Anise Hyssop (Agastache foeniculum L.)

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Family Notrelidae – Lamiaceae (Labiatae) 

General knowledge 

It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing from the western USA to Canada, found in the Far East and Central Asia. Cultivated in the USA, Canada, and Southern Europe as an aromatic plant. 

Botanical description 

The root is vestigial. Stem sturdy, erect, angular, 60-100 cm tall. Leaves are triangular-ovate, sharply toothed, stalked, 7,5-10 cm long, 4-4,5 cm wide. Inflorescences are short-acuminate, clustered at the apex of the stem and the apex of the shaft in whorls forming dense bells. The corolla is bright purple or bluish-purple. The fruit is an oblong, small, dark brown nut. 

Cultivation and preparation 

Propagated by seed. Soil is not demanding, but it grows well in fertile soil in an open, sunny position. Sow in early spring (March-April) in a greenhouse or boxes or in early May directly into the ground. Flowering takes place between July and August. Can grow for 5 years in one place. It is advisable to cover it with peat during the winter. 

For raw material, cut the grass at the time of mass flowering when the essential oil is at its peak. Dried in the shade or in special drying rooms. The leaves and flowers are used for seasoning. Stored in an airtight container 

Active ingredients 

The main active ingredient is the essential oil (2,2 %), which contains pinene, mylonite, terpinene, camphene, pulegone, menthone, cineole, linalool, borneol, methyl chavicol, anethole, thymol, eugenol. 

Therapeutic effects 

Anise hyssop lowers blood pressure and has bactericidal properties. The essential oil is obtained by hydrodistillation. 

Mongolian folk medicine uses the aerial part of the plant to regulate metabolism, as a potent anti-aging agent. An infusion of the flowers is drunk. Externally, the tincture is used to treat paralysis (facial nerve), cuts, and tremors of the limbs. Tibetan medicine uses anise hyssop to treat gastritis, functional gastrointestinal disorders, and hepatitis. 

The essential oil is used in perfumery.

Uses in spices 

Anise hyssop has a pleasant scent, reminiscent of aniseed. The delicate, pleasant aroma of the plant goes well with fruit salads and sweet puddings. Anise hyssop adds a distinctive aroma to jams, com pots, sours, refreshing drinks, mousses, delicacies and biscuits. Anise hyssop is suitable for freshwater fish. In Mongolia, it flavours minced meat and meat fillings.

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