Monday, 22 June 2015

Anise Oil ❧

Anise, also called aniseed, is a flowering plant native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has similarities to such spices as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. First cultivated in Egypt and the Middle East, anise was brought to Europe for its medicinal value.

The anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well-drained soil. Seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. The plants have a taproot that do not transplant well after being established, so they should be started in their final location or transplanted while the seedlings are still small.

The main use of anise in European herbal medicine was for its carminative effect (intended to prevent formation of gas, combatting flatulence or upset stomach), and has been used to treat menstrual cramps and colic. It has also reportedly been used as an insecticide against head lice, scabies and psoriasis.

Star Anise
Anise, also distinguished by its characteristic flavor, is sweet and very aromatic. The seeds, whole or ground, are used for preparation of tea, alone or in combination with other aromatic herbs. Western cuisines have long used anise to flavor dishes, drinks, and candies, such as black jelly-beans and humbugs, for its licorice-like flavor. The most powerful flavor component of the essential oil of anise, anethole, is found in both anise and an unrelated spice called star anise which is widely used in Asian dishes. It is a key ingredient in Mexican atole de anís or champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate. In India, it is taken as a digestive or breath freshener after meals.

Western cuisines have long used anise to flavor dishes, drinks, and candies. The word is used for both the species of herb and its licorice-like flavor. The most powerful flavor component of the essential oil of anise, anethole, is found in both anise and an unrelated spice indigenous to northern China called star anise widely used in Asian dishes.

Anise Liquor

Anise is also used to flavor spirits or liquors, and also used in some root beers, such as Virgil's in the United States. These liquors are clear, but on addition of water become cloudy, a phenomenon known as the ouzo effect.

Anise is an excellent source of minerals and essential B vitamins, as well as anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin C and vitamin A.

As with anything, anise should be used with caution. Anise has a narcotic effect that can slow down respiration and circulation, therefore children should not be given high doses. It may cause allergic reactions to certain skin types and should be avoided by cancer patients or during pregnancy.

Cold and Flu - Anise has antibacterial properties that are effective in countering colds and flu, clearing congestion in the lungs and the respiratory tracts for conditions like asthma and bronchitis, phlegm, and ease coughing.

A couple drops of anise essential oil can be rubbed on the chest to alleviate a runny nose, or by drinking anise tea by adding 1 teaspoon of crushed anise seeds, or 1 teaspoon of dried (or 3 teaspoons of fresh) crushed anise leaf to one cup of hot water, steep for a few minutes and flavor with sugar, cinnamon, or honey if desired.

In the Middle East, this special hot tea called yansoon, and is given to mothers in Egypt when they are nursing to increase milk flow.

IndigestionAnise essential oil relieves gas and promotes digestion. Add a few drops of anise essential oil to a warm glass of water, or chew anise seeds, after a heavy meal.

PainAnise essential oil can stimulate circulation and relieve rheumatic and arthritic pain, and menstrual discomfort by stimulating blood circulation and by reducing pain in affected areas. Being a relaxant and an anti-spasmodic by nature, anise essential oil relaxes contractions and can be used in relieving pain during childbirth.

AntisepticAnise essential oil also has antiseptic properties which creates an effective protective layer against infections, aiding in faster healing of wounds.

Diuretic/Stimulant - Increases urine flow, boosts metabolism and it can stimulate the nervous system and the brain to make us more active and alert.

Sedative – Contrary to its stimulating properties when administered in lower dosages, anise essential oil has a narcotic and sedative effect by slowing down circulation, respiration and nervous response, which can be calming when administered in higher dosages. It is effective for anxiety, stress, nervousness, depression, anger, epileptic convulsions, as well as for symptoms of insomnia due to its tranquilizing and relaxing effects. However, use with caution, as heavy dosages can have adverse effects, particularly in children.

Male Menopause - Use anise to treat symptoms of “male menopause” and increase sex drive.

Oily Skin/Acne - Use Anise essential oil to treat oily skin and acne, by rubbing a few drops together in the palms of your hands and massaging into the affected area. Has also been used directly on the scalp to treat psoriasis and lice.

InsecticideAnise essential oil is toxic to insects (and smaller animals), and can also kill intestinal worms. The oil can be used in vaporizers and sprays, as insects don’t like the smell of anise.

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