniseed essential oil are also very effective against cough and all the symptoms of common colds.
- If you’re nursing, you’ll be pleased to learn that aniseed is an effective galactagogue. It increases breast milk production and also reduces infant diarrhea.
- Green anise essential oil is used to treat irregular menstruation and the entire range of menstrual disorders.
- Be careful, if used in excessive amounts, green anise essential oil has been shown to be detrimental to the nervous system. It can lead to nausea, vomiting and convulsions.
Growing aniseed for its health benefits
It’s very easy to grow aniseed, a few simple steps are all you need to follow for this annual.
- Plant your green anise in full sun, it requires heat! The soil, on the other hand, must be light, contain a lot of humus, and stay cool.
- Sow from April to May and cover the seeds thinly. They’ll sprout in only ten days.
- Aniseed seeds have a lifespan of only three years when stored well. Upon sowing, favor using the most recent seeds from your collection.
- It is possible to grow aniseed in pots and containers larger than 10 inches (25 cm) in size, but it will grow smaller than in the open field.
Cooking with aniseed for its health benefits
- Aniseed seeds are part of a great many pastries and sweets. They’re used, for example, in preparing gingerbread and also are a delicious seasoning for duck and fish.
- Green anise is also the most critical ingredient in typical Mediterranean drinks like French pastis, Turkish raki and Greek ouzo.
- Infusions prepared from aniseed are very fragrant and will help you digest after heavy meals.
- Avoid purchasing large quantities of aniseed, they don’t keep very well and will quickly lose their flavor.
Credits for images shared to Nature & Garden (all edits by Gaspard Lorthiois):
Honeybee on aniseed flower shared by Gaueko under © CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Green anise seeds shared by Ajale under © CC0 1.0
Aniseed cookie shared by “Hedonistin” under © CC BY-NC 2.0