What is Anise star?

A star-shaped, dark brown pod that contains a pea-size seed in each of its eight segments. Native to China and Vietnam, star anise comes from a small evergreen tree. It's flavor is slightly more bitter than that of regular anise seed. Asian cooks use star anise to give a licorice flavor to savory dishes, particularly those with pork and poultry. It's available whole or ground and is an ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder. Use it sparingly - a little goes a long way.

 

Health Benefits of Anise Star

  • An excellent source of antioxidants. star anise’s most impressive benefits is its ability to deal with fungal infections and common yeast infections
  • Researchers found that four antimicrobial compounds derived from star anise were very effective against nearly 70 strains of drug resistant bacteria. This led researchers to conclude that the compounds in star anise could be developed as an antibiotic in future.
  • Star anise is the best natural source of Shikimic acid which is used in the anti-flu medication Tamiflu.
  • To treat any digestive condition such as gas, abdominal cramps, indigestion, bloating and constipation that you may be suffering from.
  • 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 prescribe it for pregnant women.
  • Star anise may have 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.
  • Star anise tea is an excellent natural remedy to ease a cough and soothe your sore throat.

As a Cooking Spice

Star anise can be found as one of five spices used in Chinese 5 spice powder. You can make your own delicious five spice powder by grinding your star anise and mixing it with the other 4 spices – cloves, fennel seeds, cinnamon and Sichuan pepper.

When used alone, star anise is used to sweeten and flavor soups, stews and various other dishes. Be careful not to use too much as the unmistakable flavor can become overpowering. A piece or two should be sufficient or you can use a pinch or two of powdered star anise instead.

Star anise is also regularly used as an ingredient in sweet dishes like puddings and pastries. Be adventurous and experiment a bit if you enjoy the flavor.

 

Star Anise Tea

Star anise is often used to make a soothing and healing tea. Star anise tea is an excellent remedy for various digestive issues, coughs and sore throats. It is usually made with the seeds. To make star anise tea follow these simple instructions:

 

  • Boil your water and pour it into a teapot.

  • Add 2 star anise seed pods for each cup of water then allow it to seep for up to 15 minutes.

  • Strain the tea into a cup and add some honey to taste.

  •  Drink after each meal if you are trying to deal with a digestive problem or a cough.