by Christian Dischler
Aniseed pervades our history books as a multi-purpose healing component. Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean, this naturally sweet seed is now grown all over the world and found in countless cuisines. A member of the same species as cumin, this superfood is often used to infuse soups or enhance baked goods with its unique flavor profile. And while it wasn’t always called a superfood, its benefits are well documented in Ancient Rome.
It was commonplace for the wealthy Romans to gorge themselves on illustrious feasts. At the meal’s end, cakes infused with aniseed were served to ease digestion. Its licorice flavor made the spiced cakes a delicacy, but the aniseed’s true value lies in it’s medicinal properties. From treating issues like nausea, asthma and vomiting, to providing a natural anti-inflammatory and antibacterial boost to our bodies. This unassuming superfood takes spicing up a favorite dish to another level.
Whether suffering from IBS or heartburn, acidic foods can have a negative and lasting impact on our digestive tract. Aniseed boasts a healthy amount of the phytonutrient anethole, which is linked to relaxing our parasympathetic nervous system. This system is in charge of regulating our digestive tract. Providing it with a supportive nudge from aniseed allows our body to self-treat colic conditions, chronic indigestion and constipation. It also relieves tightness in our muscles, easing our gastrointestinal stress and even providing relief for menstrual cramps.
Chances are your favorite herbal tea when you’re sick includes aniseed as an ingredient. This is because its full of antioxidant vitamins and anti-inflammatory properties that induce a calming effect on our respiratory tracts. Reducing swelling in the air passages that dictate breathing is a significant relief for the common cold, but also for those who suffer from asthma. By giving our bodies added support through all-natural remedies, we provide comfort to those strained systems, and offer respite to the rest of our body’s important functions.
Introduce aniseed into your pantry and experience the plethora of health benefits this superseed provides. Use it to add layers of flavor to your favorite savory soup recipe, steep it with hot water to make a homemade remedy for nausea or a cold, or take a hint from the Romans by serving a delicious aniseed baked good after your next feast. You’ll be pleased with the intense flavor it can bring to an otherwise ordinary dish, and the all-natural boost it will provide your overall health.