Aniseed is the seed of Anise which is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Its flavor has similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and liquorice. Anise is a loose category used to classify a group of spices that, despite having a similar taste, do not share any other botanical ties.
Aniseed is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and has been highly valued since ancient times. Aniseeds have a distinctive licorice-like flavor and have been used for medicinal purposes throughout history, especially as a digestive aid. The seeds are also used whole or crushed as a flavoring in various foods, from baked goods and sweets to liquors. Aniseed is commonly employed to produce liquors. The seeds, both ground or whole, are also used in bread-making and to prepare herbal teas and infusions. Blue ice lollies are usually anise-flavored, although their color is the result of artificial coloring.
Ancient Egyptians used anise seeds and leaves for their taste and medicinal properties. Pythagoras and Pliny mention anise as a rejuvenating plant that aids sleep. The Romans ate an anise cake, which was supposed to freshen the breath and aid digestion. Thanks to monks during the reign of Charlemagne, anise was introduced to central and northern Europe.