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Star Anise Herb – Characteristics, Benefits and Advantages

Star anise (Illicium verum) is a wonderfully diverse spice that is frequently used to flavor teas, stews and Chinese cuisine and is known for its licorice taste and fragrance. Star anise is grown in southwestern China and Japan.

CHARACTERISTICS OF STAR ANISE

– Star anise is dark-brown in color with eight segments.
– It has a sweetish licorice taste.
– The carpals or follicles or segments have an anise like aroma and taste.
– Star anise is native to the Eastern Mediterranean and, although an annual, it is not easy to grow in northern climes because it requires a soil temperature of 70 degrees F. (21 degrees C) to germinate and a long, hot summer for the seeds to ripen.
– In the culinary arts, star anise provides a pungent, powerful flavor with hints of licorice and clove in a variety of dishes, from desserts to beverages to savory stews.

BENEFITS AND ADVANTAGES OF STAR ANISE

– Star anise acts as a digestive aid and to help cure colic in babies.
– Star anise is one of the chief ingredients in the antiviral Tamiflu drug used to fight avian influenza.
– Star anise licorice flavor enhances red cooked dishes, as well as eggs simmered in black tea.
– Star anise has sedative properties that can be used to ensure a good sleep.
– Rheumatic pain and lower back pain can be relieved by using the oil of star anise.
– Star anise can also be used as a breath freshener.
– Star anise has some anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties which is useful in treatment of asthma, bronchitis and dry cough.
– Star anise can be applied externally for the treatment of many skin diseases.
– Influenza or flu virus can be cured through a compound called Shikimic acid that is present in star anise.
– The fatty oil obtained from the star-anise fruit is used as a raw material in the production of soap.
– Star-anise can also be used to cure stomach aches caused by the accumulation of intestinal gas. – Star anise helps in preventing headaches and promoting good health and vitality.
– Star anise has antioxidant properties because of the presence of a compound called linalool.
– Star anise is useful in abdominal cramps, bloating, belching, constipation, gas, indigestion and stomach aches.
– Because of star anise expectorant properties, it helps to keep the lungs clear of mucus.
– Star anise promotes the health of female reproductive organs, increases breast milk secretion and improves libido.

PRECAUTION: Do not confuse star anise with Japansese star anise (Illicium anisatum), which is toxic when consumed.

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