Anise tea is made with anise seeds, derived from the plant Pimpinella anisum, which is related to fennel, dill, cumin and caraway. The plant is used both for culinary as well as medicinal purposes. Anise seeds resemble fennel seeds, but are smaller. These seeds have a sweet taste with a licorice-like flavor. You may find anise seeds as an ingredient in a whole lot of recipes from various regional cuisines.
Anise tea is one of the commonly used herbal remedies in different parts of the globe, especially the Middle-East. Anise seeds are often mistaken for star anise, which is an entirely different spice. As in case of the name, even the flavor of both these spices resemble. But, star anise is produced by an evergreen tree. The dried versions of the star-shaped fruits of this tree are called star anise. Even star anise has some medicinal uses, which differ from that of anise seeds.
It is said that the ancient Egyptians were aware of the medicinal properties of anise plant and they had used the seeds as a remedy for numerous illnesses. It was used in European herbal medicine as a carminative (a substance that prevents the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract). This herb is often found to be ingested as tea.
Anise Tea Benefits
This herbal tea is commonly used as a digestive aid. It is said to be effective for prevention of bloating and indigestion. This herbal tea is also said to stimulate appetite. It is also used widely as a remedy for respiratory conditions like, cold, cough, bronchitis, pneumonia and sinusitis. Anise seed tea is claimed to be effective in relieving menstrual cramps. Some people use this tea for loosening up the phlegm accumulated in the lungs and the throat.
In some regions, anise tea is used for treating colic. It is also used for alleviating menopause symptoms. It is one of the commonly used herbal remedies for hiccups and is claimed to promote lactation in nursing mothers. Anise seed tea is also believed to be beneficial for men, as it is used for treating impotence.
How to Make Anise Tea
Nowadays, anise seed tea bags are available in the market. You may either use that or use plain anise seeds for preparing tea. All you have to do is to boil water with anise seeds. You may also add crushed anise seeds to hot water and steep for some time. Some people add the infusion to regular tea and use it with sweeteners. In order to prepare anise seed tea, you may crush two teaspoons of anise seeds, to which a cup of boiling water has to be added.
Strain the solution after ten to fifteen minutes. You may also boil a teaspoon of anise seeds with a cup of water, to make this herbal tea. Another method is to boil 1½ cups of water with two teaspoons of anise seeds. Steep two regular tea bags in another pot with 1½ cups of water, for ten minutes. Strain both solutions and combine them, before use.
In short, anise tea is used as a herbal remedy for various conditions. But, it may sometimes cause side effects too. While some people may be allergic to these seeds and develop allergic reactions after consuming this herbal tea, some others may develop skin inflammation and other conditions like rosacea. As anise seeds have diuretic properties, excess consumption may lead to dehydration. So, moderate use, that too, as per the instructions of a qualified herbal practitioner, is recommended. Another important point to note is that you must not mistake anise with star anise, which may cause some severe side effects, when used as tea.