In The Garden: Allspice and Anise


Allspice is the dried fruit of the Pimenta dioica plant. It is a small scrubby tree, quite similar to the Bay Laurel in size and form. It adapts well to container culture and can be kept as a houseplant or in a greenhouse. The plant is dioecious, meaning male and female plants must be kept in proximity in order to allow fruits to develop. The tree begins to fruit when three years old and is in full bearing after four years. The flowers appear in June, July and August and are quickly succeeded by the berries. The fruit is picked when it is green and unripe and dried in the sun. When dry, the fruits are brown and resemble large brown peppercorns

Allspice is an aromatic stimulant and carminative to the gastro-intestinal tract, resembling cloves in its action. It is employed chiefly as an addition to tonics and purgatives and as a flavoring agent.

[Info from Wikipedia and]


Not to be confused with star anise, which is a different plant, or Japanese star anise, which is highly toxic.

Anise is used to flavor the spirits Absinthe, Anisette, Pastis, Ouzo, Jägermeister, Sambuca, and is believed to be one of the secret ingredients in the French liqueur Chartreuse. It is also used in some root beers in the United States.

Anise, like fennel, contains anethole. Anise is a mild antiparasitic and its leaves can be used to treat digestive problems, relieve toothache, and its essential oil to treat lice and scabies. Anise can be used to relieve menstrual cramps, and enjoys considerable reputation as a medicine for coughs. In hard, dry coughs where expectoration is difficult, it is of much value. It is greatly used in the form of lozenges and the seeds have also been used for smoking, to promote expectoration.

The volatile oil, mixed with spirits of wine forms the liqueur Anisette, which has a beneficial action on the bronchial tubes, and for bronchitis and spasmodic asthma, Anisette, if administered in hot water, is an immediate palliative. For infantile catarrh, Aniseed tea is very helpful. It is made by pouring half a pint of boiling water on 2 teaspoonsful of bruised seed. This, sweetened, is given cold in doses of 1 to 3 teaspoonsful frequently. Anise oil is a good antiseptic and is used, mixed with oil of Peppermint to flavor aromatic liquid dentrifrices.

Oil of Anise is used also against insects especially when mixed with oil of Sassafras and Carbolic oil.

In aromatherapy, aniseed essential oil is used to treat colds and flu. According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness, chewed with alexanders and a little honey in the morning to freshen the breath, and when mixed with wine as a remedy for scorpion stings.

Anise plants grow best in light, fertile, well drained soil. The seeds should be planted as soon as the ground warms up in spring. Because the plants have a taproot, they do not transplant well after being established, so they should be started either in their final location or transplanted while the seedlings are still small. When they come up, thin them and keep them clean from weedswith a foot around for room to grow. The seeds will ripen in good seasons if planted in a warm, though they are not successful everywhere, and can hardly be looked upon as a remunerative crop. The plant flowers in July, and if the season proves warm, will ripen in autumn, when the plants are cut down and the seeds threshed out.

[Info from Wikipedia and]

This entry was posted in In the Garden, self-reliance and tagged , by zmalfoy. Bookmark the permalink.

About zmalfoy

Z. Malfoy is a practicing Catholic-with-an-"interesting"-past. She earned her Bachelor's Degree in Music Education (Spec. Voice) from Loyola University New Orleans, and has since taken a few business courses to expand her knowledge base. In her free time, she studies belly-dance, alchemy, theology, and various skills related to self-sufficiency. She also enjoys reading science fiction, refreshing her French, and watching anime. She recently started with learning Krav Maga and Russian.

1 thought on “In The Garden: Allspice and Anise

  1. Pingback: In the Garden: a periodic feature « Society of American Slytherins

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