The aromatic seed is eaten raw or used as a flavouring in raw or cooked foods such as soups, pies, bread and cakes. A distinctive sweet liquorice flavour, its use improves the body's ability to digest food. The seed is harvested by cutting the whole plant when the seed is ripe. The plants are then kept in a warm, dry position for a week and then threshed to remove the seeds. Store the seeds in the dark in an airtight jar. An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavouring in sweets (especially aniseed balls) ice cream, chewing gum, pickles etc. It is also often used to flavour alcoholic drinks such as pernod, ouzo and anisette.The leaves and the seeds can be brewed into a sweet liquorice-like tea.
The powdered seed can be used as a dentrifice and mouthwash. The plant is an ingredient of pot-pourri.The plant can be used as an insect repellent but it is also said to attract mice. If aniseed oil is liberally smeared around live-traps it can attract mice and other rodents into them. The plants seem to be immune to the predations of slugs and snails and can help to protect neighbouring plants. A spray made by boiling of one part coriander leaves and one part anise seeds in two parts of water is very effective against red spider mites and woolly aphids.
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Aniseed has a very long history of herbal and culinary use, and is often cultivated for its edible and medicinal seed in warm temperate zones. The plant needs warm summers if it is to grow well and seeds only ripen in Britain in long warm summers. Plants strongly resent root disturbance and should not be transplanted.A good companion plant in the garden, its aromatic nature helping to keep nearby plants free of aphis etc. Its flowers attract parasitic wasps to the garden and these prey on a large number of garden pests. Aniseed grows especially well with coriander.
Problems, pests & diseases
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