Aniseed - An Annual Culinary Herb

Using Aniseed as a Health Remedy

Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is an annual culinary herb belonging to ajwain or celery family. Its fruit, known as aniseed, is one of the oldest spices. The seed is ground-grey to grayish-brown in color, oval in shape and 3.2 to 4.8 mm in length. It has an agreeable odor and a pleasant taste. The anise plant grows up to a height of 75 cms. It requires sunshine and warmth and does not grow satisfactorily in the tropical lowlands.

Anise is a native of the Middle East. It was cultivated by the ancient Egyptians, who valued its medicinal properties and culinary uses. It was also known to the early Greeks and Romans.

It contains moisture, substantial amount of protein, fatty oil and crude fiber besides essential oil, sugars, starch and ash. It also contains choline.

Anise oil is a colorless or pale-yellow liquid, with the characteristic odor and taste of the fruit. This oil has now replaced the fruits for medicinal and flavoring purposes. The chief constituent of anise oil is anethole which is present in large quantity and is mainly responsible for the characteristic flavor of the oil. The oil also contains methyl, chavicol, p-methoxyphenyl acetone and small amounts of terpenes and sulphur compounds of disagreeable odor.

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