• Pimpinella anisum, or better and more commonly known as anise
or star anise, is a flower commonly used as a spice. It is a member
of the family Apiaceae and has a sweet candy-like taste similar to
black licorice. It has a strong similarity, especially in taste, to things
like cumin, dill, and even fennel. Anise is native to Crete, Egypt,
and Greece, and there is evidence of anise use in Egypt as early as
1500 B.C. The early Arabic name for anise was anysum, which
derived from the Latin anisun and the Greek anison. Did you know
that in the Bible in the book of Matthew it is stated that tithe was
paid with anise?
• Anise plants typically grow anywhere from 18 inches to 3 feet high.
The plant has white dainty flowers that only grow to about 1/8 of
an inch in diameter. The flowers grow out in a umbel shape,
meaning that a number of connected short stems all branch out at
a common point to make an almost upside down umbrella shape.
Anise plants have two different types of leaves, the base leaves are
long and shallow lobed, growing anywhere from 3/8 to 2 inches
long. Higher up on the plant, the leaves are feathery. The anise
plant also has a fruit called the aniseed that typically grows 1/8 to
1/4 inch long and is dry and oblong.
• Anise can be used in many different products and industries. While
commonly used for food and beverage purposes, it can also be
used for bath and body products, medicinal purposes, hair care,
skin care, and soap making. Common products it can be used in are
body wash, face tonics, massage oil, bath bombs, shampoos and
conditioners, bath teas, foot scrubs, facial masks, bath salts,
creams, ointments, and lotions. Did you know that steam
locomotive builders used aniseed oil capsules in white metal plain
bearings? The oils’ distinctive smell was used to signal overheating.
• While anise is an annual plant, it has its own specific conditions needed to
achieve its best growth. It needs to be planted in an area with full sun exposure.
Anise can grow in areas with poor soil content, but it does best with rich, well-
drained soil that has a high amount of organic material. However, wherever it is
planted should be planned as its permanent location because it does not adjust
well to being replanted due to having a taproot.
• The anise plant needs a frost-free growth time of about 120 days. So planting it
at the beginning of spring after the last frost is over is the best time. When the
seeds of the plant turn a greenish-gray color, the plant is ready to be harvested.
The seeds should be dried, but the actual oil can be distilled to make aniseed
oil. The oil can also be distilled from the leaves of the plant.
• There are some pests and diseases that can affect the anise plant. A fungi called
Alternaria blight can cause round, small brown, black, or yellow spots on the
leaves. The plant can also be affected by mildew and rusts. Cutworms and
armyworms can feed on and destroy the plant, while aphids can also transport
mold onto the plant.
Anise Uses in
Food and Beverages
• One of the more common uses for anise is for culinary purposes.
Aniseed oil can actually be added to many different kinds of alcohol,
and is one of the key ingredients in a Mexican drink similar to hot
chocolate, called champurrado. Anise is very similar to fennel and can
be used as a substitute for it in some Indian dishes. It is also used to
sweeten many vegetables such as carrots, sweet potatoes, and pears.
It can even be used to give a different flavor to foods like cookies and
breads. Anise leaves can also be added to salads. The ancient Romans
actually served aniseed flavored spice cakes called mustaceoe at the
ends of meals to help the digestive system.
Bath and Body Products
• Anise can be used for many different industries and products. It can
be used for hair care, skin care, many bath and body products,
medicinal purposes, soap making, and even for foods and beverages.
When used in the soap making process, anise is used as a gentle
exfoliator and also gives the soap a nice natural color.
• Many common products that anise can be included in are bath
bombs, bath teas, bath salts, conditioners and shampoos, ointments,
creams, lotions, massage oil, face tonics, body wash, and foot scrubs.
• When used for its skin care benefits anise help to treat acne, oily skin,
psoriasis, and spotted and damaged skin. It also helps to bring a
beautiful glow to skin and keep it smooth and soft.
• There are also many hair benefits to the use of anise as well. It can
help to repair damaged hair, bring moisture to dry hair, stimulate hair
growth, and bring relief from flakes and dandruff. Anise also treats
lice, scabies, and other scalp infections.
Uses in Industries Cont.
• There are many medical ailments that can be treated with anise
or aniseed oil. It can treat seizures, constipation, asthma, runny
nose, intestinal gas, coughs, insomnia, upset stomach, and even
nicotine dependence. Anise has many antimicrobial, antiseptic,
sedative, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and carminative
• For women, anise has many health benefits. It can help to treat
menstrual cramps, start menstruation, ease the pain of childbirth,
increase sex drive, and it also helps to increase milk flow during
• Some men use anise as treatment for symptoms of male
menopause. It can also stimulate appetite and increase urine flow.
• Anise helps to control the heartbeat, control blood pressure
levels, and helps to reduce the pressure on the heart. It actually
works as a natural analgesic.
• When wrapped in a warm cloth, anise seeds can be used as a
compress to relieve eye pain.
• There are also some dental benefits to using anise. It can help to
relieve tooth aches and the seeds can be chewed to help freshen
• Anise is actually poisonous to pigeons, but it has been
used as bait for mouse traps.
• In Indian and Pakistani cultures, there is no distinction
between fennel and anise. They are both called saunf.
• Nature’s Garden sells anise seed and anise essential oil for
external use only. We do not sell it as a food item. The
information above talks about how great anise is for many
industries, however we only sell it for external use. We
provide this data for educational purposes only. Nothing in
this article is to be construed as medical advice. Please
consult your doctor before using this product or any of this
information for treatment purposes.
• Natures Garden offers a Homemade Fire Starters Recipe
using our Star Anise Whole. Make sure you check out this