Anise is a popular spice in Middle Eastern, Italian, German, Indian and Mexican cuisine. It is used either ground or whole. It belongs to the Pimpinella anisum plant which is a member of the family Apiaceae that also includes fennel, dill, cilantro, carrots, caraway and cumin. Anise seeds are small-sized, brownish-grey in colour and are slightly curved. The seeds are also extracted for essential oil. Its cultivation is popular in Egypt, the Middle East and Europe. These seeds were highly valued by the Greeks and Romans in earlier times. The Romans used to serve an aniseed spiced cake after feasting to counteract indigestion. Anise seed till date is popular for its digestive properties.
Choose whole or ground anise seeds based on the requirement. It should be well sealed to protect the aroma and flavour. Buy closest to the manufacturing date so that it is fresh.
Some people may be allergic to anise seeds, especially if they are allergic to the plants of the same family like fennel, dill, cilantro, carrots, caraway, and cumin. Moreover, anise seed has properties similar to oesterogen that could worsen conditions, like breast cancer or endometriosis.(2)
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