Green anise is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Umbelliferae family and is native to the Middle East, has an ovoid shape rich in seeds of which the liqueur of the same name is obtained by distillation. Dried leaves are also used in herbal medicine. Green anise has a subtly striated cylindrical stem, rounded heart-shaped basal leaves while in the midline the leaves are lobed and slightly smaller. The flowers are white umbrella-shaped generally composed of five petals while the stem reaches a height of about sixty centimeters. There are two other species of anise: star anise and peppery one, but the most used and known is green anise. Its cultivation was already known in the times of ancient Greece and the Pharaohs of Egypt. Recognized not only for food uses but also for its medicinal properties, in fact, the leaves and roots properly processed produced an essential oil rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Today some scientists say that green anise in the wild would have been observed in Europe only in the second half of the sixteenth century. Even today, this species is widespread especially in the regions of central and southern Italy. The robustness of the fleshy roots once sown give life to numerous seedlings which, once they reach an average height, can be transplanted without particular problems as long as light, well fertilized, dry and sunny soils are used. In addition, at this stage it is important to space them about half a meter apart.
How green anise is grown
The seeds must be purchased in sachets in garden centers or at florists. Sowing is carried out after the winter frosts directly in the ground in furrows distant from each other to allow the plant to develop even in width. The soil must be continuously weeded to keep the plants free from herbaceous weeds. In periods of drought it is advisable to intervene with abundant watering and add mature manure and chopped peat to it, burying everything deeply digging large enough holes with your fingers. The harvest of the fruits is generally obtained in the months of August and September, early in the morning when the plants are still damp due to the night dew, because this avoids the dispersion of the fruits. The parts without flowers are dried in the sun while the crushed petals one by one after maceration, produce a very aromatic and alcoholic liquid, available for healing and food uses.
Healing use of green anise
With green anise, states of nervous excitement, insomnia and stomach acid are treated. A toothpaste is also made from it. Nervous excitement, insomnia and digestion, are three disorders that can be attenuated and even disappear with the following green anise-based tincture: for about ten days, at least fifteen must be infused in about fifty grams of pure alcohol. grams of aniseed, then filter the liquid and store it in a bottle possibly fitted with a dropper cap. Taking ten drops of tincture before bedtime helps to reconcile sleep, while a dozen drops diluted in a cup with chamomile removes the nervousness. As for the toothpaste in a jar with an airtight lid, the following ingredients must be poured: thirty grams of powdered green anise seeds, eight cloves and eight grams of cinnamon also reduced to powder, one gram of essence of mint and eight hundred grams of pure brandy. At this point everything must be left to macerate for about ten days, shaking the jar from time to time. One day before filtering the liquid, it is left to rest. Now with a narrow mesh strainer we can filter it by storing it then, in a bottle and use it in drops on generic toothpaste or directly on the toothbrush.
Food use of green anise
Even in the culinary field, the use of green anise boasts numerous possibilities of use. In fact, it can be used to flavor a number of dishes and sausages. In addition, an excellent digestive can be prepared by letting about fifty grams of anise seeds macerate in a liter of alcohol, with a gram of cinnamon and a little vanilla and nutmeg. After about a month of maceration it is filtered and the liqueur obtained can be used with the addition of sugar. The anise seeds can be ground in the pepper grinder, to perfume any type of salad in an excellent way and are an excellent complement in the preparations of baked or boiled fish. They are also used to flavor pickles and sauces. They are also indicated in homemade biscuits, in the cooking of boiled chestnuts and in some pork-based preparations to dilute the sweetish flavor they generally have. Also for game such as rabbit meat, green anise seeds are used in addition to the herb-based meal to be given to the animal a few days before slaughtering it.
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