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The green anise is a perennial herbaceous plant belonging to the Umbelliferae family and is native to the Middle East, it has an ovoid shape rich in seeds of which the homonymous liqueur is obtained by distillation. The dried leaves are also used in herbal medicine. The green anise has a subtly striped cylindrical stem, basal leaves with a rounded heart shape while in the median line 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 peppered anise, but the most widely used and known is green anise. Its cultivation was already known in ancient Greece and the Pharaohs of Egypt. Recognized not only for food uses but also for its medicinal properties, in fact, the properly processed leaves and roots produced an essential oil rich in vitamins A, C, and K. Today some scientists claim that the 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 central and southern regions of Italy. The robustness of the fleshy roots, once sown, give rise to numerous seedlings which, once they reach a medium height, can be transplanted without any particular problems as long as light, well-fertilized, dry and sunny exposure is used. Furthermore, 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 gardening centers or at flower shops. Sowing is carried out after winter frosts directly in the ground in furrows distant from each other to allow the plant to grow even in width. The soil must be continuously hoed to keep the plants free from weeds. In periods of drought it is advisable to intervene with abundant watering and to add to it mature manure and chopped peat, burying everything in depth digging with the fingers fairly large holes. The harvest of the fruits is generally obtained in the months of August and September, of early morning when the plants are still damp for the night dew, because this avoids the dispersion of the fruits. The parts without flowers are instead dried in the sun while the petals minced one by one after maceration, produce a very aromatic and alcoholic liquid, available for curative and alimentary uses.
Curative use of green anise
With the green anise the states of nervous excitement, insomnia and stomach acidity are treated. It also produces a toothpaste. Nervous excitement, insomnia and digestion, are three disorders that can be attenuated and even disappear with the following tincture based on green anise: for about ten days you have to infuse in about fifty grams of pure alcohol at least fifteen grams of anise seeds, then filter the liquid and store it in a bottle possibly equipped with a dropper cap. Taking ten drops of tincture before going to bed helps conciliate sleep, while a dozen drops diluted in a cup with chamomile removes the state of nervousness. As for the toothpaste in a jar with a hermetically sealed cap, 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 mint essence and eight hundred grams of pure brandy. At this point everything should 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 and then keep it in a small bottle and use it in drops on the generic toothpaste or directly on the toothbrush.
Food use of green anise
Also in the culinary field the use of green anise has many possibilities for use. It can in fact be used to flavor a variety of dishes and sausages. Furthermore you can prepare an excellent digestive by letting about fifty grams of anise seed soak in a liter of alcohol, with a gram of cinnamon and a bit of vanilla and nutmeg. After about a month of maceration, it is filtered and the liqueur obtained can be used with the addition of sugar. Anise seeds can be ground into minced pepper, to perfume any kind of salad in an excellent way and are an excellent complement in baked or boiled fish preparations. They are also used to flavor pickles and sauces. They are also indicated in homemade biscuits, in cooking boiled chestnuts and in some preparations based on pork to dissolve the sweet taste 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.