Known as an aromatic spice, anise seed has a number of applications in the world of herbal medicine. From easing stomach pain to relieving cough and congestion, anise delivers a potent punch of infection-fighting benefits to the body. This warm, sweet spice is capable of treating a variety of conditions both internally and externally.
What is Anise Seed?
A perennial herbal plant, anise typically grows to about 2 feet in height. The plant bears white-colored flowers that typically bloom in July and are harvested by cutting the whole plant once the seeds have ripened. Following harvesting, the seeds are removed from the flower head using a specific threshing method. The seeds are generally oblong or curved in shape and light brown in color. Anise seed typically has a sweet, licorice-like scent and flavor.
An effective antioxidant, anise seed also possesses a number of other healthful benefits. The seeds contain a number of important compounds including anethole, estragol, anise alcohol, pinene and others. These substances make anise seed an effective antiseptic, stimulant, tonic, and anti-inflammatory.
Health Benefits of Anise Seed
Aside from its natural compounds, anise also possesses a number of other health benefits. The seeds of the anise plant possess a variety of essential vitamins including many of the B-complex such as pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin and thiamin. The seeds also contain minerals including calcium, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. The spice also possesses a relatively potent amount of vitamins C and A, making it an effective antioxidant.
With its unique characteristics, anise seed has a number of medicinal applications. As an anti-inflammatory, anise is often used to treat breathing issues including asthma and bronchitis as well as digestive conditions including flatulence, bloating, stomach pain, nausea and indigestion. The compound is also known to have an estrogenic effect, so it is often prescribed to nursing mothers to stimulate the production of breast-milk.
A somewhat unusual spice with a unique and pungent flavor, anise seed also has a number of exceptional health applications. Its unique composition makes it an appropriate complement to a number of treatment plans and regimens.