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Anise (Pimpinella anisum)

Plant family

Apiaceae (parsley family).

Botanical synonyms



Eastern Mediterranean (Egypt?) or West Asia. Turkey is still an important producer in our days, but still better qualities come from Spain.

Used plant part

Fruits, which are often termed “seeds”, though this is not botanically correct.

Sensoric quality

Sweet and very aromatic.

Main constituents

The aroma of the essential oil (up to 3% in the fruits) is dominated by trans-anethole (max. 90%). Additional aroma components are estragol (iso-anethole, 2%), anise aldehyd (less than 1%), anise alcohol, p-methoxy-acetophenone, pinene, limonene, gamma-himachalene (2%). An unusual compound is the phenol ester 4-methoxy-2-(1-propene-yl)-phenol-2-methyl-butyrate, which is characteristic for anise (5%).

Dried anise fruits (also termed anise seeds)


In Western cuisine, anise is mostly restricted to bread and cakes; occasionally, bread fruit products are aromatized with anise. In small dosage, it is sometimes contained in spice mixtures for sausages and stews. Its main application are, however, anise-flavoured liquors (raki, ouzo, pernod).

In the East, anise it is less known, fennel and star anise being more easily available. Anise may, substitute fennel in Northern Indian recipes, but it is a less suited substitute for star anise.

Source :

European Masters Degree in Food Studies - an Educational Journey

Master in Food Safety Law is an initiative of Wageningen University, The Netherlands