Health Benefits and Uses of Star Anise

Health & Wellness

Star Anise (Illicium verum)Health Benefits of Star Anise / Antioxidant: (Free Radicals) / Antiviral: (Herpes Simplex Viruses, Viral Hepatitis, Influenza Virus, SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 - Corona Virus)) / Kills Bacterial Infections: (Antibiotic, Antifungal, Candida) / Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health: (High Blood Pressure, Blood Circulation, Platelet Aggregation Inhibition) / Respiratory Health: (Cough, Rebel Cough, Sore Throat, Loosen Mucus, Acute Lung Injury (ALI)) / Alleviates Allergy: (Allergic Rhinitis) / Improves Digestive Health: (Bloating, Infant Colic, Intestinal Worms) / Supports Weight Loss: / Treats Sleep Disorders: (Improves Sleep, Insomnia) / Reduces Inflammation: / Relieves Pain and Cramps: (Rheumatism and Joint Pain, Back Pain, Toothache, Spasms) / Diabetes: (Blood Sugar, Stimulates Pancreas, Lipase) / Skin Care: (Lustrous Skin, Spots and Acne, Antiseptic, Wounds) / Hair Care: (Hair Growth) / Psychological Benefits: (Acts as a Relaxant, Anxiety and Fear) / Neurological Health: (Daytime Fatigue, Epilepsy) / Cancer - Treatment and Prevention: / Women's Health: (Menstrual Cramps, Balances Hormones, Breast Milk Production) / Sexual Health: / Pet Care: (Urinary Tract Infections (Dogs and Cats), Microsporum Canis (Cats)) / Eliminates Insects and Pests: (Grain Beetle) / Easy to Incorporate Into Your Cooking | Benefits of Star Anise Herbal TeaBenefits of Star Anise Essential OilUses of Star Anise (Traditional Uses of Star Anise, Culinary Uses of Star Anise, Other Uses of Star Anise, Uses of Star Anise Essential Oil)

Illicium verum, commonly known as Star Anise, star aniseed, or Chinese Star Anise is a spice that closely looks like Anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum. It is a medium-sized native evergreen tree of northeast Vietnam and southwest China. The star shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening and are dried before use. Traditionally used as a spice and also as a healing herb, star anise appears to have medicinal properties that provide it with significant health benefits. It is important to note that you should only use the Chinese variety as there are concerns regarding the toxicity of Japanese Star Anise.

Star Anise tastes much like a standard Anise seed, but slightly bitterer, which is why some chefs use it to provide a licorice flavor for some dishes. Some people think that Star Anise and anise seed are the same. While both spices contain an essential oil called anethole, their similarities end here. For starters, Anise seed belongs to the Apiaceae family and Star Anise comes from the Schisandraceae family. Anise seed is used more in Western dishes, particularly in Greek and French cuisine, since it has an intense, aromatic flavor that’s good for sauces. On the other hand, Star Anise is more common in Asian cooking. The spice is added whole to dishes to let its flavor infuse your cooking, or ground and added more sparingly. Star anise is actually the hard pericarp 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 valuable powder to be used as a spice or even used whole in certain preparations and dishes. This star-shaped spice is highly desired due to its active chemical compounds, particularly those found in star anise oil. This herb also contains a compound called shikimic acid, which is a very important part of anti-influenza medications around the world. Extracting and processing this acid takes an entire year, so the cost of this herb is largely determined by the global demand for influenza medications.

However, this herb has been used for thousands of years for culinary and traditional medical applications due to its flavor, which closely resembles the more expensive Aniseed, as well as its rich nutrient density. The name Star Anise is a combination of its shape and its similarity in flavor to aniseed. Although the plants are not related, the presence of anethole in both plants provides the distinctive licorice flavor, which makes it so popular in cooking.

There are a few different variations of Star Anise, some of which are toxic to consume, so caution should be taken when cultivating your own or purchasing from a new herbalist, natural healer. When used in moderation, this spice can also provide an impressive list of health benefits. Star Anise has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years and has also been accepted into some Western medicine practices more recently. Its rise in popularity is largely driven by its antimicrobial properties and pharmacological potential.

Star Anise is a well-known digestive aid and used to relieve cramps, indigestion, gas bloating and indigestion. Star Anise seeds are abundant source of B-complex vitamins such as thiamin, pyridoxine, niacin and riboflavin and known to increase neuro-chemicals in the brain. It is enriched with anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin A and C.

Antioxidant:

Keep in mind that antioxidants are substances that prevent free radicals inside the body. Apart from serving as your first line of defense, it also combats oxidative stress, which is crucial in preventing the progression of chronic diseases. One animal study showed that it helped reduce oxidative stress and tumor burden. Despite this, there are limited studies showing how effective star anise is against cancer.

Most plants have some level of antioxidants. Antioxidants possess positive cancer-fighting properties by eliminating harmful volatile compounds called free radicals. Star Anise is an excellent source of antioxidants because of the presence of linalool, vitamin A and C which help fight free radicals and protect from cellular damage. Star Anise oil contains a high amount of antioxidants like anethole and estragole, has free radical scavenging activity, inhibits mold growth and aflatoxin production. Thus this oil suppresses foodborne mold growth (Aspergillus flavus) and toxin formation.

However, there is a single metric that can be used to measure the overall antioxidant properties of a plant. This metric is called the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity, or ORAC for short. The ORAC value of star anise is 11,300 for every 100 grams of Star Anise pods. This moderate amount may help explain some of the anti-cancer benefits found in Star Anise. That may sound great if you were comparing it to a red apple at 4,275. Though ORAC is based not on serving size, but a standard weight of 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces). One large apple weighs over twice that amount. With how sparingly Star Anise is used, how many dozens or hundreds of dishes would you need to cook in order to use that much? Relative to other spices, it actually ranks quite low on the ORAC scale.

An animal study from 2007 looking at the cancer fighting properties of Star Anise found an overall decrease of tumor occurrence and size in rats fed Star Anise. While this research is promising, more human trials will have to be performed before any definitive conclusions can be made.

Free Radicals:

Antioxidants fight against free radicals that may cause cellular damage and may be responsible for diseases like diabetes, heart problems or even cancer. It is continually being produced in our body as a metabolic byproduct. These are uncharged molecules that will damage cells, proteins and DNA to find electrons to pair with. The excessive production and deposition can be neutralized only by consuming a rich source of antioxidants. However, Star Anise frees our body from these unwanted free radicals, making us look younger than our age, but antioxidants fight this damage by giving them free electrons without destabilizing.

Reports from India and abroad have shown a powerful antioxidant property of Star Anise. The antioxidant property is due to the presence of a chemical called linolool. Vitamin A and C also contributes to this property to a large extent.

