Scientific: Pimpinella anisum [WikiPedia]
Appearance: The herbaceous
Anise plant is a member of the Carrot family that can grow to heights of
up to three feet. Thin, spindle-shaped roots produce grooved stems and
leaves that form feathery lobes.
Parts Used: The seed (fruit)
and oil, and less frequently the root and leaf, are used to make
medicine. Anise seed is also used as a spice, either ground or whole.
Common Uses: The seeds are
composed of 18 percent proteins, eight to 23 percent fatty oils, two to
seven percent essential oils, five percent starch, 22 to 28 percent
N-free extracts and 12 to 25 percent crude fibre. The remaining nine to
13 percent of the seed’s weight is moisture. The seeds also contain
other important compounds like acetophenone, p-anisaldehyde, anise
alcohol, estragol, limonene and pinene. The seeds are an excellent
source of minerals like iron, magnesium, calcium, manganese, zinc,
potassium and copper. These minerals are essential to cardiac, bone and
blood health and are needed by the body to turn food into energy. The
B-complex vitamins found in aniseed are essential to overall health.
Loaded with riboflavin, pyridoxine, niacin and thiamin, the seeds can
contribute to healthy levels of neuro-chemicals in the brain.
Anise seed is like catnip for a dog. Dogs are drawn to it just like cats
are with catnip. Dogs are much more scent-oriented than humans,
whereas, humans are more visual. This is part of why dogs love smelling
things and why anise seed is something they enjoy immensely. An example
of them being scent-oriented is when they roll in stinky things or dirt.
This odd behavior just stimulates their sense of smell. It might seem
gross to us, but that’s what dogs love to do. Anise seed should be given
in moderation like anything else. You can find it in treats, or various
forms at your local pet store. Anise seed actually gets your dog
excited and moving. So, it can be used in training to get your pooch to
do things. Anise seed is low in calories but contains a good amount of
several important minerals, including iron, manganese and calcium. Human
and animal studies reveal that anise seed may help reduce symptoms of
depression and may be as effective as some types of antidepressants.
Though research is extremely limited, anise seed reduced stomach acid
secretion in huumans and protected against stomach ulcer formation in
one animal study. Test-tube studies show that anise seed and its
components may decrease the growth of certain strains of fungi and
bacteria. Animal and test-tube studies have found that anise seed is
high in antioxidants and can reduce inflammation to help prevent chronic
Anise vs. Star Anise vs. Fennel
Despite its similar name, anise is not related to
star anise (Illicium verum), which is another spice from a different
family of plants. Either can be used to make anise extract as both
contain anethole, which produces the characteristic anise flavor. Anise
(Pimpinella anisum) is the source of the extract and seeds used in
European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine. The star anise is
native to China. As star anise is cheaper to produce, today much of the
essential oil of anise is from star anise rather than anise. Anise is
also not the same thing as fennel, although the two do have a similar
flavor, and the plants are somewhat similar looking. Anise and fennel
are from the same family of plants (along with caraway, parsley,
cilantro, and others), but they are different species. In general,
fennel is served as a vegetable, while anise is used as a spice in seed
form, either whole or ground.
Alternatives and Adjuncts:
Topic Specific References:
PLEASE NOTE that herbal and
other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe
and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any
other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.
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