Like fennel, the anise seed has very distinct taste licorice taste. It’s in the shape of a STAR, for goodness sakes! It’s got to be good!
Anise has been cultivated and prized as a medicinal plant for over 4,000 years. The inception of using anise medicinally can be found amongst the ancient Egyptians, when according to papyrus dated as early as 2,000 BCE, show that anise was used to treat toothache, used as a diuretic, and to help indigestion. References to the anise seed are also found in the works of Hippocrates and other ancient philosophers. Like fennel, Anise has a distinctive licorice flavor, and it is commonly used as a flavoring for breads, cookies and cakes, tea and liquors.
Medicinal properties:The traditional medicinal uses of Anise include use as a cough suppressant and expectorant, and relieves indigestion, gas, bloating, and colic in infants. It has anti-spasmodic properties, so helps with colicky babies, and fights the bloat from PMS. I’m drinking a cup of tea made from anise seeds as I write to fight the pain and gas of PMS.
This amazing tea is made from steeping the anise seeds for about 5 minutes, strain and pour. The Got a cough? Drink a cup of anise seeds steeped in hot water with a teaspoon of honey.
Liquor: As a liquor, anise has been extremely popular across the Mediterranean. Cultivated for centuries, adding the essence of anise, many have claimed it prevents gas and indigestion from drinking. Very similar in its licorice-taste, the anise-alcohol has many names across the region. In Turkey, it is called Raki. In the Middle East and in Arabic, the drink is called Araqi. In Greece, it is called Ouzu. In Crete, it is called Tsikoudia. In Macedonia, it is called Mastiki. All variations of the same drink, it is created from pressing and fermenting grapes, then adding the essence of anise. The result is a clear, transparent liquor that water and/or ice is added to. This transforms the clear liquid into a milky, white liquor.
In Greece, many use shots of Ouzo as a traditional means for celebration! Across the region, many people drink it alongside a large, slow meal such as mezzes, to help with digestion and of course get a mild buzz.
Cookies and/or in cooking: Traditional butter cookies and biscotti’s are given a twist with a hint of anise. Again, great for dipping into your favorite mug of tea, these traditional cookies are common during Easter celebrations. My Aunt Atena always makes a batch and ships them across the country for our entire family. Better than any store-bought variety, these guys freeze well.
Here’s a great recipe for Anise Biscotti I found on Allrecipes.com!
My twist to traditional Easter Anise Biscotti? Drizzle some melted chocolate sauce over them
Add anise seeds to your life in the form of tea, to recipes, or try the local drinks from any liquor shop. Soothing on the belly, you can Live Like a Goddess with this herb from the garden.
Got any other anise recipes? I’d love to hear them. Drop me a note and Discover your Inner Aphrodite. . .