AskDefine | Define anise

Dictionary Definition



1 native to Egypt but cultivated widely for its aromatic seeds and the oil from them used medicinally and as a flavoring in cookery [syn: anise plant, Pimpinella anisum]
2 liquorice-flavored seeds or oil used in cookies or cakes or pickles [syn: aniseed]

User Contributed Dictionary



Old French anis< Latin anisum< ancient Greek anison


  1. An umbelliferous plant (Pimpinella anisum) growing naturally in Egypt, and cultivated in Spain, Malta, etc., for its carminative and aromatic seeds, which are used as a spice. Has a licorice scent.


plant and spice

Extensive Definition

Anise or Aniseed, less commonly anís (stressed on the second syllable) (Pimpinella anisum), is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae, native to the eastern Mediterranean region and southwest Asia. It is a herbaceous annual plant growing to 3ft (1m) tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple,0.5 in - 2 in (2-5 cm) long and shallowly lobed, while leaves higher on the stems are feathery pinnate, divided into numerous leaflets. The flowers are white, 3 mm diameter, produced in dense umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, 3-5 mm long.
Pimpinella species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species (butterflies and moths), including the lime-speck pug and wormwood pug.



India is leader in production of Anise followed by Syrian Arab Republic.



Containing liquorice-like components, anise is sweet and very aromatic. It is used to make the following confectioneries: Aniseed balls (Britain), Aniseed wheels (New Zealand), pizzelles (Italy), pfeffernusse (Germany), and Knotts (Norway). Aniseed is also used to make the Mexican drink "atole de anís" or champurrado which is similar to hot chocolate, the Turkish drink Raki (alcoholic beverage),the Greek Ouzo, the Italian Sambuca, the spirit absinthe, the favourite for Arabic Arak, some Root beer such as Virgil's Root Beer in the United States, and as a digestive after meals in India. It also is used to make the dough, when preparing the famous Peruvian dessert " Picarones". In Colombia, it's also used to add to the national drink Aguardiente, which depending on the region, more or less anise gives the typical drink it's distinctive flavor.



  • In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu.
  • According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with alexanders and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and when mixed with wine as a remedy for scorpion stings (N.H. 20.72).
  • In the Mediterranean, aniseed is used in producing alcoholic beverages, such as Arak (Lebanon), Ouzo (Greece) and Raki in Turkey.
  • In Indian cuisine, no distinction is made between anise and fennel. Therefore, the same name (saunf) is usually given to both of them. Some use the term patli (thin) saunf or velayati (foreign) saunf to distinguish anise from fennel
  • In Thailand it is used to flavor tea.
  • In Pakistan boiling water is poured over about a tablespoon of aniseed in a teacup to make a hot tea.
  • Builders of steam locomotives in Britain incorporated capsules of aniseed oil into white metal bearings, so that the distinctive smell would give warning in case of overheating.
  • Aniseed is also the flavour of a sweetened gum called Blackjack.
Anise can be made into a liquid scent and is used for both hunting and fishing. Anise smells similar to liquorice and is put on fishing lures to attract fish. Anethole, the principal component of anise oil, is a precursor that can eventually produce 2,5-dimethoxybenzaldehyde which is used in the clandestine synthesis of psychedelic drugs such as 2C-B, 2C-I and DOB. Anise is also the main flavor of Absinthe as well as being used as a flavoring for pastis, ouzo, pernod, sambuca, rakı, Becherovka, anice tutone, Chartreuse and other liqueurs. Anise has a particular effect on some dogs that parallels the effect of catnip on house cats. Some cats as well seem attracted to anise. Anise is perfectly safe for cats and dogs alike to ingest.


See also

anise in Arabic: ينسون
anise in Bosnian: Anis
anise in Bulgarian: Анасон
anise in Catalan: Anís
anise in Czech: Bedrník anýz
anise in Danish: Anis
anise in German: Anis
anise in Spanish: Pimpinella anisum
anise in Esperanto: Anizo
anise in French: Anis vert
anise in Galician: Anís
anise in Upper Sorbian: Anis
anise in Croatian: Anis
anise in Italian: Anice
anise in Hebrew: אניס
anise in Luxembourgish: Anäis
anise in Lithuanian: Anyžinė ožiažolė
anise in Hungarian: Ánizs
anise in Malay (macrolanguage): Jintan manis
anise in Dutch: Anijs
anise in Japanese: アニス
anise in Norwegian: Anis
anise in Polish: Biedrzeniec anyż
anise in Portuguese: Anis
anise in Romanian: Anason
anise in Quechua: Anis
anise in Russian: Анис
anise in Albanian: Pimpinella
anise in Slovenian: Janež
anise in Serbian: Анис
anise in Finnish: Anisruoho
anise in Swedish: Anis
anise in Turkish: Anason
anise in Ukrainian: Аніс
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