Anise is widely used in many preparations as a flavoring agent, especially in those dishes where a bit of spicy sweetness prevails. This is due to its mild sweet flavor and this is also the reason why aniseed is used as a natural mouth freshener in many parts of the world, particularly in eastern Mediterranean and parts of Asia.
Anise is an annual herb that grows to a height of about one and a half feet tall and has small yellowish white flowers. It is the seed that is most commonly consumed and used as the flavoring agent and it is this seed also that has most of the medicinal properties. Anise contains vitamins B complex, vitamin C and the minerals calcium, sulfur, iron, potassium and phosphorus. Essential oil of anise is also used as an aromatic substance.
So, it is the time to have a look at the medicinal benefits of this common kitchen ingredient. Anise is a great help for digestion. It is known to help in conditions like flatulence, bloating and colic that result from gas formation. It has the ability to stimulate the pancreas and regulate insulin secretion and also the secretion of some other hormones. That means, in a way, anise helps in controlling diabetes.
Anise can prove helpful in relieving menstrual cramps. It acts as an expectorant and can relieve a person from cough and cold. Moreover, it helps the body to relax thereby helping in insomnia. Anise is said to have aphrodisiac properties too. It is mildly anti-parasitic and anise oil is often used to treat lice and scabies. Anise leaves help in relieving toothache.
An easy remedy of bloating, indigestion and flatulence is anise tea. If one can have a cup of it after every meal, one can stay out of any digestive problem. Here is how to make this simple concoction.
Take about 250 ml of boiling water and put a teaspoon of anise seed in it. Let it infuse for around 30 seconds to a minute. Then drink the plain hot liquid. Sometimes people like to infuse the seeds for 3 minutes or more like tea and then drink it. In both the cases the benefits are the same.