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Apiaceae (Parsley Family)
The genus name, Pimpinella, is thought to be derived from the Latin bipinnula, "bipinnate," and indeed the leaves are arranged similarly on both sides. The species name, and many of the common names, are derived from the ancient Greek name for the plant, anison.
Range of Appearance
This annual Eurasion native now grows wherever the climate is amenable; it prefers dry, light soil in full sun. The herb grows to about 2 feet in height and has feathery leaves divided into many leaflets. The umbrella-like clusters of tiny white or yellow flowers bloom in midsummer and produce small, downy, ribbed seeds in late summer.
Antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, diuretic, expectorant, galactagogue, parturient, stimulant, stomachic, tonic
Anise seeds are used to remedy asthma, bloating, catarrh, colic, coughs, diarrhea, flatulence, halitosis, hiccups, indigestion, insomnia, menstrual cramps, nausea, poor appetite, and whooping cough. They are sometimes added to cough syrups and lozenges because of their soothing effect on coughs and their pleasant taste. The essential oil from the seeds is used to prevent and treat lice and scabies.
The seeds, with their licorice-like flavor, improve the taste of other medicines and are used to flavor breads, cakes, cookies, fruits, soups, sauces, and pickles. They are a primary ingredient in mustaceum, an after-dinner digestive cake. They also can be eaten by themselves; they function as both a digestive aid and a breath freshener. Many alcoholic beverages are made with anise, including Pernod, Raki, Aguardiente, Uzo, Anisette, Kummel, and Ojen. Fresh anise leaves and stalks (before the plant has produced seed) are also edible can be added to salads.
The essential oil is used to flavor unpleasant medicines, toothpastes, and mouthwashes and to scent soaps. In India, anise water is used as cologne. Stuffed in a sachet and taken to bed, anise seeds are said to prevent nightmares. Some believe that hanging a sprig of anise on one's bedpost promotes youthfulness. Anise seeds are irresistible to mice and can be used as bait to catch the rodents.
Volatile oils (anethole, methyl chavicol), furanocoumarins, flavonoid glycosides, fatty acids, phytoestrogens, starch, protein, choline, mucilage
Avoid therapeutic doses during pregnancy except under the direction of a health-care professional.
Plant details were provided by iPlant by Brigitte Mars.