Anise, a spicy seed native to the Mediterranean is packed with excellent health benefits. Lucky for you, the grocery stores, health food stores, and gourmet markets are full of fresh anise seed that you can use to add flavor and zest to your cooking. Coming from a beautiful star-shaped pod, anise seed has a licorice taste that some people love and others turn a crinkled nose to. Before you make your decision based on other people’s opinion about anise seed, buy yourself the freshest anise seed you can buy and taste one or two seeds and give this spice serious consideration. Let’s take a look at some of the excellent benefits Anise Seed provides.
Nutritional Facts of Anise Seed
Aside from adding flavor to your recipes, Anise possesses many healthy nutritional qualities in each small little seed and in its oil. Antioxidants are in anise seeds such as vitamin C and vitamin D. Oxidants cause substances to lose electrons, we do not want this to happen in our bodies so we need something to help get rid of oxidants. Antioxidants like vitamin C help protect the electrons in our body.
Riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and pyridoxine are all necessary B complex vitamins. These B vitamins are all part of the benefits you will get by adding anise to your diet. Pyridoxine is vitamin B-6 which is excellent for the health of your brain.
Minerals are important for a holistic diet and anise provides several minerals for your body for health. The minerals zinc, copper, magnesium, potassium, calcium, and iron are all jammed pack into the tiny seeds of anise. These are important minerals for a healthy body and a strong immune system.
Top 19 Health Benefits of Anise Seed
- Anise is perfect to help with digestion. Gas, nausea, and indigestion can be eliminated and put at ease with the use of anise in your cooking.
- You can chew on anise seeds after meals as a natural breath freshener.
- Anise is known to help stimulate breast milk production.
- Anise can help lower blood pressure.
- Anise helps with the production of red blood cells.
- Anise is excellent for any problems with the digestive system.
- Anise in hot water is an excellent warm drink to help little kids with constant runny noses.
- Anise cleanses the place in the respiratory system where mucus comes from.
- If you have a cough, Anise can help coughing symptoms subside.
- Anise helps kill germs inside the body.
- Anise can help with rheumatism
- Anise has phytochemicals which are beneficial to the bodies balance.
- If you are having issues with light menstruation, anise can help.
- Anise can help to increase your appetite.
- Anise is known to relieve thirst.
- Anise has been found to resists yeast and fungus.
- You can use anise as they did in the past to help alleviate a toothache.
- The oil of anise is used externally to help psoriasis.
- The oil of anise, when used externally, helps to eliminate lice in the event of an outbreak.
The History of Anise Seed
Anise is native to places like Greece, Crete, and Egypt and has been used all over the world for centuries. It grows well in the warm weather which is part of the reason why it thrives in Mediterranean areas. It is well known from school how important spices were for trade and as a source of money to pay things like taxes. Anise was one of the spices used to pay taxes for many years in ancient times. Anise was used often to trade among countries who could not grow anise, in exchange for goods that warmer climate countries needed to but could not produce. Anise is mentioned in the bible, showing its importance to the people of the past.
The people of the Middle East and all throughout Europe very quickly found out how good anise worked in cooking to make food delicious and digestible. These are some of the reasons it was a good trading commodity.
In ancient times, the Romans loved to make delicious spiced cakes to enjoy during Christmas, and they cooked with anise all throughout the year as well.
For centuries throughout Europe and even in South America, anise has been used to make liqueurs to enjoy after dinner.
Anise also has been used in Chinese cooking and Chinese medicine for centuries. The Chinese have been using anise to flavor so many wonderful dishes for years. They enjoy both the great spicy taste for delicious meals and use the health benefits to help them stay healthy and live long.
Potential Side Effects of Anise Seed
Although Anise seed and the oil help our bodies in many beneficial ways, this seed can cause side effects. If you eat too much of anything you can cause toxicity within your body, but some people are allergic to Anise seed as well. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea are all possible side effects of anise seed. So of course if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms stop taking anise seed immediately.
Severe side effects include seizures and pulmonary edema which is fluid accumulating in the lungs. If there is any evidence of these happening get to a doctor immediately.
It is important to be aware of any side effects that happen in conjunction with the type of medications you are taking. It is found that if you ingest anise and do hormone therapy, including with estrogen that the two do not mix well. So if you are in any type of hormone therapy, you might want to stay away from Anise of any kind.
