I think most of us, we are already familiar with commonly used spices; such as-Saunf (fennel seeds), Ajwain(Carom Seeds) Choti Elachi (Green Cardamom) Laung (Cloves) Badi Elachi (Black Cardamom) Fresh or Dry Tulsi ( Basil) Padina (Mint) But Star Anise is also a spice, which can be used in our Kitchen due to many health benefits from this unique and special spice.
Spices come in many shapes and sizes, and star anise is great example of that. Star anise’s popularity is steadily growing and I bought it first time in my life and surprised to know that it is very cheap in price as well. It’s dark in color, star shape appearance and it’s taste separates star anise from the rest of cooking herbs and spices.
I am using it to to make my Kada(herbal tea)
Star anise is the star shaped fruit that grows on a tree scientifically called Illicium verum. As the name suggests, the star shape contains anywhere from five to ten pointers, each one holding the seeds. The star anise tree is fairly small but grows year round bearing fruit usually in the autumn.
Star anise is the fruit of Illicium verum, a type of evergreen tree native to China and Vietnam.
Star anise is often confused with aniseed (a relative of the fennel plant) as both possess sweet, black licorice-like scent, and essential oils for both seeds contain an active compound anethole.
Star anise is utilized widely in Asian cuisine, while aniseeds are predominantly used by Western countries. Due to its sweet scent, star anise essential oils are also used in aromatherapy, perfumes, toothpaste and cosmetics.
Because of similarities in their flavor and names, star anise is often confused with anise, though the two spices are unrelated.
In foods and beverages, star anise is considered a culinary spice; both the seed and oil are used as flavoring.
In manufacturing, the oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and toothpaste, and to mask undesirable odors in drug products.
BE CAREFUL: Star anise is generally considered safe but may be contaminated with highly toxic Japanese star anise. To ensure the purity of the spice you’re buying, always double-check its source to avoid accidental intoxication.
Star Anise Tea Recipe
In traditional Chinese medicines, star anise is steeped in water to make a tea used to treat respiratory infections, nausea, constipation and other digestive issues. I make my Kada or herbal tea with Star Anise.
- Pour One and half cup of regular tap water into the saucepan and let it become hot for the Kada
- Put two star anise and 3-4 leaves of fresh Mint
- Let it boil until the water remains One Cup
- You can add Jaggery powder or Mishri to make it sweet. I added Jaggery Powder in this recipe
- Milk is optional, but I didn’t added milk in this herbal tea
- