Anise seed gives baked goods and more a licorice flavor. Indian, Mexican, Italian, German, and Middle Eastern cuisines all frequently use this spice. It is why Italian charcuterie, desserts, and biscotti all contain this seed. Its extract is used to flavor alcohol, such as ouzo and anisette.
Anise: What Is It?
What is anise seed? It can be used whole or ground as a spice. The seeds are also used to produce anise essential oil and extract. The Pimpinella anisum plant, which has been grown for many years in Egypt, the Middle East, and Europe, produces the seeds. The seeds are tiny, brownish-gray, slightly curved, and have a licorice-like scent. Additionally, the plant has flavorful leaves and stems that can be used as herbs and have licorice, fennel, or tarragon tastes.
Anise Seed Health Benefits
Anise is frequently used to flavor drinks and desserts because of its distinctive, licorice-like flavor. It is also well known for having strong health-promoting qualities and working as a natural cure for a wide range of illnesses. Here are seven anise seeds benefits.
- Rich in vitamins. Even though anise is consumed in relatively small amounts, each serving contains a significant amount of several crucial micronutrients. Iron, in particular, is abundant in this seed and is necessary for your body to produce healthy blood cells. It also has a small amount of manganese, an essential mineral required for metabolism and growth that serves as an antioxidant.
- It may lessen depression symptoms. Up to 24% of women and 11% of men worldwide are affected by depression, a common but crippling condition. Interestingly, some research suggests this seed may be effective in treating depression. According to one study, anise extract had potent antidepressant effects on mice and was just as effective at treating depression as a common prescription drug. Additionally, taking 4 grams of this seed powder three times per day was successful in reducing postpartum depression symptoms in a study involving 108 people.
- It Could Prevent Stomach Ulcers Stomach ulcers, sometimes referred to as gastric ulcers, are painful sore that develops in the lining of your stomach. They can cause symptoms like indigestion, nausea, and a burning sensation in your chest. This seed may be able to prevent stomach ulcers and lessen symptoms, although traditional treatment usually entails the use of drugs to reduce the production of stomach acid. For instance, a study on animals found that anise decreased the production of stomach acid, preventing the development of stomach ulcers and defending cells against damage.
- It helps to stop the development of bacteria and fungi. Anise seed and its compounds have powerful antimicrobial qualities that guard against infections and stop the development of fungi and bacteria, according to test-tube studies.
- Could Help Reduce Menopausal Symptoms. As women age, their reproductive hormones naturally decline, causing symptoms like hot flashes, fatigue, and dry skin. Anise may mimic the effects of estrogen in your body and lessen menopausal symptoms.
- Could keep blood sugar levels stable. Some research suggests that Anethel Oleate, the active component in anise seeds, may help control blood sugar levels when combined with a healthy diet. Anethole reduced high blood sugar levels in a 40-day study in diabetic rats by changing the levels of several important enzymes. Additionally, Anenethole improved the performance of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
- Able to lessen inflammation. In many instances, your immune system’s response to inflammation as a defense against wounds and infection is thought to be normal. However, persistently high levels of inflammation have been linked to chronic diseases like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease.
Fennel vs. Anise Seeds
Despite having a similar name, star anise (Illicium verum), a spice from a different plant family, is unrelated to anise. Both contain Anatole, the compound that gives anise its distinctive flavor, so either can be used to make anise extract. The extract and seeds used in European, Mediterranean, and Middle Eastern cuisine come from anise (Pimpinella anisum). China is the star anise’s native country. Today, a large portion of the anise essential oil is made from star anise rather than anise because it is less expensive to produce. How about anise seeds and fennel seeds? Even though the two plants resemble each other in appearance and flavor, anise is not the same as fennel. Although they are different species, anise and fennel belong to the same plant family as other herbs like caraway, parsley, and cilantro. Fennel is typically used as a vegetable, whereas anise is used as a spice in whole or ground seed form.
What Flavor Does It Have?
Anise has a strong, sweet, mildly spicy, and licorice-like flavor. An organic substance related to estragole and responsible for the flavors in tarragon and basil creates this flavor. The fact that Anatol is very soluble in alcohol but barely soluble in water is one of its key properties. As a result, liqueurs that contain anise extract become cloudy when you add water to them. The ouzo effect was named after one of the distinctive anise-flavored liqueurs.
How to Add Anise Seed?
So many people ask how to use anise seed for cooking. You will get an explanation of how to use it for cooking here.
The dough for baked goods, fruit fillings for pies, and ground meat can all be prepared with this seed (whole or ground). Anise extract can be used to flavor beverages like coffee or hot chocolate, as well as baked goods. Additionally, the seeds can be used to make licorice-flavored tea.
Numerous alcoholic beverages, such as anisette, ouzo, sambuca, and absinthe, are flavored with this seed. They are well-liked as post-dinner or dessert drinks because of their faintly candy-like flavor. Additionally, they can be used to flavor coffee.
The best substitutes for this seed in recipes would be fennel seed, a few drops of anise extract, or star anise. All of these would enhance the licorice flavor. Since the whole star anise is woody and cannot be chewed, it should be ground before use if it is to remain in the final product.
This spice can be found whole and ground in the supermarket’s spice aisle. Like nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves, it is offered for sale in tiny jars. Small bottles of anise extract are available in the baking section.
This is a potent plant with a wide range of health advantages. The seeds are abundant in nutrients.
Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties, it may help prevent stomach ulcers, regulate blood sugar levels, and lessen menopausal and depressive symptoms.
Anise seed may help you live a healthier lifestyle and improve some aspects of your health when combined with a wholesome diet.