You are not to ingest a high amount of the oil because too much of the oil is toxic. Just eating the seed is enough to get the benefits and the proper amount of oil.
Fun Facts of Anise Seed
- Anise is pronounced ‘anne iss‘. It does not look like that is how you would say the word that represents the spice, but ‘anne iss‘ is the way to say it. Many people want to say Ahhneese, but this is incorrect.
- Anise consists of the oil anethole which helps give the seed its spicy flavor. Anethole is used as an essential oil. The oil is where the flavor and smell comes from.
- Anise is planted in the spring and harvested in the fall. The anise plants like warmth to make them grow and prosper. People in England, during the summer months, can grow and use anise seed.
- For centuries throughout Europe and even in South America, Anise has been used to make liqueurs to enjoy after dinner.
- Do not feed Anise of any kind to pigeons, because it acts as a poison to them and harms their insides.
- Anise is known to possess the power to ward off evil from whoever uses it in their cooking. This is of course been passed down from ancient times.
- There is an acid in anise called shikimic acid that is important for helping fight against the flu. They extract this acid from anise and use it in the popular drug used to combat the avian flu.
- Anise is also used in non-food items such as soaps, creams, and perfumes for those who like a spicy smell.
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2 Popular Recipes Using Anise Seed
Anise Covered Tilapia in Tacos with 5 minute Mole Sauce
- 1 pound tilapia fillets
- dash of sea salt
- 2 tablespoons anise seeds
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- ½ slices white onion
- 2 whole garlic cloves
- 2 whole Roma tomatoes
- 1/3 cup of slivered blanched almonds
- 1 teaspoon cumin seed
- 1 cup of water
- ½ cup of chili paste (ancho if you can find it)
- 2 teaspoons salt, plus more for seasoning fish
- ¼ cup of raisins
- 8 ½ corn tortillas, divided
- 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
- ¼ cup of grated white sharp cheddar cheese
- Season the fish with salt, to taste, and coat in the anise seeds. In a large sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil. When the oil is hot add the tilapia and sauté until golden on 1 side. Flip them over and finish cooking on the other side. Remove the fish from the pan to a plate and keep warm.
- In the same pan add the onion, garlic, and tomatoes and sauté until the onion is golden. Stir in the almonds and cumin seed and cook 1 more minute.
- Deglaze the sauté pan with the water and stir in the chili paste. Carefully transfer the mixture to a blender. Add the 2 teaspoons salt, the raisins, and the ½ corn tortilla and puree until very smooth.
- Briefly, toast the remaining 8 tortillas over an open flame and lay 2 tortillas on each of 4 plates. Break up the fish and divide it evenly among the tortillas. Spoon the mole sauce over the fish. Top with the shredded iceberg lettuce and garnish with the white cheddar cheese. Serve on a nice plate.
Maple-Star Anise Mousse
- 6 egg yolks
- a pinch of salt
- 1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 4 whole star anise
- 2 cups heavy cream
- whisk together the egg yolks and salt in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment on medium speed.
- Fill a small cup with ¼ cup of cold water, and sprinkle the gelatin over it. Put the cup aside.
- In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the maple syrup and star anise. Bring the syrup to a boil over medium-high heat and let cook until it reaches 240 degrees F. The syrup should get very active and bubbly.
- Take the syrup off the stove and remove the star anise carefully.
- With the egg yolks still whipping, slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of the mixer bowl and let it combine with the yolks.
- The gelatin should be a solid mass in the cup. Scrape it out with a rubber spatula and into the saucepan you used to cook the syrup. The heat of the pan should melt the gelatin into liquid.
- Pour out the mousse base into a large bowl. Either clean the mixer bowl thoroughly or if you have another mixer bowl, whip the heavy cream until it has soft peaks (do not over-whip).
- Scrape the whipped cream out onto the mousse base. Using a spatula or bowl scraper, carefully fold the whipped cream into the mousse base, trying not to deflate the whipped cream too much.
- At this point, you can cover and place the mousse in the refrigerator for about 2 hours to let set, and then scoop out portions onto dishes to serve. Or, you could divide mousse into individual dishes and smooth off the tops before you chill them so they have a nicer presentation. A third alternative is to place the mousse in a piping base and pipe out into dishes before chilling them. In any case, you should let the mousse chill about 2 hours before serving.
- The mousse will keep in the refrigerator for about 3 days, covered.
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