Antiviral:

Unlike the antioxidant content, the indirect antiviral benefits of a Star Anise compound are not disputed. One of the most popular pharmacologically relevant attributes of Star Anise is its shikimic acid content, is the highest 7% natural source of the acid. Pine needles are around 3% and the Sweet Gum Tree is as low as 1.7%. However that method is considered even less economical than the complicated ten stage process of extracting it from the spice. Shikimic acid is a compound with strong antiviral capabilities. In fact, it’s one of the main active ingredients in Tamiflu (Oseltamivir), a popular medication for the treatment of influenza.

Currently, Star Anise is the primary source of shikimic acid used for pharmaceutical product development. As the influenza pandemic continues to mount as a threat to global health, the demand for Star Anise is on the rise.

However the spice might have direct antiviral properties, for other viruses. It is not approved for medical treatment of any disease. The limited research has only taken place in Petri dishes, not human bodies. With such very preliminary findings, there is zero proof that it actually works for any viral disease.

A 2021 study "Antiviral and Virucidal Properties of Essential Oils and Isolated Compounds" published in Planta Med by Jürgen Reichling results of many in vitro studies revealed that several essential oils and essential oil compounds from different medicinal and aromatic plants are potent antiviral and virucidal agents that inhibit viral progeny by blocking different steps of the viral infection/replication cycle of DNA and RNA viruses in various host cell lines. Studies in mice infected with viruses causing respiratory diseases showed that different essential oils and essential oil compounds were able to prolong the life of infected animals, reduce virus titers in brain and lung tissues, and significantly inhibit the synthesis of proinflammatory cytokines and chemokines.

Herpes Simplex Viruses:

Star Anise essential oil contains phenols phenylpropanoids and sesquiterpenes which show wonderful antiviral effects against Herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and 2). This oil interacts with virions or may mask viral compounds that are necessary for viral adsorption and thus inhibits the virulence of the virus. Some test-tube research has also shown that the essential oil of Star Anise may treat other types of viral infections, including herpes simplex type 1. This could also be the reason why brewing a cup of Star Anise could help you feel better when you have flu.

For the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) certain compounds in Star Anise essential oil were found to reduce viral infectivity by up to 99% in laboratory experiments in vitro. At least one major health website has claimed that the University of Heidelburg researchers who conducted those studies have said it’s “effective against several types of viruses, including the herpes virus” but we have been unable to verify if that claim was actually made.

Viral Hepatitis:

It is successfully treated in traditional Chinese medicine with a combination of Chinese Star Anise, Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous). The three plants are administered as a combination of powder, in equal proportions, taking 3-4 grams, three times a day on an empty stomach. The mixture has a direct antiviral effect and it strongly activates the immune system and protects healthy liver cells from the spread of the infection.

Influenza Virus:

Star Anise consists of Shikimic acid which has strong antiviral properties. Its combination with Quercetin, which is an anti-oxidant, can bring down the influenza. The oil produced from Star Anise contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, and can be used for treating cough and flu. Over 90% of the world’s crop of Star Anise is used in the production of influenza medication. Star Anise contains a chemical compound called Shikimik acid that is used to produce Tamiflu, a globally patented drug that helps fight outbreaks of swine flu and other epidemics worldwide.

However, Shikimic acid alone doesn’t have much of an effect against the flu1. It must be combined with the plant antioxidant quercetin. Quercetin is found naturally in a number of plants including Capers, Radishes, Red Onions, and Kale. It is important for many processes within the body and can even be taken in supplement form.

In addition, when you make a tea infusion, it is difficult to say how much Shikimic acid gets into the tea. You can use Star Anise tea as your only treatment if you are suffering from the flu, but it can make a good addition and will help keep you hydrated. A healthy array of Star Anise pods, Berries, and Cinnamon sticks. Though Star Anise is frequently used for treating influenza, more research is needed to further understand its potential to treat other viral infections in humans.

In China and Taiwan, scientists are researching this combination for bird flu treatment.

SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 - Corona Virus):

Since December 2019 coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreaks have occurred in China and many countries around the world. The effectiveness of oseltamivir on COVID-19 suspected outpatients without hypoxia was evaluated. The Governor of Hokkaido declared a state of emergency on 28 February 2020 and people started to avoid going out. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the epidemic of COVID-19 as a pandemic on 12 March 2020 [3]. The Prime Minister declared a state of emergency on 16 April 2020 in Japan.

A total of 16 COVID-19 suspected medical personnel and their cohabitation families without hypoxia, who came to the adult fever clinic from March to June 2020 were studied. All patients received antiviral therapy (oseltamivir) and antibacterial therapy together.

Most of the infected patients were female (10, 63%), 1 had diabetes (6%) and 3 hypertension (19%). The median age was 45 years (interquartile range [IQR] 31–60 years). Oseltamivir administration made the temperature fall within 24 h in part (10, 63%). Clinical data were compared between patients receiving early treatment with oseltamivir, initiated within 24 h, and patients administered late treatment, initiated after this time point. Duration of fever was shorter in the early treatment group than in the late treatment group (31 ± 21 h versus 94 ± 38 h; p < 0.001). The time from fever onset to treatment initiation correlated with duration of fever (r = 0.77; p < 0.001) and the time from peak to decline (r = 0.58; p < 0.05).

These findings suggest that early oseltamivir administration may lower the duration of fever in COVID-19 suspected outpatients without hypoxia when it is used in combination with antibacterial therapy.

According to the recent Chinese study, about 80% of patients present with mild disease and the overall case fatality rate is about 2.3% but reaches 8.0% in patients aged 70–79 years and 14.8% in those aged >80 years, however, there are probably an important number of asymptomatic carriers in the population and some cases of mild disease will change to severe disease later.

A 2021 study "COVID-19, cytokines, inflammation, and spices: How are they related" published in Life Sciences Volume 284 by Ajaikumar B.Kunnumakkaraa, Varsha Ranaa, Dey Paramaa, Kishore Banika, Sosmitha Girisaa, Sahu Henamayeea Krishan, Kumar Thakura, Uma Duttab, Prachi Garodiac, Subash C.Guptad

about cytokine storm is the exaggerated immune response often observed in viral infections. It is also intimately linked with the progression of COVID-19 disease as well as associated complications and mortality. Therefore, targeting the cytokine storm might help in reducing COVID-19-associated health complications. The number of COVID-19 associated deaths (as of January 15, 2021; www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/) in the USA is high (1199/million) as compared to countries like India (110/million). Although the reason behind this is not clear, spices may have some role in explaining this difference. Spices and herbs are used in different traditional medicines, especially in countries such as India to treat various chronic diseases due to their potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. As spices are derived from Mother Nature and are inexpensive, they are relatively safer to consume. Therefore, their anti-inflammatory property can be exploited to combat the cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. This review thus focuses on the current knowledge on the role of spices for the treatment of COVID-19 through suppression of inflammation-linked cytokine storm.

