As part of my participation in the Pagan Blog Project website, I’d like to focus not only on Paganism, but on herbs, too. This will help me (and you) to understand these wonderful natural remedies even more.
So the star of our show this week is anise seed. I’ll explain what it looks like and where it’s found, what you can do with it, and its magical properties.
About the Anise Seed Plant
Anise (Pimpinella anisum) is an annual plant, meaning it only lasts for one growing season. Anise seed is not the same as star anise. While anise seed is native to the Middle East, star anise is the fruit of a species of Chinese evergreen trees. Originally I thought the two were the same until I did a bit of research for this post.
The seeds are small, brown, and oval in shape. According to Mountain Rose Herbs, “Anise seed is a member of the family of plants that includes carrots, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, and cilantro. It has a strong licorice-like flavor and scent, and the essential oil is used to flavor licorice candy. Foods with licorice flavoring often contain anise and not any licorice at all.”
According to USA Gardener,
“Anise is native to the Middle East. Although its name does not have a particular meaning, the plant itself is associated with health and is thought to aid digestion. It has been cultivated for much of recorded history. Hippocrates recommended it for coughs, and the Roman scholar Pliny used it as a breath freshener.”
The plant itself usually grows to about 18-24″ high and roughly 12″ wide, meaning it takes up a fair amount of garden real estate. The seeds are located in the plant’s flowers and should be harvested before they become too heavy and fall to the ground. Harvesting the seeds requires cutting the flower heads and placing them on a paper towel to dry (preferably in direct sunlight). Once that’s complete, simply rub the flower between your fingers to separate the seeds from the plant.
If you’re interested in planting anise seed, I definitely recommend you check out the USA Gardener website (link above).
What Anise Seed is Used For
As I mentioned above, anise seed is used as a flavor additive in candies. What about medicinal uses? Originally I purchased anise seed for use in my herbal dream pillows because I read that it helps to relieve respiratory stress and bring a sense of calm. However, it can be used many different ways. Anise seeds can be used whole or crushed/powdered. Creating a simple anise seed tea using a pinch of the herb and hot water will help to relieve digestion issues and stomach cramps. It’s also great for insomnia, and adding a pinch of the herb to a glass of warm milk should put you to bed in no time.
You can read more about the nutritional and medicinal properties of anise seed here.
The other reason I use anise seed in my herbal dream pillows is because it’s believed to offer protection from nightmares. Naturally it’s impossible to find one solid definition of an herb’s magical properties, but this is usually what I find when looking for anise seed uses.
According to earthwitchery.com, anise seed is associated with “Protection. Purification. Youth. Deals with inner, personal issues related to lack of fulfillment. Helps one to become more open to happiness and enjoy company of others. Put in dream pillows to protect from nightmares. Brings protection when traveling in the astral. Include anise in handfasting and wedding cakes.”
Anise seed, not to be confused with star anise, is a great herb for relieving stomach and digestion issues. It’s also a wonderful herb to use in protection magic, cooking, and other herbal recipes.
If you’re interested in purchasing organic anise seed, I recommend Mountain Rose Herbs. It’s the only place I’ll buy mine.
Check out the total list of participating PBP bloggers here!