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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, C10H12O or
C6H4[1.4](OCH3)(CH:CH.CH3.) 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.).
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