A 2020 study "Effect of early oseltamivir on outpatients without hypoxia with suspected COVID-19" by Satoru Chiba MD, PhD where total of 16 patients received oseltamivir. Among oseltamivir-treated patients, all patients also received antibacterial agents: levofloxacin (500 mg on day 1 followed by 500 mg per day for the next 6 days), garenoxacin (400 mg on day 1 followed by 400 mg per day for the next 6 days), or amoxicillin/clavulanic acid (750 mg on day 1 followed by 750 mg per day for the next 6 days), considering the possibility of bacterial coinfection.

Common symptoms at onset of illness were fever (16, 100%), myalgia and fatigue (13, 81%), sore throat (13, 81%), and cough (11, 69%); less common symptoms were chills (6, 38%), headache (6, 38%), diarrhea (4, 25%), and sputum production (3, 19%). None of the patients had olfactory or taste disorders. Oseltamivir helped improve not only fever but also other symptoms in this study.

Another 2020 study "An Evaluation of Traditional Persian Medicine for the Management of SARS-CoV-2" published in Front. Pharmacol. by Roodabeh Bahramsoltani and Roja Rahimi of Department of Traditional Pharmacy, School of Persian Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran and PhytoPharmacology Interest Group (PPIG), Universal Scientific Education and Research Network (USERN), Tehran, Iran used several texts, including the Makhzan-al-Adviah, written by MH Aghili Khorasani in 1772 A.D. (Aghili Khorasani, 1771 AD), which is the most recent and complete encyclopedia of medicinal materials in TPM, as well as The Great Continens (Rhazes, 960) and The Canon of Medicine (Avicenna, 1025). We searched these books/manuscripts for references to medicinal plants that are described as having protective properties against humor infection and excitation, as well as tonifying and protecting effects on the lungs, heart, and kidney.

The search terms were the scientific names and common names of each plant combined with “antiviral”, “influenza”, “lung”, “pulmonary”, “alveolar infiltration”, “cardiac”, “heart”, “cardiomyopathy”, “renal”, “kidney”, or “immunomodulatory”. The inclusion criteria were any in vitro, in vivo, or clinical evidence on the antiviral activity of the selected plants against human pathogenic RNA viruses. Additionally, any study about the beneficial effects of these plants or their isolated phytochemicals on the heart, lungs, and kidneys was included. Studies on animal/plant viral pathogens were excluded. This review does not include in silico antiviral analyses, however, they are referred to in the discussion of the mechanisms and pharmacological effects reported in experiments and studies. The references of the included articles were also searched in order to find additional relevant studies.

In a 2020 study "SARS-CoV (COVID-19) Pandemic—Detailed Insights into Diagnosis, Management, and Role of Indian Herbal Drugs" published in AMEI’s Current Trends in Diagnosis & Treatment by Rahat Kumar, Parminder Singh, Richa G Thaman, Rajiv Choudhari, Simranjeet Kaur about medicinal herbs are being used for a variety of viral illnesses like influenza, hepatitis, chicken pox, herpes, HIV, etc. The potential plant-based drugs in the treatment of COVID-19 infection is Star Anise (Illicium verum). It is the source of the precursor molecule, shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacturing of  oseltamivir, an antiviral drug for influenza A and influenza B.40.

There is no evidence or research about star anise for the Covid-19 coronavirus. While you may come across articles suggesting anti-viral effects against Covid-19, there is zero research to support that. Do not use this or any other spice for the treatment, prevention or cure of Covid-19.

Kills Bacterial Infections:

Star Anise as an antibacterial agent has also been tested by many researchers and its oil has been found to be effective in declining cough due to asthma and bronchitis due to its expectorant property. Apart from that, star anise has been shown to be effective against almost 70 drug resistant bacterial strains.

Anethole, the main chemical constituent in Star Anise and other spices and herbs with similar aroma, is believed to be the main antimicrobial agent. An important medicinal benefit of Star Anise is its ability to inhibit bacterial growth implicated in a variety of common illnesses. Its action may be as powerful as to prevent sepsis or related health risks (Preventive agents against sepsis and new phenylpropanoid glucosides from the fruits of Illicium verum). Star anise oil contains antimicrobial compounds like trans-anethole which stop the growth of different bacteria Rhizopus stolonoifer, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, and E. coli.

It has been known for at least two decades that the antimicrobial, as well as antifungal activities, are largely due to a compound in the seed called anethole. It makes up 80 to 90% of the star anise essential oil extract. In just 20 minutes, one experiment found that it killed 100% of drug-resistant strains of Vibrio cholerae, which is the cause of cholera. Another study found “extracts of Illicium verum showed substantial antibacterial activity against 67 clinical drug-resistant isolates infections”. Currently there are no medications which make use of its antimicrobial properties, but one of the research papers suggested it should be developed into antibiotics.

Some research has revealed that Star Anise extract is as effective as antibiotics against multiple drug-resistant pathogenic bacteria. This may be particularly useful for future development of new antibiotic medications. Test-tube studies have also shown that bioactive compounds in star anise may be effective in treating urinary tract infections caused by different bacteria.

A separate study published in Bioengineered revealed Star Anise extract to be somewhat effective in reducing the growth of E. coli on a petri dish, though it wasn’t as effective as current, more common antibiotic treatments.

In another study, researchers found out that antibacterial properties of Star Anise could fight against 67 strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. This could potentially open doors for the development of antibiotic medications.

A 2021 study "Phytosynthesis of Copper Nanoparticles Using Extracts of Spices and Their Antibacterial Properties" by Douglas J. H. Shyu evaluated Star Anise to prevent microbial growth, chemical solvents are typically utilized. However, chemical solvents are hazardous to human health with low antimicrobial effects. Metallic-element (such as copper, silver, and gold) nanoparticles have many applications in biotechnology and biomedicine. Copper nanoparticles (CuNPs) are efficient owing to their antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-proliferative properties. 

Another 2021 study "In vivo Antibacterial Activity of Star Anise (Illicium verum Hook.) Extract Using Murine MRSA Skin Infection Model in Relation to Its Metabolite Profile" published in Department of Pharmacognosy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Menoufia University, Menoufia, Egypt by  Salem MA, El-Shiekh RA , Hashem RA, Hassan M  evaluated that Star Anise aqueous methanolic extract showed significant inhibition and detachment activity against biofilm formation by the multidrug-resistant and highly virulent Acinetobacter baumannii AB5057 and MRSA USA300. The topical application of the extract in vivo significantly reduced the bacterial load in MRSA-infected skin lesions. The extract showed strong antioxidant activity using five different complementary methods. More than seventy metabolites from different classes were identified: phenolic acids, phenylpropanoids, sesquiterpenes, tannins, lignans and flavonoids.

This study proposes the potential use of Sstar Anise polar fraction in anti-virulence strategies against persistent infections and for the treatment of staphylococcal skin infections as a topical antimicrobial agent. To our knowledge, our research is the first to provide the complete polar metabolome list of star anise in an approach to understand the relationship between the chemistry of these metabolites and the proposed antibacterial activity.

