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Star anise is actually the hard shell of the fruit of the star anise tree, which is scientifically known as Illicium verum. Native to Southeast Asia and parts of China, this hardened fruit can be ground into a precious powder for use as a seasoning or even used whole in some preparations and dishes.
This star-shaped spice is highly desirable due to its active chemical compounds, especially those found in star anise oil. This herb also contains a compound called shikimic acid, which is a very important part of anti-flu medicines around the world.
It takes a year to extract and process this acid, so the cost of this herb is largely determined by the global demand for influenza drugs. so you can buy this fruit in it’s hard shell by CLICKING HERE.
Or if you’re intrested to get it in powder form you can do that by clicking on this link
However, this herb has been used for thousands of years in traditional culinary and medicinal applications due to its flavor very similar to the more expensive anise, as well as its rich nutritional density.
The name star anise is a combination of its shape and similarity in flavor to anise Although there is no relationship between the plants, the presence of anethole in both plants provides the distinctive licorice flavor, making it very popular in cooking.
There are several different types of star anise, some of which are toxic for consumption, so use caution when growing anise yourself or purchasing from a new herbalist/natural healer.
When used in moderation, this spice can also provide an impressive list of health benefits.
It is aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice’s seeds are harvested and has a flavor reminiscent of licorice.
Because of the similarity in flavor and names, star anise is often confused with anise, although there is no relationship between the spices.
This spice known not only for its distinct flavor and culinary applications but also for its medicinal benefits.
This article reviews the benefits, uses, and potential risks of star anise.
Star Anise Nutrition Facts
Star anise contains a high percentage of antioxidants, such as linalool, quercetin, thymol, terpineol, caffeic acid, anethole, kaempferol, and coumaric acid, in addition to a large amount of iron.
It also contains smaller amounts of vitamin C, calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Other active compounds and organic acids, such as shikimic acid, lipids, and dietary fiber provide star anise with some additional health benefits.
The number of calories in anise is also very low, as it contains 23 calories in one tablespoon of whole anise fruit.
Health Benefits of Star Anise
The most important health benefits of star anise may include its potential ability to reduce cancer risk, promote skin health, prevent fungal infections, support respiratory health, stimulate the immune system, improve digestion, promote blood circulation, and aid sleep.
1. May Aid in Improving Skin Health
With a relatively high content of various antioxidants, it can also help eliminate free radicals throughout the body, especially those that can cause oxidative stress in the skin.
This can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, enhance skin elasticity, and cover up old scars and blemishes to keep your skin looking young and vibrant.
2. May Improve Immune System
The antibacterial effects of it have been widely studied and well known, and this spice is known to have been used to treat bacterial infections of the stomach and other parts of the body for centuries.
Perhaps most importantly, this spice appears to be effective against many antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria, making it of great value to the pharmaceutical industry.
3. May Have Anticancer Potential
The variety of antioxidants in this spice, from quercetin and kaempferol to thymol and coumaric acid, can affect oxidative stress in the body.
A team of Malaysian researchers A published a study in the South African Journal of Botany, which stated that transanthol, one of the main components of Illicium verum Hook (the scientific name for star anise), has been reported to have antitumor activity against cancer. Breast, cervical cancer, fibrosarcoma, Ehrlich’s ascites.
Meanwhile, research is being conducted to conclude whether it has the potential to reduce the development of colon cancer.
4. Balancing Hormones
The effect of star anise on hormone levels has been extensively studied, as it can have a very powerful effect on both men and women.
In men, it can provide a boost and increase sex drive, while in women it can regulate menstrual cycles, control mood swings, and other side effects of hormone-driven menstruation.
5. Can Improve Digestion
Anecdotal evidence suggests that star anise is an effective digestive system, and the fruits are usually eaten after meals to promote proper digestion.
It can also help relieve bloating and excess flatulence, while relieving cramps and improving the bacterial balance in your gut for efficient nutrient absorption.
6. Can Help Fight Fungal Infections
Notably, this spice has powerful antifungal properties and has been a trusted natural remedy for a wide range of fungal infections, including athlete’s foot, ringworm, candida, and other common strains.
