For centuries, mankind has actively used anise for the treatment of various diseases. The greenish seeds of this plant were highly valued in ancient Greece and Rome, and in the East they were even used to pay taxes. Today, anise seeds help people all over the world fight various diseases, ranging from digestive upsets to low libido.
What is anise?
Anise vulgaris, Pimpinella anisum, Anisum vulgare, Anisum officinarum, Anise - this is the name of one plant, which, however, should not be confused with another anise - Chinese, or known as star anise. It is a Chinese plant that produces fruits in the form of an asterisk. But now we are talking about a completely different grass. The fruits of ordinary anise are seeds called caraway seeds.
This herbaceous plant belongs to the celery family and can grow up to a meter. From thin spindle-shaped roots, corrugated stems and leaves sprout, which form cirrus lobes. In spring, white flowers with a delicate sweet aroma appear on the plants. In late August - early September, seeds are formed. The native lands for this plant are Egypt, Asia Minor, and Greece. Although at present, when creating favorable conditions, anise is able to grow in almost any corner of the Earth.
Anise seeds are 18 percent protein, 8-23% fat, 2-7% essential oils, 5% starch, 12-25 percent of the fiber, and the rest is moisture.
Anise seeds have a delicious aroma due to the high concentration of anethole essential oil. They also serve as a source of iron, magnesium, calcium, zinc, manganese, potassium, copper. These minerals are essential for maintaining heart function, proper blood circulation, and healthy bones, as well as helping to turn food into energy. Vitamins of group B, which are part of aniseed seeds, are important for the functioning of the brain.
Anise: benefits and harm to the body
The history of human use of anise as a medicine with a spicy aroma dates back at least 4 thousand years. As historians suggest, it all started from Egypt. There, according to ancient records, the plant was used as a diuretic and for the treatment of toothache. In ancient Greek medical records there is a mention of anise as a means to improve the functioning of the respiratory system, painkiller, as well as a diuretic and thirst-relieving plant.
Since the 1800s, the era of the commercial use of cumin oils has begun. Then anise was noticed by manufacturers of cosmetics and detergents. In the food industry it is known as a spice supplement to a wide variety of product categories, including alcohol, dairy, jelly, puddings, meat, sweets.
Anise essential oil, as well as teas from it, are widely used in medicine. For what purpose? This is what we are now trying to understand.
The healing properties of anise:
- facilitates expectoration;
- relieves bloating (including in children);
- soothes cough with bronchitis and asthma;
- relieves pain with laryngitis and pharyngitis;
- relieves insomnia;
- stimulates appetite;
- relieves stomach cramps;
- reduces nausea.
In addition, anise oil in folk medicine is used to treat head lice, scabies, and psoriasis. And for nursing mothers, this product is suitable for improving milk production.
Other beneficial properties of anise
In addition to these therapeutic effects, other properties of this plant are known. In particular, due to its antibacterial effect, it is introduced into the composition of some toothpastes. And anti-inflammatory properties are compared with the effect of aspirin.
The antioxidant abilities of aniseed essential oil protect DNA cells from free radicals and prevent the formation of malignant tumors.
It is also believed that anise is able to lower cholesterol. 60-day experience has shown: daily consumption of seeds in powder reduces blood sugar by 36%, and also regulates the concentration of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood. The crushed seeds of caraway seeds, applied to the forehead, neck or whiskey, relieve headaches, in particular with migraine attacks. Experience in rats showed that anise promotes the absorption of iron, thereby serving as a prophylactic against anemia.
This plant also has calming properties. Thymol, linalol, terpineol, eugenol, which are part of anise, reduce the manifestation of nervousness and anxiety. It is interesting that caraway seeds (seeds) belong to the group of aphrodisiac plants. In addition, it has mild laxative and diuretic effects. In combination with sassafras oil it serves as a means to kill insect pests (moths, bugs, cockroaches, lice). Fishermen introduce anise to the bait.
In the food industry, as a seasoning, they are added to meat, fish, soups and sauces, pickles and pastries.
To date, there are no clearly defined norms of consumption of anise, as well as not calculated daily norms for it. But most often, from half to 2 grams of seeds or 0.2-0.3 ml of essential oil is used to treat digestive system disorders.
In the form of infusion, usually take 1-2 teaspoons of crushed seeds per glass of boiling water. In the form of oil, herbalists are advised to consume 1 drop of a substance with half a teaspoon of honey.
