Anise and the closely related fennel both contain anethol which has
estrogenic properties. Both of these herbs have a folklore
reputation as tonics for women who are nursing and want to increase
milk production , or have menstrual problems like delayed or skimpy
Anise extract is most commonly used in the kitchen in the
preparation of various recipes, especially in baking cookies
because it gives a distinctive flavor. You must have heard about
the Italian Biscotti and pizelle, about the picarones from Peru or
the German Pfeffernusse.
Apart from the culinary uses, anise extract can also be used in the
liquor preparation. The German Jagermeister or the Greek ouzo
contain anise extract that gives them a special taste.
Anise extract is also used by fishermen. They may add a few drops
of extract in their liquid soaps in order to remove their human
scent that can scare the fish. This way, they trick the fish and
catch them more quickly than they generally do. Some fishermen add
anise extract to the bait and argue that this helps them catch more
Anise extract is in fact a tincture of anise or star anise, which
are two totally different plants, but with similar flavors and
Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is a perennial herb that grows up to 1
meter tall, with feathery-like leaves, small white flowers and
seed-like fruits of a green-brownish color. The seeds are the most
commonly used part of the anise plant.
Star anise (Illicium verum) is the eight-pointed star-shaped fruit
of a Chinese evergreen tree. The seeds are similar to anise seeds
both in appearance and in flavor, which is actually determined by
the anethole compound present in both of them.
Anise extract is obtained through a process called absorption, in
which anise or star anise essential oils are extracted by steeping
the seeds in alcohol.
Anise has been a popular remedy here in North America for hundreds
of years as carminative, a herb that relieves gas pains and
bloating. Other traditional uses include colic, rheumatism, and the
familiar licorice-flavor in cough drops. 3
The therapeutic powers of anise's phytochemicals, including creosol
and alpapinene, are commonly used in herbal remedies to break up
congestion, and ease coughing. Anise is an expectorant that is also
antiseptic to the mucous membranes. This means that anise does
double duty: it kill germs while clearing the lungs of congestion.1