Herbal Focus: Anise
My grandmother always use to use anise to flavor her cookies with. :))) I still remember having the cookies she made that were heavy with it's flavor. I actually baked a few batches of them around Christmas time. :)) I might have to go bake a batch this evening now. But off of cookies and onto Aniese! It is widely used in cooking and in medicine.
Anise is widely recommended to improve digestion. You can crush up the seeds and make it into a tea. It is also wonderful to help coughs, and can be used as an expectorant. This is why if you go to the store to buy throat drops you may find it in the ingredient list. It's flavor also helps to mask other flavors in the cough drops.
In the kitchen anise has a licorice taste to it. The seed can be used whole or it can be ground into a powder. It is most commonly used in cakes and cookies. It's actually a quite popular ingredient in wedding cakes. Another place you will find it quite often is in liqueurs.
Anise is also great to use for aromatherapy. You can add ground up seeds to a sachet, or burn some in an oil burner. You can also use the oils in everything from perfumes to soaps, toothpaste and mouthwash.
Anise is commonly mistaken with fennel. The two taste very similar but are not the same plant.
An interesting fact is in the early sixteenth century it was used as mousetrap bait. :) For some reason mice love it as well.
Another fun fact is that dogs love anise like cats love catnip :)))
Love and Blessings,