Anise

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Anise
Koehler1887-PimpinellaAnisum.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Pimpinella
Species: P. anisum
Binomial name
Pimpinella anisum
L.

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Overview

Anise or Aniseed, less commonly anís (stressed on the second syllable) (Pimpinella anisum), is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the eastern Mediterranean region and southwest Asia. It is a herbaceous annual plant growing to 1m tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 2-5 cm long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are white, 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3-5 mm long.

Pimpinella species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.

Uses

Culinary

  • Sweet and very aromatic. Anise contains liquorice-like components. [1]
  • Aniseed is used to make the British confectionery Aniseed balls and the old fashioned New Zealand confectionery, Aniseed wheels.
  • Aniseed is also used to make the Mexican drink atole called champurrado(similar to hot chocolate).
  • Anise oil is used to make Italian cookies called pizzelles, and used in the frosting of yellow Italian cake-like cookies called "Drops" or "Anise Drops."
  • Anise flavouring is used in the Norwegian candy pills "Knott", produced by Nidar.
  • Anise toast is a dry bread popular in Italy.
  • Anise (Saunf,Badi-Sheb) is used in India as a digestive after meals.

Medicinal uses

  • Anise leaves are used to treat digestive problems, to relieve toothache, and its essential oil is used to treat lice and scabies.
  • In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu. It is being researched for the treatment of bird flu as well.[2]
  • In India, aniseed (Saunf in Hindi) is also used as mouth freshener. It is also used for flavouring some foods.
  • 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 scorpion stings (N.H. 20.72).
  • In the Middle East, aniseed is used in producing alcoholic beverages, such as Arak (Morocco) and Ouzo (Greece).
  • In Thailand it is used to flavor tea.

Other uses

Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both hunting and fishing. Anise smells similar to liquorice and is put on fishing lures to attract fish. Anethole, the principal component of anise oil is a precursor that can eventually produce 2,5-dimethoxybenzaldehyde which is used in the clandestine synthesis of psychedelic drugs such as 2C-B, 2C-I and DOB.[3] Anise is also the main flavor of Absinthe as well as being used as a flavoring for pastis, ouzo, pernod, sambuca, Raki, Becherovka, anice tutone, Chartreuse and other liqueurs. Anise has a particular effect on some dogs that parallels the effect of catnip on house cats. Some cats as well seem attracted to anise. Anise is perfectly safe for cats and dogs alike to ingest. However, like anything, not in excess.

References

  1. http://www.uni-graz.at/~katzer/engl/Pimp_ani.html
  2. Boston Globe: "Ancient Herbal Medicine Boosts Influenza Arsenal."
  3. "Anise Oil as a Precursor for 2-Alkoxy-5-methoxybenzaldehydes". DEA Microgram Journal. 2 (1). Retrieved 2006-12-09.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthors= (help); |coauthors= requires |author= (help)

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