"Comparison of the Phytochemical Composition and Antibacterial Activities of the Various Extracts from Leaves and Twigs of Illicium verum" published in Molecules 2021 by Emirlyn-Cheng Yang,Ya-Yun Hsieh and Li-Yeh Chuang from Department of Biochemistry, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong, China aimed to investigate the phytochemical components and antibacterial activity of the various extracts from the leaves and twigs of Illicium verum. The herbal extracts were prepared by supercritical CO2 extraction (SFE) and 95% ethanol extraction, followed by partition extraction based on solvent polarity.

Analysis of antimicrobial activity was conducted through the usage of nine clinical antibiotic- resistant isolates, including Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Acinetobacter baumannii. Among the tested samples, the SFE extracts exhibited broader and stronger antibacterial activities against the test strains, with a range of MIC between 0.1–4.0 mg/mL and MBC between 0.2–4.5 mg/mL.

A 2010 study "Chemical Composition and Antibacterial Activities of Illicium verum Against Antibiotic-Resistant Pathogens" on the antimicrobial properties of Star Anise show the spice has quite potent antibacterial and antiviral properties (Antimicrobial properties of star Anise Illicium verum Hook f). It has been found to be effective against Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and other dozens of antibiotic-resistant pathogen strains.

Based on a 2002 study published in Phytotherapy Research demonstrated that Star Anise may have microbial properties and might be effective against bacteria, yeast, and fungal strains. Another study published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry suggested that polyphenols in Star Anise extracts provide antioxidant benefits.

At this time, most research on the antibacterial properties of Star Anise is limited to animal and test-tube studies. More studies are needed to better understand how this spice may be used to support human health.

Antibiotic:

In recent years, bacteria have proven more resistant to prescription antibiotics. In response, scientists are on the lookout for new antimicrobial treatments, and many have turned to the plant world to find solutions. Researchers have found multiple compounds in Star Anise that are effective against almost 70 different types of drug-resistant bacteria. It shows promise as a future antibiotic.

Antifungal:

Most notably, this spice has powerful anti-fungal properties and has been a trusted natural remedy for a huge host of fungal infections, including Athlete’s foot, ringworm, Candida, and other common strains. Trans-anethole found in oil of Star Anise strongly inhibited the mycelial growth 90% of Botrytis cinerea, Alternaria solani, Bipolaris maydis, Fusarium graminearum, Pythium aphanidermatum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides. While most fungal infections are relatively harmless, a regular dosage of Star Anise tea can give your immune system the necessary boost against these pathogens.

Star Anise is a rich source of the flavonoid anethole. This compound is responsible for the spice’s distinct flavor and offers potent antifungal benefits. Keep in mind that fungal infections are more challenging to treat than bacteria. Some agricultural research has found that trans-anethole derived from star anise may inhibit the growth of pathogenic fungi in certain edible crops.

Test-tube research indicates that other bioactive compounds found in star anise essential oil, like terpene linalool, may suppress biofilm and cell wall formation of infectious fungi in humans. More research is needed to better understand the applications for star anise to treat fungal infections in humans.

Researchers found out that the bioactive compounds in Star Anise essential oil could suppress biofilm and formation of the cell wall of infectious fungi in the body. The oil extracted from Star Anise combats with the fungus which is responsible for causing candidiasis and other skin conditions. Its regular use helps getting rid of fungal infection from the surface of the skin.

A research "Antifungal Effects of the Extracts and Essential Oils from Foeniculum vulgare and Illicium verum against Candida albicans" suggests Star Anise is effective against fungi such as yeasts and molds, particularly Candida, a type of yeast that can cause severe infections of the gastrointestinal tract, skin, etc. Several medicine journals, for example Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry and Chemistry of Natural Compounds report anethole to be the main antifungal agent in Star Anise.

A 2020 review "Molecules from nature: Reconciling biodiversity conservation and global healthcare imperatives for sustainable use of medicinal plants and fungi" published in Plants People Planer by Melanie-Jayne R, Howes,Cassandra L Quave, Jérôme Collemare, Evangelos C. Tatsis, Danielle Twilley, Ermias Lulekal, Andrew Farlow, Liping Li, María-Elena Cazar, Danna J. Leaman, Thomas A. et al. showed naturally derived compounds used in pharmaceutical manufacture sourced from Star Anise (Illicium verum Hook.f.), a precursor for semi-synthesis of medicines could harness other plant and fungal molecules as precursors for drug synthesis to complement other therapeutic strategies for current and emerging global health challenges.

Candida:

Star Anise is quite beneficial for dealing with common problem of skin called candidiasis, caused by a fungus called Candida albicans. This fungus usually affects superficial skin, mouth, throat, intestine or even the genital areas. But when the immune system is compromised, these microbes can cause a serious infection called candidiasis. Research shows that anethole and other compounds in star anise extract can treat candidiasis.

Researchers at Korea University in Seoul wanted to see if any of the medicinal herbs used in their culture exhibited antifungal properties against this nasty infection. They concluded that extracts from the spice “could be a candidate for a new antifungal agent for candidiasis and other fungal disease”. The specific extract was a real mouthful; 1-methoxy-4-(2-prophenyl) benzene. It was observed by the researchers that Star Anise essential oil and some extracts of Star Anise possess powerful antifungal property and was an effective treatment against Candida albicans, a fungus that causes yeast infection.

Supports Cardiovascular Health - Heart Health:

Did you know that one person dies every 37 seconds because of cardiovascular disease? Heart disease is also responsible for one in every four deaths in America. Heart disease is the number-one killer of men and women, and it’s responsible for about 25 percent of all deaths, over 600,000, in the U.S. each year. Because Star Anise is chock full of antioxidants, it can help reduce oxidative stress in the heart, promoting a healthier cardiovascular system. Adding Star Anise in your diet not only reduces oxidative stress and buildup of free radicals but also boosts your heart health.

According to a 2015 study, researchers found out that star anise helped normalize weight, lipid levels, and blood pressure levels among mice with a high-fat diet. Consequently, it minimized the occurrence of plaque buildup in the arteries and reduced signs of inflammation. Still, this doesn’t mean you should eat high-fat diet and drink star anise tea everyday. A healthy diet and regular exercise could make a difference in ensuring that your heart is in top condition.

High Blood Pressure:

Star Anise oil helps to maintain blood pressure level. It cuts down the pressure on the heart. Additionally, since the oil is detoxifying, it improves blood flow as well as keeps the heart healthy and balanced. The oil rejuvenates the heart and also keeps it lively.

Research has shown that Star Anise extract helps regulate weight, blood pressure and fat levels in the bloodstream and prevents plaque buildup in arteries. Research has also shown that it reduces multiple inflammation markers in the hearts of mice. Although more studies are needed, it shows promise as a natural protector against serious cardiovascular illnesses such as stroke and heart disease.

Blood Circulation:

The most notable mineral found in Star Anise is iron, and a single tablespoon of these small fruiting bodies contains roughly 13% of your daily recommended amount. While eating an entire tablespoon of these fruits is unlikely, the concentration of iron can still help boost red blood cell production, thus increasing energy levels by promoting circulation and proper oxygenation of the body’s extremities.

