Tuesday, 31 May 2016

A-Z of Herbs: Anise

This is the first in a series of posts about herbs - an A to Z.

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) or aniseed is a flowering herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean and southern Asia, which has been cultivated for thousands of years.  Anise grows best in a sunny, well-drained, sheltered spot and makes an excellent companion plant when grown with lettuce, tomatoes or spinach.

There is evidence of both medicinal and culinary uses in Ancient Egypt. The Greeks used it to treat digestive problems. 

The Romans used it as an aphrodisiac. It was one of the ingredients in the spiced mustaccus cake - a forerunner of the modern wedding cake.

Aniseed - with its distinctive liquorice aroma - is the fruit of the anise plant.

Some ways to use Anise/Aniseed

1. Having both antibacterial and anti-microbal properties anise is often used in mouthwash. A simple one can be made by combining one teaspoon each of fresh mint leaves, fresh rosemary and anise seeds. Pour 2 cups of boiling water over the herbs and leave to steep. One cooled strain and store in the fridge.

2. The seeds can be infused to make an antiseptic tea that may help to soothe coughs and sore throats.

3. As a companion plant.

4. To relieve colic.

5. Chewing lightly roasted seeds can help to freshen breath.

6. Soaps and ointments made using anise oil can be beneficial for oily skin and mild acne.

7. As a natural insect repellent.


  • Anise is not recommended for use during pregnancy. 
  • Anise is not the same plant as Star Anise.
  • This article is not intended as medical advice.
  • Excessive use should be avoided.

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  1. Very interesting! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays at Strangers & Pilgrims on Earth!

  2. Very interesting! I don't know much about anise. Thanks for sharing with Merry Monday Link Party.