Anise seed has ever been valued for its culinary and medicinal properties

Pimpinella anisum (Latin name for the plant) belongs to the Parsley family and is related to Caraway, Cumin, Fennel and Dill. It is native to the Mediterranean region. Initially anise seed was cultivated by the Egyptians as an important cash crop. Later on the Greeks carried over the cultivation and everyday application of this plant. However, it is cultivated in many areas of the world, such as Asia, Europe, North Africa, etc. What it requires for better growth is warm and frost free climate. Supplementary fertilization is very favorable and results in greater quantity of fruit, then used for numerous purposes. It is a real challenge to list all the illnesses cured by anise seed and anise oil during the long and eventful history of its application. Suffice it to say that its roots go back to the ancient times. The delicate fragrance is made use of in numerous anise recipes. It adds a special shade of taste to soups, desserts, candy, cookies, cakes, pies, and other kinds of pastry.

An average plant of anise grows up to 0,5 meters in height. What is the peculiar characteristic of this plant is that the leaves are arranged symmetrically on both sides. The Latin name of it is thought to stem from this fact. The plant is characterized by a strong fragrance, and it is the fruit, with brown-grey oval seed, that is especially rich in anise oil.

Anise oil in its turn contains a large amount of anethole, accompanied by other substances, which all together create a remarkable healing ensemble. The following ones are to be mentioned among other chemical constituents of anise oil : protein, mucilage, fatty acids, estragol, starch, choline, furanocoumarins.

One is not likely to argue that anise seed is a very special and valuable plant. This conclusion can be made basing solely on its inimitable fragrance. Its medical characteristics taken into consideration, it seems that anise seed is a true godsend to mankind. From time immemorial it has been an inseparable part of human everyday life.

It is curious to note that various nations applied the special qualities of anise plant in their own way. Some used it solely for culinary purposes, like for example Indians did, others resorted to it in case of certain illnesses, like Romans did, and nowadays others were added to these major fields of application of anise seed.

The reason why this plant is highly valued in medical circles is far from being mysterious. The following are only a few cases, in which anise seed can prove to be useful: its wonderful aroma is sure to chase away bad dreams and prevent insomnia, it can improve digestion, lessen epileptic attacks, protect from infections, assist milk production, cure colic pains. Medicine based on anise seed is commonly used as expectorants in case of dry irritable coughs, which inevitably leads to alleviation and complete recovery.

This list of medical applications of anise seed is far from being complete. It might be that more healing powers of anise seed are yet to be discovered. When symptoms of infant catarrh, flatulence or menopause manifest themselves, anise seed is the remedy to turn to. It has proved to be a good idea to sew the dry anise seed in the pillow or tie up a sachet with the dry substance in the area of sleeping. The magical qualities of anise seed will make sure that you sleep snugly and soundly all through the night, not bothered by any nightmares. This fact is accounted for by the pacifying and relaxing effect produced by the unique fragrance of anise seed on the human body and mind.

However, when it comes to anise seed not only the healing properties of its own are employed, but it is also used to add pleasant flavor to unpleasant medicines. And still, the fields of anise seed application do not end here. In certain areas, like India, it is used in water as cologne. Due to its inimitably fresh aroma, anise seed is quite frequently used in mouthwashes and toothpastes. It stands to reason that anise-scented soaps are also not a rare occurrence. In this case double effect is achieved - not only you do get a deliciously scented soap, but also its medical positive properties are sure to favorably affect your skin.

The special fragrance of anise seed taken into account, it is quite understandable why it is so often used for culinary purposes. Anise recipes are quite numerous. It is absolutely impossible to list here all the dishes, in which anise seed appears to be one of the essential ingredients. To name a few: sweet breads, cakes, pies, soups, cookies, tomato sauce, pickles, etc. Fresh anise leaf is sure to add a peculiar shade of taste to salads, anise oil is used to flavor certain kinds of candy. The licorice-like flavor makes anise seed an essential constituent part of various liquors. The healing property of anise seed is acknowledged in the recipe of after meal digestive cake, which is sure to assist digestion as well as please with delicious taste.

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