Dear Littler B,
In keeping up with the challenges given, I will be teaching you a bit about the herbology to come for you. The way I see it - the more I teach you now, the more knowledgeable you will be at a younger age than I was. It will be less "hitting the books" research you will have to do, as they have yet to spread use of the new invention of the internet where you are in the 1980s. This should become a great go to guide for you. You can take all these letters and combine them into your own book. The kids of today don't even realize how spoiled they are with information at their fingertips any time they want.
Writing about GOOD HEALTH for the Crazy 4 Blogging challenge today is a relatively easy task given the theme that I have chosen for my A-Z. So here we go dear little one. Pay attention, its great stuff!
is for Anise..
I know that many people have by now heard of Anise, something they would pick up in a produce or spice section at in a grocery store. I am here to tell you a little bit more about this herb in both it's practical and metaphysical forms.
Origins & Identification
Anise is a delicate, flowering plant mostly found in the Mediterranean and Southern Asia areas. The plant grows on average in the range of 18" - 24" with green leaves that can only be described as featherish and parsley like. The flower portion of the plant is dainty and white. The pods that grow on the plant contain the seeds that are used for cooking, making oils and other applications. A lot of people get anise with star anise confused as they are which is similar in taste (also similar to the flavor of fennel & licorice). Anise seeds are generally more of a curved shape.
Here is a picture of what the actual plant looks like when you are ready to identify it and grow it.
Down to the nitty gritty....
Practical Uses of Anise
Anise, besides being a culinary delight is used in making various teas, medicines and liquors. Everyone I know where I come from (predominantly Italian area of NJ) has either bought or tried my anisette cookies (if not - look below for the recipe). The flavor almost reminds me of licorice, and surprise - they are one of the main ingredients in black jelly beans! Anise is also used to make some root beers. I would be remiss if I failed to mention that it is also an ingredient in Jagermeister and sambuka. Um, nuf said?
Being in the herb/spice category, of course there are going to be some practical health applications or we would not still be using them today. A great detailed source of information can be found on Nutrition and You's website (including the USDA breakdown) where they have done a much better detail of the health benefits and nutrients. Anise is known among other things to be an anti-oxident, aid in digestion, encourage the growth of red blood cells, and believe it or not - an aid for lactating mothers in producing milk. Last note on health, have you ever been in an Indian restaurant and seen these to help dinner breath? Yep! Candy coated Anise & Fennel seeds!
Ok, now dear young one - onto the fun stuff. The metaphysical properties (yes that means what's so magic about it?).
It is also known by folk names Anneys, Aniseseed, Yanisin and Sweet Cumin). There are so many magickal properties of this one in both seed and oil form that it is hard to list them all. Here are some of the big ones. Protection, purification, clairvoyance and prophetic applications. Anise, known for it's antiseptic properties even to the ancient Egyptians, is a great addition to a purification and protection bath.
Anise is associated with the element air, aligned with Jupiter influence and is a masculine plant and as such can be used for those things that are associated with that element: Intuition, thought, inspiration etc. especially when seeking clairvoyance or prophetic information. In the same way anise can also be burned while meditating. Use this as an addition to a dream bag to put under your pillow at night to enhance dream work.
Hope this information has been intriguing and educational, enough to get you curious to go find out more!
Wiser but still never wise enough,
Bigger Little B