Platelet Aggregation Inhibition:

Trans-anethole of the oil inhibits blood clotting and could increase the activity of drugs like warfarin, heparin, or aspirin. Thus, this oil inhibits platelet, aggregation.

Respiratory Health:

If you are prone to getting sick as soon as the cold season starts, then you will love star anise tea. It is a warm herb that has been traditionally used to help bring relief to the colds and respiratory congestions that keep you down. This is a tea that fights bacteria and viruses that are at the source of colds and flus and it helps to treat asthma, coughs, lung inflammation and bronchitis.

Star Anise can help in supporting respiratory health, so if you have a cough or sore throat, or feel the early stirrings of the flu, a cup of Star Anise tea may be able to sort out the inflammation rapidly and neutralize the underlying infection before more serious symptoms arise. Also essential oil has warming effect on the body that assist the circulatory and respiratory systems. It encounters deposition of phlegm and colds.

Cough:

Star Anise is an effective natural remedy to soothe coughs and sore throats. It may also relieve bronchitis and even asthma. Star Anise tea is one of the excellent natural remedy to ease a cough and soothe your sore throat. Simply prepare the tea and drink up to three times each day.

Rebel Cough:

Inhalation with Star Anise seeds has a soothing effect. Pour boiling water over two teaspoons of ground seeds. The patient sits a few centimeters over the steaming cup with the nostrils, covering his head with a towel, so that the hot steam is fully inhaled. The soothing effect occurs immediately.

Sore Throat:

The tea made from Star Anise is an excellent natural therapy for sore throat and cough.

Loosen Mucus:

Star Anise oil loosens phlegm and mucus which are deposited in respiratory tracts and lungs. It provides relief from breathing problems, bronchitis, asthma, cough, congestion and respiratory problems.

Acute Lung Injury (ALI):

Acute lung injury, in which inflammation can occur that results in various diseases such as sepsis, pneumonia, and trauma. The anethole found in star anise oil prevents lung inflammation by the reduction of inflammatory cells, including neutrophils and macrophages. The oil is also helpful to treat other inflammatory diseases like skin inflammation and rheumatism, hyperlipidemia-atherosclerosis.

Alleviates Allergy:

Allergic Rhinitis:

A 2021 study "The extract of black cumin, licorice, anise, and black tea alleviates OVA-induced allergic rhinitis in mouse via balancing activity of helper T cells in lung" published in Allergy, Asthma & Clinical Immunology by Chengsong Liao, Yangyang Han, Zhijing Chen and Huricha Baigude investigate the anti-allergenic mechanism of BLAB tea, we treated ovalbumin (OVA)-induced allergic rhinitis (AR) model of mice with BLAB tea, and elucidated its possible mechanism of action. Mice in the control group were treated with phosphate-buffered saline only. Subsequently, the infiltration of different inflammatory cells was measured. In addition, histopathological changes in the nasal mucosa, and the levels of allergen-specific cytokines and OVA-specific immunoglobulins were measured.

Improves Digestive Health:

Star Anise is often prepared as a tea particularly in South East Asian countries and China. It is mainly used to deal with a variety of digestive complaints such as gas, abdominal cramps, indigestion, bloating and constipation, while also easing cramping and improving the bacterial balance in your gut for high nutrient uptake efficiency. To treat any digestive condition that you may be suffering from, it is considered best to drink the tea after your meals. Consuming Star Anise tea is a healthy choice. For many digestion related problems, Star Anise is a remedial cure. It stimulates the metabolic enzymes which in turn improves the digestion functions. Star Anise is said to possess carminative, stimulant, stomachic and diuretic properties.

Star Anise tea added with Ginger and Cumin after the meal gives better results. Another way is to mix aniseed powder with Lemon, salt, and water for improving digestion. Drinking Star Anise tea, flavoring soups and other dishes with the ground spice or cooking several seed pods together with the other ingredients in a recipe is believed to have an overall beneficial action on one’s digestion.

Japanese Star Anise (Illicium anisatum), has been documented to have both neurologic and gastrointestinal toxicities. Unfortunately, Chinese Star Anise (Illicium verum) tea is sometimes made entirely or partially with Japanese Star Anise and has caused cases of adverse neurologic reactions in infants.

Researchers have recommended that more strict federal regulation of the import of Star Anise into the United States is warranted. Additionally, they warn that Star Anise tea should no longer be administered to infants because of its potential danger in this population.

Star Anise is generally recognized as safe by the United States Food and Drug Administration in amounts typically found in food. But there is not enough evidence to determine its safety when used medicinally.

Bloating:

The benefits of star anise on the digestive system are all based on traditional Chinese medicine. There aren't any scientific studies to back up the claims of using Star Anise for gas. If you have serious issues with indigestion, consult a doctor. However, it can’t hurt to try Star Anise tea for mild bloating and gas to see if you notice any personal benefit. It has been used throughout Southeast Asia for centuries to ease gas and help with indigestion and bloating. Star Anise tea is traditionally drunk soon after a meal to provide maximal relief.

Infant Colic:

Star Anise is sometimes used to treat infant colic. Chinese Star Anise tea has a long history of use in many cultures to calm babies. However, health sources and published reports advise extreme caution.

Intestinal Worms:

As it possesses an insecticidal property, it eliminates intestinal worms from the body. It could be helpful for the children having the issue of intestinal worms.

Supports Weight Loss:

Supplementation of Star Anise oil (400 mg/kg) in the daily diet of laying hens enhanced laying performance and extending the shelf life of eggs and overall antioxidant status. Furthermore, this oil also helps to stimulate digestion, improved nutrient utilization, increase the activities of pancreatic lipase and amylase. Thus Star Anise oil may be useful as a natural antioxidant to prevent the harmful effects on public health.

Treats Sleep Disorders:

Improves Sleep:

Many have used Star Anise to settle nerves at the end of the day. Anecdotal evidence suggests it may have a mild sedative effect, which can help you get a better night’s sleep. According to traditional use and circumstantial evidence, Star Anise has mild sedative properties which can help your nerves to settle down and also ensure a good night’s sleep. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep, try a cup of soothing star anise tea before going to bed. It is one of the wonderful treatments for sleeping difficulty. A cup Star Anise tea before going to bed can help you get sound sleep. The sedative property of anise works on your nerves well that eases comfortable sleep in the night.

Insomnia:

Numerous studies have found that Star Anise possesses some level of sedative properties, attributed to the antioxidant levels and the 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 interrupted sleep patterns. Though not as potent as valerian or St. John’s wort, Star Anise has a mildly sedative action as well as a result of certain chemical constituents in the plant, notably anethole. Tea made from the dried seed pods is believed to have a calming effect that may help relieve insomnia, induce sleep and improve sleep quality.

As long as it is consumed in very small amounts, Star Anise has been shown to exert a beneficial action on our health. And while it might not perform miracles, its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action within our body can contribute to better health. However, it should not be confused with Japanese Star Anise (Illicium anisatum) a highly toxic variety related and quite similar to Star Anise.

