Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae), Pimpinella anisum L.
Source: Simon, J.E., A.F. Chadwick and L.E. Craker. 1984.
Herbs: An Indexed Bibliography. 1971-1980. The Scientific Literature
on Selected Herbs, and Aromatic and Medicinal Plants of the Temperate
Zone. Archon Books, 770 pp., Hamden, CT.
Anise, Pimpinella anisum L., a herbaceous annual native
to the Mediterranean region and Egypt, is cultivated in Europe,
Asia India, Mexico, North Africa, and the USSR. The plant reaches
a height of about 0.5 meters and requires a warm and long frost-free
growing season of 120 days (11.1-128). The reported life
zone for anise production is 8 to 23 degrees centigrade with 0.4
to 1.7 meters of precipitation and a soil pH of 6.3 to 7.3.
Anise develops best in deep, friable soils and appears to respond
favorably to nitrogen fertilization by yielding a greater quantity
of high-quality fruit (4.3-158). The small white flowers
bloom in midsummer, and seed maturation usually occurs one month
after pollination, when the oil content in the dried fruit is
about 2.5%. The major constituent in oil of anise is anethole.
Methylchavicol and para-methoxyphenylacetone are also present,
but in lesser relative amounts.
While the entire plant is fragrant, it is the fruit of anise,
commercially called anise seed, that has been highly valued since
antiquity. The delicate fragrance is widely used for flavoring
curries, breads, soups, cakes, candies, desserts, nonalcoholic
beverage, and such liqueurs as anisette and arak. The volatile
or essential oil, obtained by steam distillation of the crushed
anise seed, is valuable in perfumery and soaps and has been used
in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams (11.1-96). Anise
oil is sometimes used as an adulterant in the essential oil of
licorice. The oil is sometimes used as sensitizer for bleaching
colors in photography (11.1-128).
As a medicinal plant, anise has been used as a carminative, antiseptic,
antispasmodic, expectorant, stimulant, and stomachic. 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 (11.1-136).
If ingested in sufficient quantities, anise oil may induce nausea,
vomiting, seizures, and pulmonary edema (11.1-136). Contact
of the concentrated oil with the skin can cause irritation (11.1-136).
Star anise, Illicium verum Hook. f., of the Magnoliaceae
family, is a small evergreen tree or bush, native to China. This
plant, produced commercially in the People's Republic of China,
is distinctly different from the herb anise and is commercially
important for its star-shaped fruits that can be sold or
distilled for their essential oil. The volatile oil of star anise
is very much like that of anise, having a similar odor, flavor,
and utilization. Anise oil is sometimes adulterated with star
anise oil, fennel oil, or synthetic anethole (14.1-9). Anise-hyssop
(Agastache foeniculum formerly Agastache anethiodora),
is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae, native to the United States,
which has a characteristic anise scent and flavor. Common names
for this plant include Korean mint or anise mint.
Anise and oil of anise are generally regarded as safe for human
consumption as a spice/natural flavoring and plant/oil extract
(21 CFR sections 182.10, 182.20 ).
[Note: References listed above in parentheses can be found in full in the original reference].
Last modified 6-Dec-1997