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Loving the Mediterranean Diet: 14 Benefits of Anise

Pinpinella Star Anise Seeds

When it comes to foods consumed in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern worlds, anise often appears as a main spice or ingredient. The licorice tasting seeds of the flower are made into candy pieces or added into medications and foods to help maintain healthy bodies.

There’s much to learn from that part of the world. Furthermore, the widespread fame of anise was known to the Europeans as well, where doctors would prescribe the use of this plant in multiple states, as spice or herb, to heal and fight diseases.

A spice used for centuries on end, anise was as valuable as gold alongside cumin and cinnamon, being used to embalm the dead. Now that’s paying tribute to the wonders of a natural plant.

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Not the most conventional of international spices, anise seeds are known for a great many things, many of which science has yet to prove correct. These include:

  • It is believed that anise increases the milk flow, supporting breast-feeding as a tradition in many cultures, which pretty much points out how safe it is.
  • When it comes to bronchitis, anise is believed to melt away mucus in the throat, easing the breathing passage.
  • When it comes to spastic dry coughs, anise drops and candies are often offered by Arab or Eastern European mothers, to help gently soothe the throat.
  • Anise, ylang-ylang and coconut oils combined are believed to kill off head lice.

When it comes to the use of anise in European herbalism, the most commonly known ailments to treat were colds, indigestion and intestinal parasites.

There are also many health benefits that studies have proven to be fact:

  • Star-Anise has chemo-preventative effects through its anti-carcinogenic attributes, shown to reduce tumor burden, lower oxidative stress and increase level of phase II enzymes.
  • Anise essential oils have been shown to be anti-fungal, antimicrobial and antioxidant
  • Anise is a carminative herb, which means that it is an aromatic digestive tonic, used to ease indigestion and upset stomachs by relieving spasms in the intestinal tract and the effects of excessive gas in the body.
  • Anise, also known as pimpinella, is used to remove the fungus known as Colletotrichum, which is the anthrax-type diseases killing many worldwide.
  • Anise essential oils are known to kill malaria-causing parasites and the bacterium causing illnesses to fester in those with reduced immune systems.

University of Michigan
Journal of Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2007; 79:539-556.
Chemo-preventive effect of Star anise in N-nitrosodiethylamine initiated and phenobarbital promoted hepato-carcinogenesis. Chemico-Biological Interactions. Volume 169, Issue 3, 20 September 2007, pp 207–214
Antimicrobial and antioxidant activity of spice essential oils. Food Science and Biotechnology. February 2011, Volume 20, Issue 1, pp 45-53
A Reason to Season: The Therapeutic Benefits of Spices and Culinary Herbs. Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing. September 2006, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp. 446-449