Reduces Inflammation:

Star Anise is used as a remedy for swine flu, respiratory infections, influenza, avian flu, gastrointestinal upset, loss of appetite, cough, and bronchitis. Shikimic acid found in Star Anise plays an important in the production of Tamiflu, anti-flu medication. Star Anise is also rich in polyphenolic compounds and chemical constituents with various health effects. Flavonoids such as kaempferol, quercetin as well as phenolic compounds such as caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, etc. have been shown to have antioxidant properties and inhibit carcinogenesis.

A 2009 study "Chemical composition, antioxidant, anti-elastase, and anti-inflammatory activities of Illicium anisatum essential oil" published in Acta Pharm by Jo-Young Kim, Sang-Suk Kim, Tae-Heon Oh, Jong Seok Baik, Gwanpil Song, Nam Ho Lee, Chang-Gu Hyun showed essential oil of Illicium anisatum may be considered an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory candidate for cosmetic materials, pending additional studies for safety and efficacy. EIA exhibited moderate DPPH scavenging and anti-elastase activities, with effective inhibition of LPS-induced NO and PGE2 production in RAW 264.7 cells.

Relieves Pain and Cramps:

Star Anise oil is a good source of anethole 75–90% has an estrogenic effect, was useful in providing relief from rheumatism and lower back pain. It provides relief from arthritic and rheumatic pains by increasing the circulation of blood and lowering the pain sensation on the affected areas. Star Anise essential oil can effectively treat rheumatism and painful joints, including back pain. Note that mixing it with a carrier oil before application is important.

An overview of herbal treatments published in the Journal of Evidence-based Complementary & Alternative Medicine explains that Star Anise contains an ingredient called anethole, which gives this spice its distinctive flavor. Anethole is used in Chinese medicine to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other conditions.

Rheumatism and Joint Pain:

Star Anise oil is highly effective in healing rheumatism. It gives an instant relief from the lower backache. Even the therapists recommend its oil for massage on the lower back which alleviates pain. When applied topically, Star Anise essential oil is an excellent treatment for rheumatism and back pain. Before using the essential oil it should be combined with carrier oil and massaged into the affected areas.

Back Pain:

The component Anethole in star anise seed oil is the best solution for back pain and rheumatism. The oil is applied to the affected area and properly massaged.

Toothache:

Star Anise tea has been used for ages to treat toothache. It gives instant relief from the pain. The antiseptic property of the seed kills the germs. It also acts as the mouth fresher, after every meal intake of aniseed would wipe off bad breath.

Spasms:

The spasms such as coughs, cramps, diarrhea, aches, convulsions and nervous afflictions could be cured with Star Anise essential oil. It provides anti-spasmodic and relaxant properties that calm down contractions and relive the mentioned ailments.

Diabetes:

Blood Sugar:

High blood sugar could contribute to a lot of complications later on, including diabetes. If left untreated, this could progress to more serious conditions such as nerve damage and kidney failure. The good news is adding star anise in your diet could help you regulate your blood sugar levels. It’s all because of anethole. According to a study, this powerful compound helped improve blood sugar among rats. Anethole was instrumental in regulating certain key enzymes involved in metabolizing carbohydrates. Still, don’t rely heavily on star anise to keep your blood sugar to its optimum level. Balanced diet and active lifestyle still play crucial roles, so make sure you incorporate these in your routine.

Stimulates Pancreas:

For the control of the insulin plus some hormones, pancreas is a crucial organ. Star Anise assist to encourage the pancreas. You’ve got decreased chance for diabetes along with other hormonal difficulties once your pancreas is within great health.

Lipase:

A 2005 study "Screening of Korean medicinal plants for lipase inhibitory activity" published in Phytotherapy Research, Volume 19, Issue 4 by Hye Young Kim, Mun Hui Kang of the aqueous ethanol extracts obtained from 19 medicinal plants, evaluated for pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity, Juniperus communis (bark) and illicium religiosum (wood) exhibited the strongest activity.

Skin Care:

With a relatively high level of various antioxidants, Star Anise can help to promote the elimination of free radicals throughout the body, particularly those that can cause oxidative stress in the skin. This can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, boost skin elasticity, and cover up old scars and blemishes to keep your skin looking young and vibrant.

Lustrous Skin:

Anethol is a major component of Star Anise oil and its aroma makes it important too. We know the antispasmodic, antiseptic, sedative, digestive and stimulant properties of Star Anise very well. It has detoxifying properties too which helps you healthy and lustrous skin.

Spots and Acne:

Star Anise oil when applied on the skin it is helpful for instant relief from spots, acne, and damaged skin. It further helps you with soft, smooth, and glowing skin.

Chinese Star Anise is very healthy for human consumption whereas Japanese Anise is not safe for human use. The important side effects of Japanese star anise include seizures, restless jitters, nausea, and vomiting. You must confirm the type of Anise before consumption. And Because of the estrogenic properties present in Star Anise, the tea should be avoided by people with ovarian, breast or uterine cancer.

Antiseptic:

Star Anise oil from star anise has proved to have antiseptic properties. This antiseptic medicine further extends its support to fight against sepsis. It is the best choice for any bacterial infection.

Wounds:

With antiseptic properties, Star Anise oil helps to prevent infections and sepsis of wounds. It also fastens the healing of wounds. It can easily cure any skin injuries and wounds.

Hair Care:

Hair Growth:

A 2004 study "The water-soluble extract of Illicium anisatum stimulates mouse vibrissae follicles in organ culture" published in Experimental Dermatology by Sakaguchi I, Ishimoto H, Matsuo M, Ikeda N et al. about extract of Illicium anisatum has been shown to increase subcutaneous blood flow in mice. In the study, follicles treated with water-soluble extract of leaves, fruits and roots of Illicium anisatum or shikimic acid grew significantly longer than controls. Results suggest the extract of Illicium anisatum promotes hair growth and may be a useful additive in hair growth products.

Psychological Benefits:

Acts as a Relaxant:

Star Anise acts as a sedative and treats the health problems such as nervous afflictions, anxiety, anger, depression and stress. When used in small amounts, it acts as a stimulant.

Anxiety and Fear:

Star Anise oil contains trans-anethole which acts as an anxiolytic agent and possesses properties like calming effect without sedation, as well as a lack of dependence, tolerance, or withdrawal thus this oil in aromatherapy or inhalation, is very safe and helpful for the treatment of anxiety disorders.

Neurological Health:

Daytime Fatigue:

Star Anise essential oil possesses mild purgative properties but is safe when used on lower amounts. It cures indigestion, flatulence, constipation and clears motions.

Epilepsy:

This essential oil possesses sedative and narcotic properties that help to calm hysteric and epileptic attacks. It slows down the respiration, circulation as well as nervous response if used excessively. It stimulates cordial and stimulating properties if used in adequate amounts. It is useful for hyper reactions, nervous afflictions and convulsions.

