(stressed on the first syllable, rhyming with "Janice"), or more rarely anís
(stressed on the second syllable, as "a niece") (Pimpinella anisum) is
an herb in the family Apiaceae (formerly Umbelliferae)
whose seed-like fruit (also called aniseed)
is used in sweet baking as well as in anise-flavored liqueurs
(e.g. Ouzo). The fruit consists of two
united carpels, called a cremocarp, and has a strong aromatic taste and a powerful
odour. Anise seed is also used in some curries and seafood dishes, and is used
as a breath sweetener and digestive aid.
above-ground parts of the young anise plant are also eaten as a vegetable. The
stems resemble those of celery in texture and are much
milder in flavor than the fruits. Anise is believed to be a galactagogue.
distillation the fruit yields the volatile oil of anise, which is useful in the
treatment of flatulence and colic in children. It may be given as Aqua Anisi,
in doses of one or more ounces, or as the Spiritus Anisi, in doses of 5-20
constituent of the oil (up to 90%) is anethole, C10H12O
or C6H4[1.4](OCH3)(CH:CH.CH3.) It
also contains methyl chavicol, anisic aldehyde, anisic acid, and a terpene.
Chinese star anise
also contains anethole but is botanically unrelated to anise. Because of its similar
taste and aroma, it has recently come into use in the West as a (cheaper) substitute
for anise in baking as well as in liquor production.
Bible Dictionary (1897), the term anise in the Christian Bible (Matt. 23:23) refers to the
herb known today as dill (Anethum' or Peucedanum