Suppression

Anise

Category: Food

Type

Voluntary

Introduction and description

Anise or Pimpinella anisum, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. Western cuisines have long used anise to flavor some dishes, drinks, and sweets, and the word is used for both the species of herb and its liquorice-like flavor.

Background

The main use of anise throughout the world is as an aid to digestion, whether in food or drinks. But as the following indicates it also has some other interesting properties:

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 in women. [John Gerard: The Herball, 1597, p. 880, side 903]

I think scientists may have some trouble organising a double blind trial for the bodily lust, but the 'abundance of milke' has received some study.

The most powerful flavor component of anise is anethole, found in both anise and the spice called star anise (Illicium verum). And anethole is a phytoestrogen [research suggests that the actual pharmacologically active agents are polymers of anethole, such as dianethole and photoanethole. PMID: 6999244]

Phytoestrogens are plant-derived xenoestrogens functioning as the primary female sex hormone estrogen. Also called "dietary estrogens", they are a diverse group of naturally occurring chemicals that, because of their structural similarity with estradiol (17-β-estradiol), have the ability to cause estrogenic or/and antiestrogenic effects. Their name comes from the Greek phyto = plant and estrogen, the hormone which gives fertility to the female mammals. The word "estrus" -Greek οίστρος- means sexual desire and "gene" -Greek γόνο- is "to generate" – so maybe Gerard knew what he was talking about although the lust part would refer to women, in men it might have some unfortunate side effects of a very obvious nature.

Nutrients

The table below shows some of the basic vitamins and minerals found in anise, note the relatively high levels of potassium.

 

Source: US National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
Release 26   Software v.1.3.1
Nutrient values and weights are for edible portion

Nutrient

Unit


Value per 100 g

 

Proximates

Water

g

9.54

 

Energy

kcal

337

 

Protein

g

17.60

 

Total lipid (fat)

g

15.90

 

Carbohydrate, by difference

g

50.02

 

Fiber, total dietary

g

14.6

 

Minerals

Calcium, Ca

mg

646

 

Iron, Fe

mg

36.96

 

Magnesium, Mg

mg

170

 

Phosphorus, P

mg

440

 

Potassium, K

mg

1441

 

Sodium, Na

mg

16

 

Zinc, Zn

mg

5.30

 

Vitamins

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid

mg

21.0

 

Thiamin

mg

0.340

 

Riboflavin

mg

0.290

 

Niacin

mg

3.060

 

Vitamin B-6

mg

0.650

 

Folate, DFE

µg

10

 

Vitamin B-12

µg

0.00

 

Vitamin A, RAE

µg

16

 

Vitamin A, IU

IU

311

 

Vitamin D (D2 + D3)

µg

0.0

 

Vitamin D

IU

0

 

Lipids

Fatty acids, total saturated

g

0.586

 

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated

g

9.780

 

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated

g

3.150

 

Cholesterol

mg

0

 

Method

Anise is not often used in cooking, as in general, fennel seeds tend to be preferred for their flavour, however, they make quite an interesting alternative to fennel seeds and go well with fish, cabbage and beetroot in particular.

The seeds, whole or powdered, are used in a whole range of sweets ['candies'] including aniseed balls, humbugs, aniseed wheels, pizzelles, Pfeffernüsse, Anisbögen, muisjes, knotts, New Mexican Bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones.

It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís or champurrado.

In India the seeds are covered in various coloured sugars and served in bowls often with tea after a meal as a digestive.

My aunty used to make 'seedy buns' with anise or 'seedy cake' [also with caraway seeds] served with afternoon tea.

Anise is used to flavor Middle Eastern arak, Colombian aguardiente, the French spirits absinthe, anisette and pastis, Greek ouzo, Bulgarian mastika, Macedonian Мастика, German Jägermeister, Italian sambuca, Dutch Brokmöpke, Portuguese, Peruvian and Spanish anís, Mexican Xtabentún and Turkish rakı. In these liquors, it is clear, but on addition of water becomes cloudy.

How it works

see the observations - all of them describe its healing potential.

Related observations