Cancer - Treatment and Prevention:

Cancer, a significant and serious medical issue, is driving mortality throughout the globe. It is distinguished by uncontrolled and unscheduled cell multiplication. Tumors associated with viral or bacterial infection and genetic mutations are known to influence the cancer growth rates. Although cancer is thought to be preventable, there are several factors that will increase the risk for developing it. Various risk factors, such as smoking and chewing tobacco, alcohol, obesity, chronic inflammation, age, ethnicity, and geographical location, are the major determinants for developing cancer. The diverse range of antioxidants in this spice, from quercetin and kaemferol to thymol and coumaric acid, can all affect oxidative stress in the body.

A team of Malaysian researchers published a study in the South African Journal of Botany, which stated that trans-anethole, one of the major constituents of Illicium verum has been reported to have antitumor activity against, breast cancer, cervical carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, and Ehrlich ascites tumor. Meanwhile, research is undergoing to conclude if it has the ability to reduce the progression of colon cancer.

In a laboratory experiment using a breast cancer cell line (MCF-7), it was said that the cell cultures treated with various spice extracts “showed inhibitory activity against nicotine-induced cell migration”. The eight-pointed star was just one of the nine spices tested. The effects of the spices on the cancer cells in vitro.

A 2020 study "Targeting the JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway Using Phytocompounds for Cancer Prevention and Therapy" by Sankhadip Bose, Sabyasachi Banerjee, Arijit Mondal, Utsab Chakraborty, Joshua Pumarol, Courtney R. Croley and Anupam Bishayee from Department of Pharmacognosy, Bengal School of Technology, Chuchura, Department of Phytochemistry, Gupta College of Technological Sciences, Asansol and Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Bengal College of Pharmaceutical Technology, Dubrajpur, India evaluated about natural substances, which are important components that can be used for the discovery and the progression of new anticancer medications. Consumption of dietary and medicinal plants that contain active phytoconstituents has minimal or negligible adverse effects. Natural components, when extracted, purified, concentrated, and administered at higher therapeutic doses, very often exhibit adverse side effects apart from their beneficial anticancer activities. Hence, the development of these phytoconstituents can only be progressed further following the confirmation of their safety based on toxicity studies in different preclinical animal models. Once a safety profile is established, the utilization of these substances to develop novel anticancer agents would provide a promising choice for chemoprevention and novel cancer treatment.

Further research studies need to focus on investigation of the long-term impacts of phytochemical usage, the cause of the JAK/STAT pathway inhibition, the impact of phytochemicals to prevent cancer in high-risk populations, and their effects when used in combination with existing chemotherapy and when used in conjunction with diversified phytoconstituents.

Just because that happened in a Petri dish, it doesn’t mean the same thing occurs in the human body. You could dump bleach on a tumor in a test tube and kill it, but obviously that doesn’t mean bleach is an an anti-cancer treatment. Aside from a couple studies like these, there is very little research suggesting the possibility of cancer benefits from star anise. In fact, some research suggests the opposite, it contains a compound which may cause cancer. As a naturally occurring compound, a tiny amount of safrole is in Star Anise.

This compound is considered to be genotoxic and carcinogenic, according to the European Commission on Health and Consumer Protection. Reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen, ever since the 2nd edition (1981) of the U.S. government’s Annual Report on Carcinogens. For these reasons, safrole is banned from being used as a food additive and for cosmetics.

Women's Health:

Star Anise has traditionally been used in China to help women during pregnancy and to new mothers wanting to increase their milk production. Traditional Chinese practitioners often recommend it for pregnant women. It is used to boost their immune system and stave off illness during this important time. Researchers have also found that star anise had an estrogenic effect owing to a compound called anethole which helps to modulate hormonal functions in women.

Menstrual Cramps:

Most, if not all women around the world, experience menstrual pain, which can be mild to severe. It can make life miserable and prevent you from engaging in everyday activities. However, Star Anise’s antispasmodic and pain-relieving properties can help. Studies have shown that a blend of star anise, saffron and celery seed can reduce the pain, discomfort and duration of menstrual cramps.

Balances Hormones:

The effects of Star Anise on hormone levels are widely studied, as it can have quite a powerful effect on both men and women. In men, it can provide an energetic boost and increase sex drive, whereas in women it can regulate menstrual cycles, control mood swings, and other hormone-driven side effects of menstruation.

Both Chinese Star Anise pods and European Anise seeds contain a large amount of a compound called anethole. This compound is primarily responsible for giving anise its licorice flavor. Anethole isn’t just good as a flavoring agent, it also has been shown to have an estrogenic effect. Anethole also increases lactation by disinhibiting prolactin. Both of these effects may help to restore hormonal balance. If you are pregnant or nursing, please consult your doctor before taking Star Anise.

Breast Milk Production:

Chinese Star Anise consists of diantheole and photoantheole that has estrogenic effects to improve lactation and produce milk. Practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine have long prescribed Star Anise to pregnant women and new mothers. It may help strengthen the immune system and increase milk production. In addition, the estrogen-like compound anethole can help regulate hormonal imbalances.

Sexual Health:

Star anise has also been used traditionally to increase libido in both men and women. The estrogenic effect of Star Anise likely causes this in women, but there is little evidence to support the effect in men.

Pet Care:

Urinary Tract Infections (Dogs and Cats):

Escherichia coli, Candida albicansand Candida famata are the most common agent that cause UTIs of dogs and cats, however, Star Anise oil contains anethol, has antimicrobial properties thus may use as an external and/or intravesical washes in small animals. Moreover, this oil also shows a wonderful effect on the treatment of otitis externa in dogs and cats.

Microsporum Canis (Cats):

Microsporum canis is a fungal infection which infects cats. Italian researchers used a mixture which included essential oils from the Star Anise, along with other plants, and they were successful in treating 4 out of the 7 cats which were infected.

Eliminates Insects and Pests:

Anethol obtained from star anise oil is natural and has larvicidal activity against mosquito larvae of Culex pipiens and Aedes aegypti. Anethol obtained from this oil show insecticide effect against Japanese Termite (Reticulitermes speratus Kolbe), Blattella germanica, Lasioderma serricorne, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky, Callosobruchus chinensis, Musca domestica L.

Grain Beetle:

A 2021 study "Trans-anethole is a potent toxic fumigant that partially inhibits rusty grain beetle (Cryptolestes ferrugineus) acetylcholinesterase activity" by Zhunjing Wanga, Yongjian Xiea,  Maidinai Sabiera, Tao Zhangb, Jianyu Denga, Xuming Songa, Zhihong Liaoa, Qingguang Lic Shengxiang Yanga, Yang Caoab, Xingquan Liua, Guoxin Zhoua evaluated the safe storage and protection of grain includes the exploitation of plant-based fumigants as a green control technology. This study first determined the fumigant toxicity of 12 traditional Chinese medicinal plants against adults of the rusty grain beetle, Cryptolestes ferrugineus (Stephens), one of the most ubiquitous and pestilent grain storage pests worldwide. Exposure to volatiles released from Illicium verum Hook. f. powder was found to be by far the most lethal.

