Star anise is a spice that is obtained from an evergreen tree native southern China and Northeast Vietnam. Star anise has dark brown pods with eight segments each containing a pea sized seed.
Star anise tastes like a standard anise seed, but slightly more bitter, which is some chef use it to give a licorice flavor to the dishes.
People think star anise and aniseed are the same but they both belong to different families. Anise seed is the hero of Greek and French cuisines whereas Star anise is commonly used in Asian cooking.
Star anise brings remarkable health benefits to the table. Few are listed below.
About 90% of the world’s crop of star anise is used in the extraction of shikimic acid, a chemical intermediate used in the extraction of oseltamivir. Oseltamivir is an antiviral medication used in the treatment and to prevent Influenza A and influenza B.
A 2011 study has shown that shikimic acid along with quercetin, a plant antioxidant, enhanced the immune system function and help protect the body against viral diseases.
Star anise although consumed as a spice, harbors many health benefits. Star anise is loaded with iron. Iron is required by redblood cells for transporting oxygen to the tissues. Deficiency of iron in our body can lead to anemia which is characterized by fatigue, irritability and shortness of breath.
Studies have suggested that star anise possesses mild sedative properties and can calm in nerves in people suffering from sleep disorders.
South Korean researchers have shown that star anise extract and essential oil can be beneficial in fungal infections such as candida albicans.
Star anise was also shown to have antibacterial properties as taiwanese scientists found that 4 antimicrobial compounds derived from the spice were effective against 70 strains of drug resistant bacteria.
With its high fiber content, star anise promotes intestinal motility. Fiber adds bulk to the stools making their passage through the intestines alot more easier, ultimately relieving constipation.
Consumption of star anise also alleviates symptions like bloating, cramping and nausea.
BOOSTS IMMUNE SYSTEM
Star anise is an affluent source of of Vitamin C. Vitamin C being an antioxidant vitamin boosts immune system and prevent you from falling sick.
Its also protects your body from cellular damage caused by free radicals and environmental toxins.