Anise (;Oxford English Dictionary, 1st ed. "anise, n." Oxford University Press (Oxford), 1884. ), also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Altervista Flora Italiana, Anice vera, Pimpinella anisum L. Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice.
EtymologyThe name "anise" is derived from the Arabic name: "يَانْسُون - yaānsuūn yaansoun".
Description]] Anise is an herbaceous annual plant growing to or more tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous small leaflets. The flowers are white, approximately in diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, long, usually called "aniseed". Anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) from Gernot Katzer’s Spice Pages Anise is a food plant for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species ( butterflies and moths), including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.
CultivationAnise was first cultivated in Egypt and the Middle East, and was brought to Europe for its medicinal value. Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well-drained soil. The seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Because the plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after being established, so they should either be started in their final location or be transplanted while the seedlings are still small. How to Grow Anise from growingherbs.org.uk
ProductionWestern cuisines have long used anise to flavor dishes, drinks, and candies. The word is used for both the species of herb and its licorice-like flavor. The most powerful flavor component of the essential oil of anise, anethole, is found in both anise and an unrelated spice indigenous to northern China called star anise ( Illicium verum) widely used in South Asian, Southeast Asian, and East Asian dishes. Star anise is considerably less expensive to produce, and has gradually displaced P. anisum in Western markets. While formerly produced in larger quantities, by 1999 world production of the essential oil of anise was only 8 tons, compared to 400 tons of star anise.
CompositionAs with all spices, the composition of anise varies considerably with origin and cultivation method. These are typical values for the main constituents.J.S. Pruthi: Spices and Condiments, New Delhi: National Book Trust (1976), p. 19. Moisture: 9–13% Protein: 18% Fatty oil: 8–23% Essential oil: 2–7% Starch: 5% N-free extract: 22–28% Crude fibre: 12–25%
Essential oilAnise essential oil can be obtained from the fruits by either steam distillation or extraction using supercritical carbon dioxide. The yield of essential oil is influenced by the growing conditions and extraction process, with supercritical extraction being more efficient. Regardless of the method of isolation the main component of the oil is anethole (80–90%), with minor components including 4-anisaldehyde, estragole and pseudoisoeugenyl-2-methylbutyrates, amongst others.
CulinaryAnise 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, 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 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.
LiquorAnise is used to flavor Middle Eastern arak; Colombian aguardiente; French absinthe, anisette, and pastis; Greek ouzo; Bulgarian and Macedonian mastika; German Jägermeister; Swiss Appenzeller Alpenbitter; Italian sambuca; Dutch Brokmöpke; Portuguese, Peruvian, and Spanish anísado and Herbs de Majorca; Mexican Xtabentún; and Turkish rakı. These liquors are clear, but on addition of water become cloudy, a phenomenon known as the ouzo effect. It is believed to be one of the secret ingredients in the French liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used in some root beers, such as Virgil's in the United States.
Herbal medicineThe main use of anise in traditional European herbal medicine was for its carminative effect (reducing flatulence), as noted by John Gerard in his Great Herball, an early encyclopedia of herbal medicine: The seed wasteth and consumeth winde, and is good against belchings and upbraidings of the stomacke, alaieth gripings of the belly, provoketh urine gently, maketh abundance of milke, and stirreth up bodily lust: it staieth the laske ( diarrhea), and also the white flux ( leukorrhea) in women.John Gerard, The Herball, or Generall Historie of Plantes, 1597, p. 880, side 903 Anise has also been thought a treatment for menstrual cramps page = 287 and colic. In the 1860s, American Civil War nurse Maureen Hellstrom used anise seeds as an early form of antiseptic. This method was later found to have caused high levels of toxicity in the blood and was discontinued shortly thereafter.
- According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with alexanders and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and, when mixed with wine, as a remedy for asp bites ( N.H. 20.72).
- In 19th-century medicine, anise was prepared as ("Water of Anise") in doses of an ounce or more and as ("Spirit of Anise") in doses of 5–20 minims.
- Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal plain bearings, so the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating.
- Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both drag hunting and fishing. It is put on fishing lures to attract fish.