Anise (/ˈænɪs/ Pimpinella anisum), also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia.
Anise botanically belongs to the Apiaceae family in the genus Pimpinella and known scientifically as Pimpinella anisum. This little-known anise plant is native to Middle-East and Mediterranean region; probably originated on the fertile plains of Nile delta in the Egypt.
Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. It is widely cultivated and used to flavor food and alcoholic drinks, especially around the Mediterranean. It served as a carminative in herbal medicine.
Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavor. The seeds, whole or ground, are used for preparation of teas and tisanes (alone or in combination with other aromatic herbs), as well as in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including black jelly beans, British aniseed balls and “troach” drops, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernüsse and Springerle, Austrian Anisbögen, Dutch muisjes, New Mexican bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones. It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís and champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate, and it is taken as a digestive after meals in India.
The Ancient Romans often served spiced cakes with aniseed called mustaceoe at the end of feasts as a digestive. This tradition of serving cake at the end of festivities is the basis for the tradition of serving cake at weddings.
7 Amazing Benefits
1. Exotic anise spice holds some of the important plants derived chemical compounds that are known to have been antioxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
2. The primary essential volatile oil that gives the characteristic sweet, aromatic flavor to anise seed is anethole. Other important compounds found in these grains include estragol, p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, acetophenone, pinene, and limonene.
3. Anise seed oil obtained from extraction of the seeds has been found application in many traditional medicines as a stomachic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic agent.
4. The seeds are an excellent source of many essential B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) helps increase GABA neurochemical levels in the brain.
5. The spicy seeds are one of the important source of 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 is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
6. Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome C-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required for the production of red blood cells.
7. The spice also contains good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A.