Health Benefits of Star Anise

Shirley Johanna
Article Reviewed by Dietitian Shirley Johanna, M.Sc, M.Phil
Last Updated on Apr 16, 2015
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What is Star Anise?

Star anise is a small, star shaped fruit growing on an evergreen plant, Illicium verumwith. A native from southern China, star anise has a licorice like taste and lends a soft, exotic taste to a meal, predominantly Asian dishes. This plant is quite popular for its distinctive culinary and medicinal values.

Health Benefits of Star Anise

Anethole is the essential volatile oil that lends this spice its characteristic sweet flavor.

The essential oils of star anise possess anti-epileptic, anti-hysteric, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, carminative, decongestant and anti-spasmodic properties.

The Chinese and Japanese are the two variants of star anise. The Chinese star anise possesses medicinal properties with a host of health benefits and considered safe for consumption, whereas the Japanese star anise contains sikimitoxin making it toxic in nature.

Once dried, it is difficult to distinguish between the two variants of star anise. Hence, the US Food and Drug Administration has issued an advisory warning against the drinking of teas brewed from star anise since consumption of Japanese star anise may result in seizures, vomiting, jitteriness and rapid eye movement.

Health Benefits of Star Anise

Star anise contains a blend of compounds possessing anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health boosting properties.

The essential oil of star spice provides relief from rheumatism and lower back pain. Linalool, a compound present in star anise contains anti-oxidants properties which keep aging, cancer and age-related disorders at bay.

Star anise also works as an excellent breath freshener. It is an excellent source of Shikimic acid, which is used for preparing drugs for treating influenza or the flu virus and boosting the immune system.

Star Anise for Influenza

Good for Digestive Problems

It is a commonly used remedy for treating digestive ailments, such as bloating, abdominal cramps, gas, indigestion and constipation.

Treats Respiratory Disorders

Many commercially available cough syrups contain star anise extract. The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of this wondrous spice are effective in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and dry cough.

Fights Fungal Infections

Star anise combats a common skin problem called candidiasis, caused by a fungus, Candida albicans which affects mouth, throat and genital areas due to its anti-fungal properties.

Solves Sleep Problems

Star anise possesses sedative properties and may be an effective remedy for people suffering from sleep disorders.

Star Anise for Sleep Problems

Benefits Women’s Health

Star anise tea promotes overall good health of female reproductive organs. In traditional Chinese medicine, star anise was given to women during pregnancy and lactating periods, since it boosted the immunity of the mother and increased milk secretion.

Star Anise Recipes

Amla and Star Anise Shot

  • 4 deseeded and chopped amlas
  • 1 tsp amla crush
  • 1/2 tsp powdered star anise
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 4 tbsp crushed ice
For Garnishing:
  • 4 star anise
  • Combine amla, amla crush, star anise powder and 1½ cups of water in a mixer and blend till it becomes smooth. Strain the liquid and keep it aside.
  • Combine the strained liquid and honey. Mix well.
  • Before serving, place 1 tbsp of crushed ice and pour equal quantity of the juice in each glass. Serve chilled with a star anise on the rim of every glass.

Veggies and Star Anise Noodle Soup

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 4 whole dried Thai chili
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 3 cups vegetable broth
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt
  • 2 cups boiled noodles
Veggies and Star Anise Noodle Soup

    • In a medium bowl, combine vegetables with soy sauce, ginger, garlic, chillies and star anise. Cover and chill for at least 1 hour.
    • In a pan, heat oil. Sauté the vegetables. Add vegetable broth and let it cook for 10-15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper
    • Divide the noodles among 4 serving bowls and pour about 1 1/2 cups of broth into each bowl.
    • Serve hot

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