What is Anise Herb & its Culinary Uses

All You Needed to Know About Anise

What is anise herb, and is anise a herb or a spice? That’s the ultimate question behind this aromatic seasoning used worldwide, and today we’re telling you all about it.

Anise is one of the few flavors we all recognize. It aromatizes liqueurs and pastries, curries, and stir-fries, and it’s that versatility that makes it one of the most prized items in everyone’s spice cabinet.

Let’s start by saying that over one seed and herb taste and smell like anise, and although they might taste similar, they’re widely distinct.

The Difference Between Star Anise Seed and Anise

Anise or Pimpinella anisum is a flowering plant native to the Eastern Mediterranean Basin, South East Asia, and Northern Africa. The plant’s small seeds are used for their intense aromas.

The largest producers of anise are Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, South America, Syria, Turkey, Spain, and the UK.

Star anise, or Illicium verum, is a star-shaped dried fruit and seeds of an unrelated species native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China. Actually, China produces about 80% of the seed.

Star anise is cheaper to produce and it’s mostly cultivated for one of its oily compounds, a key element in the antiviral Tamiflu.

This means anise is the seed of a herb, and star anise can be considered a spice. Both have unique uses, and each is preferred for one use or another.

Culinary Uses of Anise

Anise liqueurs

Perhaps the better known and most widespread use of anise seed is liqueurs. The Greek ouzo, Italian sambuca, French pastis and absinthe, and Turkish raki, amongst other liqueurs, are flavored with anise seed.

Lots of teas, infusions, and tisanes are made with aniseed and are popular. So are bread, sweet baking treats, and drinks like hot chocolate.

The similarities to fennel and licorice make anise a well-rounded spice with lots of uses in the kitchen, but anise also has intricate health benefits, and that makes it even more special. Read on to know all about anise contributions to health.

Anise Health Benefits

As mentioned, star anise has a potent compound widely used as an antiviral, mainly against influenza and the avian flu, but aniseed has adequate health benefits as well.

  • Anise might help reduce depression symptoms, treat anxiety, and boost your mood. According to some studies, compounds in aniseed can be as potent as some antidepressants.
  • Aniseed can aid digestion, decreasing stomach acid production, and preventing the formation of ulcers.
  • Compounds in anise, mainly anethole, can prevent microbial growth and can fight bacteria and unicellular fungi. This can prove useful against digestive infections.
  • Useful data is piling up in favor of anise against menopause symptoms, as compounds in the spice could act like estrogen in the body. Hot flashes, headaches, fatigue, and dry skin could be diminished by consuming the spice.
  • Anise can keep sugar levels in check by enhancing the pancreas functions to produce insulin. We need more research to back these claims clinically.

Anise Nutritional Value

Health benefits

Nutritionally, aniseed fairs quite well. Seven grams of seeds provide only 23 grams of calories, one gram in protein, one gram of fiber, and one gram of fat.

Other than that, aniseed provides manganese, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and copper. And although quite nutritious, anise is often consumed in small quantities, meaning it will not meaningfully affect your daily nutritional intake.

What is anise herb? A fantastically nutritious and beneficial spice that tastes really nice. It is not meant to be a nutritional supplement, but to make us happy with its delicate flavor and aroma.

The Bottom Line

Anise herb is used for its aromatic seeds, and they’re used in baking treats, savory foods, and liqueurs. It’s a very healthy spice, although nor deeply researched by science.

Star anise is an entirely different plant, and although it tastes and smells similarly, it’s mostly used for its antiviral properties.

Aniseed flavors are warm and pleasing, and there are plenty of opportunities to incorporate them into your cooking. The next time you take a sip of ouzo or enjoy a slice of anise bread, pay your respects to the tasty seeds.

And don’t forget to share your new knowledge about the spice. No one can resist the charming flavors of anise.

You can checkout our curated shop for interesting and curated range of Anise products.

Highly Rated – Social Media Chatter on Anise

My proud #cypriot moment!

