Please note that while ground spices are more convenient to use, they have a much shorter shelf-life than their whole counterparts.
Anise also called aniseed is a flowering plant in the family Apiaceae native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. The flavor and aroma of its seeds have similarities with some other spices, such as star anise, fennel, and licorice. Anise belongs to the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family of plants. Other members of the family include common culinary plants such as celery, carrot, fennel, caraway, and dill. It is widely cultivated and used to flavor food and alcoholic drinks, especially around the Mediterranean.
Anise is sweet and very aromatic, distinguished by its characteristic flavor. The seeds, whole or ground, are used for the preparation of teas and tisanes (alone or in combination with other aromatic herbs), as well as in a wide variety of regional and ethnic confectioneries, including black jelly beans, British aniseed balls, and "troach" drops, Australian humbugs, New Zealand aniseed wheels, Italian pizzelle, German Pfeffernüsse and Springerle, Austrian Anisbögen, Dutch muisjes, New Mexican bizcochitos, and Peruvian picarones and it is taken as a digestive and mouth-freshener after meals in South Asia.
Anise is used to flavor Greek ouzo, Italian sambuca, and plenty of other alcoholic drinks. Anise is used together with other herbs and spices in some root beers, such as Virgil's in the United States.
The main use of anise in traditional European herbal medicine was for its carminative effect (reducing flatulence). According to Pliny the Elder, anise was used as a cure for sleeplessness. In Turkish folk medicine, its seeds have been used as an appetite stimulant, tranquilizer, or diuretic.