This plant is considered safe for humans, while the abuse of seeds or essential oil can give side effects in the form of an allergic rash, complicating the work of the respiratory and digestive systems. An overdose of essential oil causes vomiting, convulsions, and sometimes pulmonary edema, paralysis, mental disorders, coma.
The main contraindication for taking funds from anise is pregnancy. Since this plant has abortive abilities.
How to prepare seeds
After harvesting, the anise seeds are dried in special trays until they turn grayish brown. Then it can be crushed to a powder state and stored in a hermetically sealed container or used in its entirety. This is the well-known seasoning from anise - caraway seeds.
Anise oil is obtained from grass seeds by steam distillation. The highest quality product is obtained from ripe seeds located in the center of the umbrella. The range of applications of anise oil is extremely wide - from the food industry to pharmacology.
The chemical composition of aniseed oil varies depending on where the grass grew. But in most cases, 80-90 percent of the substance is anethole, which gives a specific smell to the product, as well as some other chemical elements.
Anise oil has antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant, expectorant properties. Therefore, it is often part of cough syrups and lozenges. Due to its special composition, it loosens sputum in the respiratory tract, facilitates breathing in asthma and SARS. Antibacterial properties make it effective against Staphylococcus aureus, streptococcus, E. coli. Candida is also on the list of mushrooms that are afraid of anise. The relaxing abilities of the oil help relieve cramps and cramps of various origins.
How to make anise oil
The industrial production of anise oil is a laborious multi-stage process. But small portions of the product can be made at home. To do this, you will need:
- cumin seeds (dry);
- base oil (e.g. almond);
- mortar for grinding seeds;
- glass container.
Grind the dry seeds in a mortar so that the oil comes out (but do not bring to the consistency of the powder). Pour into a glass container and add the base oil (the liquid should completely cover the seeds). Close the container tightly and place it in the sun (this will speed up the release of oil from the crushed seeds). Strain through cheesecloth. Store finished anise oil in a cool, dry place.
When the disease has tightened the throat and is difficult to swallow, a cough of any origin (bronchial, allergic, asthmatic or after smoking) pesters, anise tea will help get rid of unpleasant symptoms. Prepare it from fresh or dry seeds of the plant.
Another useful property of tea is the treatment of flatulence, getting rid of a feeling of heaviness after overeating, and, like ginger, anise relieves nausea.
If you sweeten the drink with honey, you can get an alternative to high-calorie drinks, and the antibacterial properties of anise will refresh your breath after drinking tea.
Seed Tea Recipe
To make anise tea you will need a teaspoon of seeds and a glass of boiled water. Put on fire and boil for no more than a minute. Let it brew. Drink aniseed tea in a glass after each main meal. This broth is effective for bronchitis, asthma, slow digestion.
Other recipes from anise
40 g of seeds pour a glass of vodka. Insist from a week to 10 days. Take 20-25 drops thrice a day.
2 tsp mix seeds with a glass of boiling water. After an hour, strain. Rinse your mouth and throat several times a day.
20 g of caraway seeds pour 200 ml of boiling water. Cook for 15 minutes, then insist for another 20 minutes. Strain, add 20 g of honey and the same amount of cognac. Take warm 1 tablespoon three times a day.
Anise in cosmetology
Anise oil is an excellent tool for improving the condition of sagging skin. The remedies below are easy to prepare on your own at home.
Mask for aging skin
In 1 tablespoon of base oil (any vegetable oil) add 2 drops of anise essential oil. Mix thoroughly and apply with light massage movements to the skin of the face, neck, décolleté.
Mask for rejuvenation
In 2 tablespoons of sour cream add 1 teaspoon of honey and 1 drop of essential anise oil. After applying to the face, keep for 10 minutes. Remove residues with a paper towel.
Mask for skin elasticity
For this tool you will need 1 tablespoon of grated carrots, 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese, 1 teaspoon of anise decoction. Mix all ingredients until gruel. Keep on face for about 10 minutes.
Prepare the gruel from 2 tablespoons of grated cucumber and the same amount of oatmeal, 1 teaspoon of a decoction of anise seeds. Lightly apply on face, rinse with warm water after 10 minutes.
Mask for very dry skin
Peel and chop still warm potatoes in their skins, add warm milk and 1 drop of essential anise oil to it. Stir thick sour cream to a consistency and apply on face skin. Wash off after 15 minutes.
Despite its appearance simplicity and widespread, anise has a whole gamut of useful properties. It is a pity that many in this plant see only weed and mercilessly eradicate it, forgetting that caraway seeds play an important role in maintaining health, and in some cases can serve as the most effective medicine, which has no analogues in pharmacies.