Aniseed





The Anise (Pimpinella), from bipenella, because of its

secondary, feather-like leaflets, belongs to the umbelliferous

plants, and is cultivated in our gardens; but its aromatic seeds

chiefly come from Germany. The careful housewife will do well

always to have a [25] supply of this most useful Simple closely

bottled in her store cupboard. The herb is a variety of the Burnet

Saxifrage, and yields an essential oil of a fine blue colour. To

make the essence of Aniseed one part of the oil should be mixed

with four parts of spirit of wine. This oil, by its chemical basis,

anethol, represents the medicinal properties of the plant. It has a

special influence on the bronchial tubes to encourage expectoration,

particularly with children. For infantile catarrh, after

its first feverish stage, Aniseed tea is very useful. It should be

made by pouring half-a-pint of boiling water on two teaspoonfuls

of the seeds, bruised in a mortar, and given when cold in doses of

one, two, or three teaspoonfuls, according to the age of the child.

For the relief of flatulent stomach-ache, whether in children or in

adults, from five to fifteen drops of the essence may be given on a

lump of sugar, or mixed with two dessertspoonfuls of hot water.

Gerard says: The Aniseed helpeth the yeoxing, or hicket

(hiccough), and should be given to young children to eat which are

like to have the falling sickness, or to such as have it by patrimony

or succession. The odd literary mistake has been sometimes made

of regarding Aniseed as a plural noun: thus, in The Englishman's

Doctor, it is said, Some anny seeds be sweet, and some bitter.

An old epithet of the Anise was, Solamen intestinorum--The

comforter of the bowels. The Germans have an almost superstitious

belief in the medicinal virtues of Aniseed, and all their

ordinary household bread is plentifully flavoured with the

whole seeds. The mustaceoe, or spiced cakes of the Romans,

introduced at the close of a rich entertainment, to prevent

indigestion, consisted of meal, with anise, cummin, and other

aromatics used for staying putrescence or fermentation within the

[26] intestines. Such a cake was commonly brought in at the end

of a marriage feast; and hence the bridecake of modern times has taken

its origin, though the result of eating this is rather to provoke

dyspepsia than to prevent it. Formerly, in the East, these seeds

were in use as part payment of taxes: Ye pay tithe of mint, anise

[dill?], and cummin! The oil destroys lice and the itch insect, for

which purpose it may be mixed with lard or spermaceti as an

ointment. The seed has been used for smoking, so as to promote

expectoration.



Besides containing the volatile oil, Aniseed yields phosphates,

malates, gum, and a resin. The leaves, if applied externally, will

help to remove freckles; and, Let me tell you this, says a

practical writer of the present day, if you are suffering from

bronchitis, with attacks of spasmodic asthma, just send for a bottle

of the liqueur called 'Anisette,' and take a dram of it with a little

water. You will find it an immediate palliative; you will cease

barking like Cerberus; you will be soothed, and go to sleep.--

Experto crede! I have been bronchitic and asthmatic for twenty

years, and have never known an alleviative so immediately

efficacious as 'Anisette.'



For the restlessness of languid digestion, a dose of essence of

Aniseed in hot water at bedtime is much to be commended. In the

Paregoric Elixir, or Compound Tincture of Camphor, prescribed

as a sedative cordial by doctors (and containing some opium),

the oil of Anise is also included--thirty drops in a pint of

the tincture. This oil is of capital service as a bait for mice.





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