While most fungal infections are relatively harmless, a regular dose of anise tea can give your immune system the needed boost against pathogens.
7. Improve Circulation
The most important mineral found in star anise is iron, and one tablespoon of these small fruit bodies contains about 13% of the recommended daily amount.
While eating a whole tablespoon of this fruit is unlikely, the iron concentration can help boost red blood cell production, thus increasing energy levels by promoting proper circulation and oxygenation to the extremities of the body.
8. Act As a Remedy for Sleep Issues
Several studies have found that star anise possesses some level of sedative properties, which is attributed to the antioxidant levels and magnesium content of the spice.
It can stimulate the release of certain neurotransmitters that induce relaxation and sleep, making this spice valuable for people who suffer from insomnia and regularly disrupted sleep patterns.
Act as a Remedy for Respiratory Infections
More specifically, star anise can help support respiratory health, so if you have a cough or sore throat, or feel the early moves of the flu, a cup of anise tea may be able to quickly sort out the inflammation and neutralize the underlying infection before more serious symptoms develop.
How to use Star Anise?
Star anise can be used in many ways, either ground or whole. Most commonly, this spice is used in other spice blends, such as “five spice” powder, a common blend in many cultures.
Licorice’s unique flavor makes it a welcome addition to both sweet and savory dishes and is highly effective in broths, soups, sauces, and even curries.
Spices may be too strong for lighter dishes, but in some cocktails, they can provide an unusual and pleasant taste. Brewing star anise tea is also common in some parts of the world.
How to Make Star Anise Tea?
Star anise tea is brewed around the world and is trusted as a rapid remedy for a number of respiratory conditions, gastrointestinal distress, and hormonal imbalances, among others. The tea is also easy to brew and quite delicious!
It’s tea has many healing properties. It has a strong licorice flavor with a sweet, spicy taste.
Click here to get Whole star anise (Great For Baking And Tea)
- 1 cup water
- 2 star anise
- Honey to taste
- Boil the water in a small pot or kettle.
- Pour the water over the star anise fruits.
- Steep the mixture for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove the star anise and add honey to taste.
- Serve hot and consume 2-3 times per day for best effects.
Side Effects of Star Anise
Pure Chinese star anise is generally known to be safe for most people. However, there have been few reports of allergic reactions.
For the common people, the most serious concern is a relative of the Chinese spice – the highly toxic Japanese anise.
Japanese star anise is known to contain powerful neurotoxins that can lead to serious physical symptoms, including seizures, hallucinations, and nausea.
Japanese star anise looks almost identical to its Chinese counterpart, and some commercially available sources of Chinese star anise have been found mixed with Japanese spices.
In addition, there have been case reports of severe and fatal reactions to star anise in infants.
These cases were due to unknown contamination with Japanese seasoning. Thus, it is recommended not to give star anise to infants and children.
To proceed with caution, it is a good idea to check the source of the star anise you are buying to ensure that it is the purely Chinese type.
- Drug interactions – Excessive use of this spice, or taking anise supplement, may cause interactions or complications with other medications, such as those used in cancer or hormonal regulation. If you have any prescribed medications, it is best to talk about your allergies before adding star anise to your health regimen.
- Hormones – As mentioned, the active ingredients in this spice can have an effect on hormones, especially estrogen levels, which can cause mood swings and other bodily functions. If you already suffer from a hormonal disorder, the medicinal levels of this spice may not be a wise choice.
- Allergies – Many people have varying levels of sensitivity to this spice. Some people may experience mild itching or a rash when using topical applications of this spice, while others may experience gastrointestinal distress and mild to severe inflammation when ingested. Talk to your doctor about your sensitivity to an allergen before using star anise.
Star anise is generally considered safe but may be contaminated with highly toxic Japanese star anise. To ensure the purity of the spice you’re buying, always double-check its source to avoid accidental intoxication.
The Bottom Line
Star anise has a distinct licorice flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes.
Its powerful bioactive compounds may help treat many fungal, bacterial and viral infections.
While pure Chinese anise is usually safe to consume, it may be contaminated with highly toxic Japanese star anise.
Always check the source of the spices you buy for purity and start with a small amount to avoid adverse reactions.