Cyprus Koulouri posing in the strong morning sun! I look at them and feel nothing but joy! Very #happybaker

A bread infused with mahlep, mastic, cinnamon and anise. Assembled in a special (and a bit fussy) way but so worth it. For recipe, method and assembly details check my highlights under ‘bread recipe’.
#koulouri #cypruslife #ψωμί #cyprusfood #sourdoughbread #sourdoughstarter #localfood #sourdoughbaking #bread #breadlove #bakebread #homemadebread #realbread #pullapartbread #sesameseeds #nigellaseeds #mahlep #mastic #cinnamon #anise #sourdoughlover #sourdough #naturallyleavened #heartcyprus

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Where do you fall on the chai spectrum - “can’t get enough” or “so overrated”?

​We’re firmly rooted in the “can’t get enough” category for this warming, wintery brew. So you can imagine our excitement over the following recipe that combines a homemade chai concentrate with spiced apple cider for the best of all beverage worlds. Thank you, chai blessings! 🙌

Yield: 4 drinks.

🌿 6 cardamom seed pods (+/- depending on how fresh and fragrant your cardamom is)
🌿 6 whole peppercorns 
🌿 4 whole clove buds
🌿 2 star anise seeds, plus more for garnish
🌿 1-inch piece of fresh ginger rhizome, peeled and cut into small pieces
🌿 3 cinnamon bark sticks
🌿 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
🌿 1 tablespoon honey
🌿 2 cups water
🌿 2 black tea bags (or 2 teaspoons black loose-leaf tea)
🌿 2 cups apple cider
🌿 Optional: 6 ounces spiced rum 

Combine the cardamom, peppercorns, cloves, anise, ginger, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, and water into a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.
Remove from heat, add the black tea, cover, and allow to steep for 5 minutes.
Strain the mixture and let sit at room temperature. This is your chai concentrate.
Add ¼ cup of chai concentrate and ¼ cup apple cider into each glass.

​Optional alcoholic variation: pour 1.5 ounces of spiced rum into each of four glasses before adding ¼ cup each of chai concentrate and apple cider.

(Note: If you prefer drinking these as warm cocktails, simply keep the chai concentrate warm on the stovetop and warm the cider in another saucepan on the stove before pouring and serving.)

​#chai #spicedchai #chairecipe #adultchai #herbalcocktails #cocktailrecipe #wintercocktail #boozy #cardamom #peppercorns #vanilla #cinnamon #ginger #anise #cloves #sipslowly #herbalist #herbalists #herbaldrinks #myherbalstudies #herbalacademy #mocktails #mocktailrecipe #herbalistlife #teablend #chaiblend #apothecary #whatsinyourcup  #teadrinkers #teabreak

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Witchy Tips
Artist unknown
#magick #witchesofinstagram #witch #witchcraft #magic #starofanise #pagan #witchtips #wicca #witchyvibes #witchythings #witchy #spirituality #witches #crystals #spells #anise #pagansofinstagram #herbs #divination #esoteric #healing #wiccan #astrology #alter #kitchenwitch #italinwitch #folkmagic #witchlife #greenwitch

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  • www.thespruceeats.com/what-is-anise-995562
  • en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anise
  • www.healthline.com/nutrition/anise
  • www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-582/anise
  • www.britannica.com/plant/anise

4 thoughts on “What is Anise Herb & its Culinary Uses

  1. This is a terrific looking site with some great advice on spices.  How many times have I been in the supermarket looking at spices and not really understanding them.  I have bookmarked your site as I would like to revert to it when I am looking at menus. I had heard of Anise before but did not really understand it. It was good to learn about the health benefits. Would you recommend anise supplements to help with the conditions your described?

    1. Thank you so so much, Trevor. I would say to please consult a health practioner for treating any conditions.

  2. Hello there, it was very nice to learn about anise herb from your article and I’m really glad that I came across this. This is my first time hearing of anise herbs but it holds a lot of medical benefits that I’m surprised I’ve never heard of it before. For such a plant a myriad of recreational purposes I think it should be promoted largely. Thank you for sharing this article. 

    1. Thankyou much, Beesean. 

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