Anise seed also known as aniseed is from the same family of carrots, parsley, cumin, cilantro, caraway, dill, and celery seed. The scientific name of anise seeds is Pimpinella anisum. Aniseed is used in all forms of dishes and baked goods in Asia and Middle Eastern countries native are used for making ground meat and vegetables for cooking while in Germany country it is added to bakery products. The extracts of the plant are used to flavor alcohol or liqueurs. The whole aniseeds plant is used as it has many medicinal properties.
The plant aniseed grows up to 1 meter and the plant’s flower is known as the anise seed. Anise seed has a distinct licorice-like flavor and can be used whole or crushed as spices. The anise seed is also used to make essential oil from the anise extract. The shape of the whole seeds is tiny, curved, and brownish-gray in color. Due to its licorice-like taste, it is also used in candies, breath fresheners, and beverages like tea and coffee with a sprinkle of cinnamon. The whole seeds and plant along with its fruit are used for their medicinal properties.
There is often confusion between the anise seed, star anise seed, and fennel seed as they have somewhat similar flavors, shapes, and colors. But there are all different and belong to other families among the plants. The star anise seed (illicium verum) is widely preferred as it is readily available and more affordable than anise seeds (Pimpinella anisum) and the fennel seeds belong to the same family as anise seeds but is mainly used in vegetables.
In contrast, the aniseeds plant is used as a spice in various forms such as whole anise seeds, ground anise seeds, or powdered seed form. The active component in the anise seed is the anethole which affects the odor and flavor of the seed. You can quickly grow anise plants in your garden as they are a natural insecticide. But the effects of the anise plants can only be seen after they are entirely harvested.
The aniseed, fennel seeds, and star anise seed all have different types of flavors and require specific conditions that are to be grown. The aniseed is said to be rich in nutrients and has many health benefits from the skin to the heart, unlike the star-shaped pod. It is also used as a spice, unlike the fennel seed or star anise seed which are just added to the food but cannot be consumed whole.
The fruit of the anise seed plant is the aniseed. It has a history of being native to many different cultures. It is used in many recipes as it adds flavor as a spice and is also used to add the ouzo effect in different mocktails and cocktails. The Indians and Middle eastern use aniseed in their daily diet for a long period. The sweet aroma of aniseeds is the added benefit of the seeds to the cooking.
Now let the article expand on some of the anise seed’s health benefits that greatly benefit our bodies.
Health Benefits of Anise seed
There are many health benefits of anise seeds as
1. Improves Digestion
Anise seed is known for improving digestion and giving relief from diarrhea, constipation, gas, belching, bloating, gastrointestinal cramps, vomiting, sluggish digestion, and chronic diarrhea as it has carminative properties that help to improve digestion. It also reduces acid secretion and has anti-oxidant properties. But should not be confused with star anise which has a bit of a spicy taste, unlike the flavoring ground aniseed.
The aniseeds are used while cooking or can be consumed alone as it has a sweet taste. In many cultures like the Persian and middle east, the natives believe that aniseeds are either added when making a different recipe or after having dinner in the form of desserts as adding aniseeds in various baked goods will give licorice-flavored foods.
Ground aniseed also helps to increase the immune system leading to the reduction of many other diseases or problems. Having licorice-flavored tea and coffee having aniseeds as a main ingredient is effective for many problems and not only to improve digestion.
2. Treats Insomnia
The anise seed is said to have a relaxing and soothing organic compound known as anethole which helps to treat insomnia and other sleep-related problems. But, there is no scientific research to prove it but it helps in muscle relaxation and induces sleep as it is known for its antioxidant properties and has a calming effect on the person who consumes it.
To get the best results you can consume the powder or concoction of anise seed with hot water or have an aromatic licorice-flavored anise seed tea before going to bed. While making the tea it is recommended to not boil the aniseed for too long as it may lose all its medicinal properties and also cannot be used as an essential oil.
3. Treats Reproductive Problems in Female
Anise seed is said to reduce the pain caused during menopause as it increases the estrogen level in the body. During menopause, the level of estrogen decreases rapidly and causes more pain and lactation also increases due to the same reason. Lactation increase is needed while breastfeeding as it may decrease due to various reasons like fatigue or stress.
Also, the menstruation cycle can be regulated with the consumption of anise seeds and other female reproductive problems like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. It also helps to increase bone density and reduce the risk of bone loss in many women facing menopause issues. So, try to include savory dishes with aniseeds in your diet as they help to maintain a healthy body. The anise extract essential oil can also help to reduce menstrual cramps.
4. Improves Respiratory Health & Reduce Inflammation
The anise seed is known for being an expectorant inside the body which helps to detach the phlegm around the lungs and throat. It also helps to get relief from other lung problems like asthma, influenza, pneumonia, sinusitis, and bronchitis. It also helps to get relief from sore throat and cough.
The anise seed is said to be high in antioxidant properties as so it is used to reduce inflammation caused by various other reasons. Long-term inflammation can result in the worsening of other conditions. So, the consumption of ground aniseed will help to reduce inflammation and maintain good health.
5. Treats Skin Problems & Balance Blood Sugar Levels
The anise seed is known for being rich in many minerals like zinc and phosphate and vitamins like B and C. Vitamin C is known for preventing oxidation damage and has free radicals which fight skin problems like dark spots, and wrinkles. It also prevents various fungi and protects from infections.
Anise seeds are rich in many dietary fibers like p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, pinene, acetophenone, limonene, and estragole which protect the overall health and help to reduce the risk of diabetes. The fibers present in the anise extract help to increase the level of insulin in the body, which in turn leads to slowing down sugar absorption in the blood thus leading to reduce the blood sugar.
6. Reduces Depression Symptoms & Rich in Nutrients
Anise extracts are said to have anti-anxiety and antidepressant properties which help to fight against depression. It is believed that having light anise extract three times daily helps to reduce postpartum depression symptoms. Applying anise extract essential oil helps to get relief from mild to moderate depression. The flavor and aroma of the anise seed spice help to give a soothing feeling.
Anise seeds are mostly used to add flavor and in many recipes are that why required in less than one tablespoon but it is rich in many important nutrients like iron, zinc, manganese, and calcium. Manganese is required for developing metabolism and the immune system development.
This guide provides insight into the different types of anise seeds and also their various health benefits. We saw three types of anise seeds star anise(illicium verum), fennel seeds, and aniseeds. It is used for many reasons like cooking chicken or Italian biscotti and baking desserts. The licorice-flavored tea is as good as green tea.
The various health benefits of anise seed are that improves digestion, treats insomnia, treats reproductive problem in female, improves respiratory health & reduce inflammation, treats skin problem & balance blood sugar level, reduce depression symptoms & rich in nutrients. It can be added to many recipes and gain health benefits.
While looking at the benefits one must not forget that there are also some side effects of consuming anise extract so if you feel an allergic reaction while consuming fennel, basil, carrot, or any other plants from the same family then they should not consume the anise seed. If you feel an allergic reaction do visit your doctor immediately.As an Amazon Associate, Icy Health earns from qualifying purchases.