Star anise tea

The popular herb star abise can be made part of your everyday cooking. But here is another popular way of consuming start anise – the aromatic star anise tea.

What is Star Anise?

Star anise is a spice commonly used in Asian cuisines. Its mild but delicious flavour makes it a chef’s favourite. Star anise or anise seeds tea has various health benefits. It has antiseptic and antibacterial (1) properties. The free radicals present in anise seeds can prevent a large number of diseases. In addition to the above said benefits, anise has aphrodisiac properties and can increase libido.

Star Anise – Names in other languages

  • Scientific name – Illicium verum
  • English – Star anise
  • Hindi – Anasphal
  • Sanskrit – Thakkolam
  • Malayalam – Takkolam
  • Bengali – Chakro Phool
  • Tamil – Annasi poo
  • Kannada – Kadamba
  • Telugu – Anaspuvu

This spice has been around for centuries but it is in recent times that its usage across the world has gone up. This is not only due to it unique soothing flavour, but also due to the health benefits that that star anise has to offer.

Star anise tea health benefits

Stress reduction

The properties present in dried star anise fruits reduces stress (3) and makes the mind and body relaxed. Due to this property, star anise tea can be used to cure palpitations and insomnia. A cup of star anise tea in the evening can be useful to calm the nerves and promote restful sleep.

Helpful during menstruation

Makes for a great drink during menstruation – it can soothe cramps and reduce symptoms of nausea. You can also add palm sugar to cool down the body during menstrual periods (4).

Just an additional tip – When you buy star anise, always buy the medicinally used Star anise which is Chinese star anise. Japanese star anise is mildly toxic and is not suitable for consumption.

Good for digestion

Star anise reduces indigestion (5) and bloating. You can consume an hour after lunch for enhanced digestion. In cases of severe indigestion, you can add fennel seeds and a small piece of dry ginger to the crushed star anise pods and then make the herbal tea (6).

This tea can also help to cure constipation with prolonged consumption. Just consume about 200 ml of this concoction daily half hour before lunch. After two weeks of consumption, constipation and its related symptoms will slowly reduce and the bowel movements (7) will become more regular.

Chemo-preventive effect

Free radicals are the cause of various diseases such as diabetes and cancer. Foods rich in anti-oxidants fight against these free radicals and prevent any damage from being caused (8). Star anise was used as a chemo-preventive agent in a study conducted using rats. After administering the rats with star anise for 20 weeks, the results were tabulated. The results of the study showed that star anise could reduce the burden of tumor and reduce oxidative stress. Another finding was that, phase II enzyme levels in the rats increased post consumption of the fruit. These enzymes have anti-carcinogenic properties that can help to fight cancer.

The role of shikimic acid present in Star Anise

Shikimic acid that is extracted from Chinese star anise has properties that can fight fungal infections (9). For any infection in the intestine as a result fungal, bacterial or viral infection, star anise can be tremendously helpful. Some women may experience infections such as candidiasis as a result of a yeast infection. Even for such cases, star anise tea is a very helpful remedy.

To improve libido

To improve sexual life, star anise tea can be helpful. You can either consume the tea or made a concoction using cinnamon and star anise, add 100 ml of milk and then consume. Both cinnamon and star anise have excellent aphrodisiac properties and can therefore be suitable to increase male libido.

To build immunity

The presence of anti-oxidants in star anise can build immunity in children. It stimulates the immunity enzymes and helps to prevent respiratory issues such as flue, cough and such common illnesses.

Shikimic acid has been used by pharma companies as the base for Tamiflu drugs (10). This is due to the anti-viral properties present in this acid. Star anise is the herb which is used for these preparations and is hence becoming increasingly popular.

How else can star anise be used?

Other than consuming internally, star anise can also be used externally for healthy skin. The compounds present in star anise can prevent aging of the skin, reduce the occurrence of wrinkles and keep skin youthful.

In addition to consuming as a tea, you can also add star anise while making masala for your recipes. Dried roasted star anise gives a nice aroma and can be used while making soups and gravy.

Here is the recipe for making a herbal tea with dried star anise fruits. You can consume this tea any time of the day. If consuming for enhancing libido or for reducing stress, the ideal time would be in the evening. However, this is can be changed to suit your preference.

How to make Star anise tea – Recipe

  • 300 ml Water
  • 4-5 dried fruits Star anise
  • 1 teaspoon Honey
  1. 5 star anise dried fruits, water, one teaspoon of honey.
  2. Take dried anise seeds in a mortar.
  3. Crush well with a pestle. Crushing anise seeds is required in order to release the compounds present in it when reacting with oxygen.
  4. Crush as shown.
  5. Place the crushed anise seeds in a teapot infuser.
  6. Pour boiling hot water over the seeds.
  7. Add honey. Anise has a naturally strong flavour and hence do not add too much honey.
  8. Cover with a lid and allow to steep in for 10 minutes.
  9. Remove the infuser.
  10. Pour the tea into a cup.
  11. Enjoy the aromatic tea!

You can drink up to 200 ml of this tea daily.

Ramya Srinivasan, PDGBA, earned her Master’s degree in Business. As a result of her passion in native medicine, she got her Diploma in Traditional Siddha Medicine from Bharat Sevak Samaj registered under the Indian Planning Commission. She is certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.

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