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You must be familiar with star anise as it is a commonly used spice for cooking. It gives a good aroma to the food you cook. Other than the good aroma, you can also use it for multiple health related issues.

Star Anise is the fruit of a plant called Illicium verum. It is said to have originated in japan. The fruit has many medicinal properties and has been used as a herb in China traditionally.

Let us see what this beautiful looking herb can do to our body!

Benefits of star anise_infg

Anti-fungal in nature

Star anise has an essential oil which can help you fight fungal infections inside your body. Candidiasis is a type of fungal infection which can affect the human body when the balance of microbes gets disturbed. This type of fungal infection can affect your mouth, throat and intestines largely. Few people get affected in genital areas. Researchers from South Korea have confirmed that the extract from Star anise can cure this type of fungal infections.

Antibacterial property

Researchers these days are working so hard to create new antibiotics as all bacteria and viruses have become resistant to already available antibiotics, star anise seems to be a promising solution. It has been found to have antibacterial properties which can fight against 70 drug resistant bacterial strains. The extract or oil of star anise can even reduce cough naturally.

Antiviral property

Star Anise has an acid called Shikimic acid which has anti-viral property. When combined with another compound called quercetin, it is used to treat Influenza. Researchers are working on different combinations to create solution to fight bird flu, with the extracts of star anise.

As an antioxidant

Star anise has strong antioxidant properties which helps to fight free radicals in your body. Free radicals are something that affects the internal system and DNA structure on human body. Studies have been conducted on animals on cancer cure or stop the development of cancer cells with the extract of star anise. Star anise has worked miracles by stopping the growth of artificially induced cancer in animals (rat).

Improves digestion

Star anise helps you relieve problems related to digestion. It can help you get rid of cramps, gas, bloating, indigestion, constipation, etc. It is said to activate the metabolic enzymes in your body. Star anise is mostly used after food in Asian countries. It is also an active ingredient in masala chai, famous in India !! You can get creative and add these to ground coffee powder as well – it actually tastes pretty good!

aromatic spices
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Treats rheumatism

Rheumatism is a disease that is related to inflammation in joints, muscles and fibrous tissues. It can also be related to arthritis. Extract from star anise or star anise oil massage on the affected area can help to relieve the pain. This oil can be used for lower back pain also.

Benefits for women’s health

Star anise is said to help women a lot to boost the immunity. This is specifically used for pregnant and lactating women, which helps to boost immunity and increase milk secretion. Star anise seems to have a compound called anethole, which has an estrogenic effect that helps to regulate the hormones. Star anise has been traditionally used in China, for the above mentioned purpose.

Anise seed water is said to reduce or control running nose in infants. Boil the seed in warm water for 3 minutes, cool the water and feed it to babies who are affected.

How to choose and buy

You can find dried as well as ground anise powder readily in the spice market year-round. Choose anise seeds from organic herb stores for authenticity. Buy them in small quantities so that they would last for 3-4 months, since they lose their flavor because of evaporation of essential oils.

Fresh seeds should feature brilliant olive-green to grey-brown color and give rich aroma when rubbed between index and thumb fingers. Avoid seeds that have broken tips as they feature less in essential oils and therefore, poor in quality. You can grind Anise and cinnamon and use it in a variety of herbal teas for added taste and aroma.

Spoon, cinnamon and star anise on a wooden surface
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Store anise in airtight containers and place them in a cool, dark place.

We advise to use the powdered form as quickly as possible as they may dry up and lose essential oils.

Kalaivani Selvaraj, MBA, got her Master’s degree in Human Resources. Due to her interest in natural healing, she pursued studies in the field of alternative medicine and is certified in Aromatherapy by Isla Verde Spa Training Academy. Ms. Kalaivani Selvaraj is also certified by Stanford University School of Medicine in Introduction to Food and Health.