If you ever had a lucky chance to walk into a Middle Eastern kitchen, you likely felt the splendid aroma of Anise Seed. This spice is widely used in Middle Eastern countries to give characteristic flavours to their cuisine. Today, we’re exploring this powerful herbal medicine and its many uses and benefits you’ve probably never heard about!
Anise Seed: Herbal Profile
Anise (Pimpinella anisum), also known as aniseed or anix, is a herbaceous plant that grows up to 3 feet tall and is mainly found in Eurasia.
Anise Seeds are small grayish-brown seeds with the aroma of licorice. Rich in aroma and essential oils, Anise Seeds are also packed with nutrients and amazing health benefits. They’re used medicinally as a stimulant, carminative, for cough, flatulence, asthma, as well as for hormonal replacement therapy in menopause.
An important medicinal herb, Anise is believed to symbolize cleanliness. People use it to clean holy places and burn it as an essential oil to improve their health and well-being.
In this article, we’ll further review the benefits and medicinal properties of Anise Seeds, as well as their uses.
Anise Seed vs Star Anise vs Fennel
First, let’s clarify the difference between Anise Seed vs Star Anise vs Fennel.
Is Fennel and Anise Seed the same?
No. They have a different taste, even though a lot of chefs use them interchangeably in their recipes. Both have licorice-like taste due to their main chemical compound – anethole. However, Anise seeds are more fragrant and have a spicy pungent taste, while Fennel seeds are milder in taste and flavour. Fennel seeds are normally added in meat-based dishes as a flavour, while Anise seeds are typically used in pastries, dairy, and desserts. However, Fennel is a good Anise Seed substitute generally speaking.
Anise Seed vs Star Anise
Anise Seed and Star Anise may taste similarly, but they differ in the potency and degree of flavour. Anise Seed is stronger and spicier. People may confuse the two, but these are two different herbs. Star Anise is actually a star-shaped reddish fruit of a small evergreen tree, while Anise Seeds, small and elongated, come from an annual herbaceous bush.
Anise Seed Medicinal Properties
The cultivation of Anise dates back to the 1800s. Anise was first cultivated in Egypt and the Middle East, but was brought to Europe when people noticed its astonishing medicinal value. Today, we’re happy we can enjoy the smell, flavour, and medicinal benefits of Anise all around the world!
What is Anise Seed used for?
The anti-fungal, antibacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory properties of Anise Seeds help to fight stomach ulcers, control blood sugar levels, and reduce the symptoms of depression and menopause issues.
Anise Seed Benefits to Health
Anise is used in a relatively small amount as a flavoring agent in foods but it packs a remarkable amount of several micronutrients per serving!
Anise Seed benefits stem from its incredibly rich iron content, which helps stimulate the production of red blood cells and helps them recycle. Anise also contains a small amount of manganese. All of this makes anise a rich source of antioxidants that helps to boost your metabolic rate. This potent herb also provides us with proteins, fat, carbs, fibers, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and copper.
1. Anise Seeds help to reduce depression
Depression affects about 25% of women and 12% of men worldwide. Are there benefits to taking Anise Seed for depression? According to a study, Anise exhibited strong antidepressant properties and was as effective as common prescription medicine for depression, showing similar results. According to another study conducted on a group of 107 people, 3 grams of Anise Seed powder three times a day was notably effective in reducing the symptoms of postpartum depression.
2. Anise Seeds protect against stomach ulcers
Ulcers are painful sores that develop in the lining of the stomach causing symptoms like indigestion, nausea, and burning sensation in the chest. Anise seeds help to reduce the stomach acid secretions and help to prevent stomach ulcers, protecting against damage. Additional studies are needed to understand how Anise Seeds impact ulcer formation and digestive issues in humans, but Anise Seeds are also claimed to be used for gas problems and diarrhea.
3. Immune system benefits from Anise Seeds
Different studies show that the compounds found in Anise possess potent antimicrobial properties that prevent infections and block the growth of fungi and bacteria. What helps inhibit bacterial growth is anethole – an active ingredient found in Anise Seeds. This makes Anise Seeds a powerful and reliable immunity booster, protecting your health naturally in all situations.
4. Anise Seeds help to relieve menopause symptoms
A natural decline in female reproductive hormones causes menopause which results in symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, and dry skin. Anise Seeds for menopause mimic the effects of estrogen and help reduce the symptoms of menopause. The essential oil of Anise Seeds is comprised of 81% anethole, an active ingredient in Anise, that helps protect against osteoporosis and prevent bone loss.
5. Anise Seeds help to balance blood sugar and blood pressure
Anethole in Anise Seeds also helps to keep the blood sugar levels in check. It can also help enhance the function of pancreas cells that produce insulin and reduce high blood sugar by altering levels of different key enzymes. Furthermore, due to high potassium levels, Anise Seed reduces blood vessels strain and can also help in regulating high blood pressure and circulation.
These are just a handful of Anise Seed benefits we’ve selected for this article. There are many more! View them all here.
How to Use Anise Seed? Cooking & Tea Recipes
Anise Seed Tea Recipe
Can you make tea with Anise Seed?
If you’re looking for a healthy comforting hot beverage, we highly recommend Anise Seed tea. It is just a lovely, warming drink that’s perfect for colder months, especially around holidays. It is low in calories, healthy, and suitable for most dietary requirements.
To make Anise Seed Tea, you just need water, Anise Seeds, and optionally a little honey or agave nectar to sweeten it. Just put a teaspoon of Anise Seeds into a 200 ml cup of boiled water. Cover it and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink.
Anise Seed Dosage
To claim its best effects, you should drink a cup of Anise Seed Tea three times a day.
If you’re busy to make tea and prefer to take Anise Seed health benefits on the go with you, you can take Anise Seed Extract 30 drops, 3 times a day.
Cooking and Baking with Anise Seed
Anise seeds are also used in baked goods, fruit-filled pies, and ground meat before baking. The extract of Anise Seeds can be used to give a characteristic flavour to drinks and hot chocolate. These lovely seeds are used to bring licorice flavour to anything! You can use both whole and ground seeds. Ground seeds, however, lose their potency faster, but can still be of good use.
Anise Seed Cookies Recipe
These Anise Seed cookies are just what you may need in the coming colder season! You’d need your mortar and pestle or anything else, like your heavy pan, to crush and grind them. Crushing Anise Seeds gives them a more intense flavour and will be a delight for those cookies!
You can find the full Anise Seed Cookies Recipe at The Beach House Kitchen here.
What are the Side Effects of Anise Seed?
If used as prescribed in the recommended dosage, Anise Seeds don’t seem to cause any side effects. However, since each body is different, if you notice reactions such as shortness of breath, vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea, please talk to your doctor immediately. Avoid taking Anise if you’re already taking any hormone-based therapies and/or if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
Where to Buy & How to Store Anise Seed?
You can buy bulk Anise Seed in our store here. If you’re too busy to prepare tea or cook with it, you can use our Anise Seed Extract instead. It’ll give you the same amazing health benefits and you’ll be able to bring it with you and use it on the go as herbal drops.
When it comes to storing Anise Seed, we suggest storing it away from light and heat, but also extreme cold. Keep it in a sealed container to maintain its freshness and keep out any humidity. If properly stored, Anise Seed will be good for 2 to 3 years with uncompromised quality.
It’s no surprise that ancient Egyptians used Anise Seeds for centuries as a potent herbal medicine that helped them treat plenty of ailments. This plant is as precious today as it was then, both for our body and senses and for our planet.
Combined with a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle, Anise Seeds can significantly improve several aspects of your health and add a lot of fun to your life if you use the recipes we’ve listed above. To your health!