Easy to Incorporate Into Your Cooking:

Star anise has a distinct licorice flavor similar to that of anise or fennel, though it’s not related to either of these spices. It pairs well with coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and clove. In cooking, Star Anise can be used whole or as a powder. It’s often utilized in classical Chinese, Vietnamese, Indian and Middle Eastern cuisines, especially as a flavor enhancer in broths, soups and curries.

It’s well known for its presence in the Chinese “5 spice” and Indian “Garam Masala” blends. In traditional Chinese and folk medicine practices, star anise is steeped in water to make a tea used to treat respiratory infections, nausea, constipation and other digestive issues. Star Anise also makes a great addition to sweet dishes and desserts, such as baked fruit, pies, quick bread and muffins. If you’ve never used this spice in your culinary pursuits before, keep in mind that a little goes a long way. Start with a small amount and add more to taste in order to avoid using too much. Try sprinkling powdered star anise into your next batch of muffins or throw a couple of whole pods into your next pot of soup for a warming boost of flavor.

Star Anise is a star-shaped spice that is used for cooking and medicinal purposes in Asian cultures. These star pods grow off of the evergreen tree illicium verum that grows in parts of Southeast Asia. The pods can be used to make star anise tea. This tea has been used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat colds and respiratory congestion, as well as a way to help regulate hormones in women and promote lactation.

Star Anise is one of the ingredients of 5 spice seasoning and is commonly used to flavor meats. Western cooking uses the European Anise seed more often, but Anise seed has similar taste and properties to Star Anise. These pods shows up in western cooking mainly in baking and in different flavoring agents.

Some caution should be exercised when buying Star Anise. Chinese Star Anise is safe to consume but there is a sister plant that looks similar and grows in Japan. This Japanese Star Anise contains compounds that are toxic to humans and can cause seizures and muscle spasms.

Star Anise is an evergreen tree which is commonly known as Star Anise seed, Badiam, Chinese Star Anise, Anis de Chine, Anis Étoilé, Anís Estrellado, Aniseed Stars, Anis Étoilé Chinois, Ba Jiao Hui, Anisi Stellati Fructus, Badiane, Badiana, Badiane de Chine, Chinese Anise, Bajiao, Eight-Horned Anise, Illicium and Eight Horns. Its origin is in Southern China. Traditionally, it is used as a herb for its healing properties and numerous health benefits.The seeds of Star anise fruit are sundried and then steam distilled to extract essential oils. The oil is pale yellow to clear with a strong scent that resembles liquorice. It has thick consistency. It possesses anti-rheumatic, anti-epileptic and antiseptic properties which makes it versatile. It acts as a decongestant, solves digestive problems and provides sound sleep. It is used as a flavoring agent in various dishes. Star Anise essential oil has constituents such as anisaldehyde, alpha pinene, camphene, beta pinene, cis and trans anethol, acetoanisol, linalool and safrol. Being high fragrant oil, it is used in perfumery, cooking, toothpastes, soaps, skin creams and mouthwashes.

Star anise is an evergreen plant that bears a star shaped fruit. It is scientifically called Illicium verum. It has similar flavor of anise or licorice but is not related to true anise plant. It provides enormous health benefits which are to be discussed below:

Analysis of essential oil by gas-liquid chromatography showed the major constituents to be cineole 18.1%, linalool 10.1%, methyleugenol 9.8%, a-terpenyl acetate 6.8%, safrole 6.6%, and a sesquiterpene of unknown constitution 7.2%. The composition significantly differs from that of commercially used star anise oil from Illicium verum which has an anethol content of 88% compared to 1.2% in Illicium anisatum.

This essential oil possess fresh, spicy, sweet and liquorice aroma. It is derived from the seeds of Star Anise fruit. The oil is extracted by the process of steam distillation of dried seeds. It is used as a flavoring agent in the medicines to treat cough and cold. It blends well with clove, cinnamon, orange, lavender and pine essential oil. It should be used internally with the proper guidance of the health professional. If consumed in excessive amounts, being a mild narcotic, it slows down circulatory system.

Traditional Uses of Star Anise:

  • In China, the poisonous star-anise is used as local application in the treatment of toothache and certain forms of dermatitis and parasitism. The volatile oil is used for colics in children.
  • In China, powdered fruits considered stimulant and carminative.
  • Star Anise has been used in a tea as a traditional remedy for rheumatism.
  • Seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion.
  • Star Anise is used to assist in relieving cold-stagnation in the middle jiao, according to Traditional Chinese medicine.
  • Consuming Star Anise tea after meals helps treat digestive ailments such as bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation.
  • Drinking one glass of water infused with the crushed seeds of star anise at night can increase one’s sex drive!
  • It is known as a stimulant and expectorant that helps relieve flatulence and increase libido.
  • It is applied topically as a remedy for head lice and acne.

Culinary Uses of Star Anise:

  • It is used in baking as well as in liquor production, most distinctively in the production of the liquor Galliano.
  • It is also used in the production of sambuca, pastis, and many types of absinthe.
  • Star Anise enhances the flavor of meat.
  • It is used as a spice in preparation of biryani and masala chai all over the Indian subcontinent.
  • It is widely used in Chinese cuisine and in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in Malay and Indonesian cuisine.

Other Uses of Star Anise:

  • The Star Anise plant has decorative purposes too, especially in tropical climates, because of its small, scented flowers and fragrant leaves.
  • Don’t confuse with Japanese Star Anise, which is poisonous and should not be taken.

Uses of Star Anise Essential Oil:

  • The oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and toothpaste, and to mask undesirable odors in drug products.
  • If used in a diffuser, it eases colds, flu and bronchitis.
  • It is used in aromatherapy for digestive, carminative, diuretic and stimulant properties.
  • It treat skin problems, combat stress and fatigue.
  • It is used as a breath freshener.
  • It is useful for treating pains, aches, cramps and colic.
  • It also treats respiratory problems.
  • Massage with the mixture of 2 drops of Neroli, 2 drops of Star Anise essential oil, 1 drop of Cinnamon and 2 drops of Spearmint oil in the abdomen to ease effleurage movements.
  • Diffuse five drops of Cedarwood oil and five drops of Star Anise essential oil for treating respiratory problems.
  • It is used for muscle spasms, joint aches, constipation, digestive problems, toothaches and sleep disorders.
  • It uplifts the mood.
  • It provides relief from menstrual discomfort and ease menopause symptoms.
  • It eases breathing, lung as well as nasal congestion if inhaled.
  • It is used in inhalers, vaporizers, steamers and baths.
  • It is usually blended with Cedarwood, Black Pepper, Pine, Coriander seed and Sweet orange.
  • It is used to add fragrance in cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste and perfumes.
  • It adds flavor to anisette and liquor absenthe.

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