[Sca-cooks] The benefits of Anise

jenne at fiedlerfamily.net jenne at fiedlerfamily.net
Wed Feb 20 16:43:08 PST 2008

> Now the question for us is, what did medieval people think about the
> curative properties of anise...?

Excerpt from my "Local Spices: Savory Seeds" class notes:
 Anise (Pimpinella anisum)
This is the favorite digestive/carminative of the period. Anise was one of
the comfit seeds mentioned by Rumpolt.It was used in mustards and other
sauces. Apparently anise seed was added to the doubly-baked breads or
rusks called binavice or biscotum which were called "soldier's bread" by
Syrennius, who "noted that anise seed was normally added not so much for
the flavor as for health reasons" (Dembinska, Food and Drink of Medieval
Poland). Banckes' Herbal suggests it to treat gas, induce sweating, and as
diuretic and/or laxative, but says, "And the seed must be parched or
roasted in all manner medicines; then it will work the rather." William
Turner (16th cent): "Anyse maketh the breath sweeter and swagethe payne."
The Roman Pliny mentioned it in bread. Edward IV of England reputedly had
sachets of anise and orris root to perfume his linen.(Clarkson) Humorally,
it is considered hot in the second degree and dry in the second degree.
Candied anise seed shows up as a garnish on top of puddings such as the
plum puree called Erboles, also.

-- Jenne Heise / Jadwiga Zajaczkowa
jenne at fiedlerfamily.net

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