Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Anise is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and southwest Asia known for its flavor that resembles licorice, fennel, and tarragon. Anise is a dainty, white-flowered urnbelliferous herbaceous annual plant growing to 3 ft (1 m) tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, 0.5 in - 2 in (2 - 5 cm) long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leafs. The flowers are white, approximately 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3 - 5 mm long. It is these seedpods that are referred to as "aniseed".

How to grow
Anise performs best when its roots are not disturbed so direct sowing or the used of peat pellets or peat pots is recommended when starting indoors. Starting anise indoors is recommended is one is looking to harvest seed as a long, warm growing season is necessary to ripen the seeds. Direct sow at 1/8 inch depth in well-drained soil, full sun and keep the soil moist for germination. It will germinate in 10-12 days. Temperature is around 20 degree Celsius. Spacing is 8 to 10 inch in rows about 18 inches apart.

Nutrition info
The vitamins, the B complex (B1, B2), C, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sulphur, iron, aromatic essences.

Anise is frequently used to impart a licorice flavor to dishes. The leaves can be used in salads and the seeds are used as a spice for flavoring cookies, pastries, and confections. As a medicinal plant, anise has been used as a carminative, antiseptic, antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant, and stoma chic. In addition, it has been used to promote lactation in nursing mothers and as a medicine against bronchitis, indigestion and lice. Oil of anise is used today as an ingredient in cough medicine and lozenges and is reported to have diuretic and diaphoretic properties

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