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Anise |characteristics| health benefits | use in cooking

Basic characteristics of anise

Anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) is a plant with interesting shape - the shape of stars. 

It encourages the soil by Southwest Asia, the Mediterranean, and today anise is spread to the territory of North Africa, Mexico and South America.

Anise is an ancient herb used by the Egyptians before 3 500 years for the treatment of bloating, cramps in the stomach, for easing coughs, bronchitis and others.

In addition to healing properties, anise is used today as a seasoning in the kitchen. 

The free use variety of anise calls Chinese star anise (Illicium verum), while Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) is toxic.

Nutritional Value of Anise

Chinese star anise is brown colur, star-shaped with eight arms. 

Chinese star anise is brown colour, star-shaped with eight arms. The cooking is commonly used it throughout the form and for medical purposes from fruit tea or essential oil.

Essential anise oil contains between 80% and 90% anethole, a substance that facilitates breathing and stimulates mucus from the lungs. 

Its scent is aromatic, intense and pleasant, and the taste is spicy and sweet.

Anise seed contains:

- 1-5% essential oils
-  proteins
-  sugar to 20%
-  fatty oils up to 10%
-  iron

Anise oil contains up to 90% anethole, then aldehydes, estragole, anise acid, and alcohols.

Health Benefits of Anise

Anise is very healing and in ancient times it was applied in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine to treat many diseases.

Nowdays, anise is use in following treatments:

1. Treatment of digestive problems - bloating, stomach cramps, nausea, constipation. 

In combination with chamomile, linseed and buckthorn is recommended for those who suffer from constipation.

2. Problems with the respiratory tract - treatment of bronchitis, asthma, cough. 

Anise is recommended against laryngitis combined with sage and black mallow. 

Nibble fresh seed of anise if you suffering from bad breath caused by dysfunction of the digestive tract.

3. Due to the high content of alcohol anethole, anise is recommended to nursing mothers because it increases milk production

Anise, fennel and cumin stimulate the secretion of milk and folk doctors advise breastfeeding women to drink half a litter of anise tea a day.

4. Water of star anise is used in infants for treatment of clogged nose, and in India, seeds of star anise can chew for refreshment of breath. 

5. Antibacterial activity of anise on E. coli and S. aureus

6. Antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of anise

7. Antiviral action of anise -  it is particularly effective in herpes viruses

Characteristic of anise isn't to act preventively, but only as a therapeutic tool during infection. 

Otherwise, anise is an integral part of the drug against flu - Tamiflu.

8. Scientists noticed that Anise contains fitoestrogenes, which is why this plant is recommended for women in menopause

In combination with St. John's wort and yarrow, anise is used against painful menstruation

Anise is probably the best herbal solution against disorders of sexual desire in women. 

Although it contains substances that act like the female hormone estrogen, anise also has ability to stronger sexual desire of men. Anise is use in combination with celery for erectile dysfunction.

9. Anis removes cellulite

10. The star-shaped product is effective in removing psoriasis

Note: Not recommended use of anise in pregnant women and in people who use the drugs that contain iron.

Application of anise in kitchen

Anise is a popular spice in Chinese cuisine, and is used to add to meals that are cooked for a long time, but also for various vegetable soups. 

In addition to savoury dishes, anise combines well with cinnamon and vanilla. Anise is also added to soft drinks, punches and compotes.

The manner of keeping anise

When you buy anise, you must pay attention that Star of anise shouldn't be interrupted. 

Anise has to be star-shaped, dark brown in color, and it must be dry and not damaged. 

Also pay attention to the origin - used only Chinese star anise, not Japanese star anise as it is poisonous.

Anise can be stored at room temperature in a sealed jar for spices.


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