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Anise herb has served as a medicinal aid for a long time. Its products, anise oil, seed, leaf, and roots, have many benefits.

Cases of deaths are increasing, and new diseases are occurring. While technology has played a big role in treating most illnesses, people still seek herbs’ help. Modern drugs are useful and have effectively healed most diseases. Some herbs like Anise prove that culinary herbs can also make good medicine on top of adding flavor to food. Anise has many purposes, but what do you know about Anise?

What is Anise

Aniseed or Anise is a flowering herb belonging to the parsley family. This plant grows about 18 inches high and has white blooms and feathery foliage. Once it’s done with flowering, its fruits ripen for about eight weeks before the whole plant is ready for harvest. It’s then dried and threshed to isolate fruits from foliage. As a schizocarp, its fruits divide into single-seeded parts once they’re matured. The seeds from anise plant are preferred for culinary purposes. Often its leaves and stems are eaten cooked or raw.

Other names of Anise

  • Aniseed
  • Anis vert
  • Analisis Fructus
  • Anise Essential Oil
  • Sweet Cumin
  • Semen anisi
  • Phytoestrogen
  • Pinella

Are Anise and fennel the same thing?

Distinguishing Anise from fennel seems to be a great challenge for most individuals. There is another more confusing plant, and to make it worse, it has a similar name as anise-it’s known as star anise. Anise and star anise are not related in any way. However, both can be used to produce anise extract because they contain anethole- a substance that produces anise flavor. Anise, the herb we’ll be discussing in this article, is the source of anise seeds and extract used in Middle Eastern, Mediterranean, and European cuisine. On the other hand, star anise is native to China only, and it’s cheaper to produce. That’s why most essential oil in the market is from star anise and not the actual Anise.

Anise is not fennel. These two have the same flavor, and their plants may look similar, but they’re different species. Though from the same family. Fennel commonly serves as a vegetable. On the other hand, Anise serves as a spice in seed form and is available as ground or whole.

What’s the taste of Anise?

Anise is loved as a spice for its sweet, mild, spicy, and aromatic flavor. Its unique sweetness is because of anethole compound, which also produces flavors in other herbaceous plants like basil and tarragon.

How does Anise look like?

Anise seeds appear anything from pale brown to greenish-gray. Its seeds are small and ridged-crescent shaped, and a bit of its stem is usually still attached. Its smell is similar to star anise, fennel, licorice root, and caraway.

What are the culinary uses of Anise?

  • Anise takes a broader part in liqueurs and pastries. Still, it does magic when applied in savory dishes, especially in seafood, Indian curry, and Italian sausages.
  • Natural flavoring-anise is popularly used as a flavoring in root beer
  • Baked goods-anise is common in baked goods and its praised in Italian biscotti and German springerle
  • Alcoholic beverages-anise-flavored liqueurs are amazing. Some of the common types are anisette, arak, pernod, and ouzo.

Health benefits of Anise

Digestive issues

A blend of fennel, Anise, senna, and elderberry makes a powerful constipation cure. This combination offers a laxative effect that will assist in treating chronic constipation and other digestive issues. So, including Anise in your cooking may help improve your gut health.

Menstrual pain

According to women’s health research, about 80% of females experience period pain in a certain stage of their lives. Some face chronic period pain in their early teens till their menopause. For some, they only have discomfort in their early menstruation days. In addition to ginger and turmeric, Anise has proven to be a great remedy for women. Individuals who take Anise while menstruating claim to have less severe stomach cramps and better body comfort.

Other health uses of Anise include;

  • Cough
  • Diabetes
  • Asthma
  • Insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Gas

Unconfirmed uses include;

  • Increasing libido
  • Increasing flow of milk in breastfeeding women
  • Stimulating appetite
  • Treating skin conditions

Where can you buy Anise?

You can find ground or whole anise seeds in the spice area of any supermarket. For maximum freshness, purchase from markets that have high selling rates. Ground anise is usually warm brown. The whole version is better because once anise seed is ground, it’ll lose its flavor and fragrance very easily. Anise oil is available in some specialty markets, obtained from anise seeds then steam distilled. It serves as a flavoring or essential oil.

How do you cook with Anise?

Make sure you use Anise sparingly due to its potency. It works well with meat, fruit, seafood, and chocolate. Also, you can blend it with other spices like clove, pink pepper berries, mace, and caraway. You can also toast them lightly in a dry skillet if you want to bring out an awesome flavor from these seeds. Also, toasting makes it easier to grind whole seeds. Anise stems and leaves are great in salads and soups. As for anise extract, seeds and oil are mainly called for recipes since they’re mostly readily available.

How can you store Anise?

Anise seed should be far from extreme cold or heat and far from light. Keep it in a sealed container to maintain its freshness. It’s safe to buy anise seed in small quantities if you don’t want to lose its flavor.

What can you use to substitute Anise?

Star anise makes the best substitute for Anise. You can replace two teaspoons of grounded version with four-star anise pods. If you can’t get hold of star anise, you can use fennel seeds instead. However, it’s less sweet and woodier.


Was the article TLDR (Too long To Read)? We’ll sum it up. Anise is a popular herb that serves medicinal and culinary purposes. It can help with menstrual pain, intestinal gas coughs, stimulate appetite, increase sex drive, and treat sleep disorders. In food, it serves as a flavoring agent. Anise is different from star anise and fennel. However, you can use any of them in place of another.