Anise (Pimpinella Anisum), an umbelliferous plant found in Egypt and the Levant, and cultivated on the continent of Europe for medicinal purposes. The officinal part of the plant is the fruit, which consists of two united carpels, called a cremocarp. It is known by the name of aniseed, and has a strong aromatic taste and a powerful odour. By distillation the fruit yields the volatile oil of anise, which is useful in the treatment of flatulence and colic in children. It may be given as Aqua Anisi, in doses of one or more ounces, or as the Spiritus Anisi, in doses of 5-20 minims. The main constituent of the oil (up to 90%) is anethol, CHO or CH[1.4](OCH)(CH:CH.CH.) It also contains methyl chavicol, anisic aldehyde, anisic acid, and a terpene. Most of the oil of commerce, however, of which anethol is also the chief constituent, comes from Illicium verum (order Magnoliaceae, sub-order Wintereae), indigenous in N.E. China, the star-anise of liqueur makers. It receives its name from its flavour, and from its fruit spreading out like a star.
The anise of the Bible (Matt. xxiii. 23) is Anethum or Peucedanum graveolens, i.e. dill (q.v.).