Green anise, scientific name Pimpinella anisum belonging to family of Apiaceae it is native to the Middle East even if it is now so widespread that it can be considered native to our lands.
It is a plant that has a stem which can reach a meter in height, hollow inside.
The leaves they are different according to the position they have in the plant: those placed lower are oval, provided with a long sheathing petiole while those placed higher along the stem, have a much shorter petiole and are deeply engraved.
THE flowers they are small, arranged in umbels and whitish in color. It blooms throughout the summer.
The fruit it is an achene which ripens in August-September.
Green anise is rich in essential oils and proteins.
Its properties are: antispamasmodic, carminative, expectorant, galattogogo, stimulating is excellent digestive.
As an antispasmodic it is excellent for mild nervous disorders even when they occur in the gastrointestinal and respiratory system.
USED PARTS OF THE PLANT
Only the fruits are used (improperly called seeds), collected together with the umbrellas in late summer and dried in ventilated and dark places and then beaten to extract the seeds.
HOW TO USE IT
Green anise seeds are steam distilled to extract essential oils from the characteristic aroma.
The seeds and essence are used in cooking to flavor foods.
The origin of green anise is quite obscure. It is thought that it was introduced from Asia but the place where it has always grown spontaneously is unknown.
Due to its strong flavor it is often used in the pharmaceutical industry to mask the taste of drugs with a particularly unpleasant taste.
Caterina Sforza, a lady from Forlì, made a tonic by distilling three different plants (rosemary, sage, basil, carnation, mint, nutmeg, elderberry, juniper, cinnamon, white roses and red roses and incense) with anise to obtain that chelei he called "Heavenly Water".
There is also another type of anise, thepeppery anise,scientific name Xanthoxylum piperitium belongs to the family ofRutaceae. It is native to the Far East and is widely used in Asian countries while in Europe it is not very widespread and little known.
The essence of green anise in large doses can be toxic especially if it has not been stored properly, that is to say in hermetically sealed containers and in the dark.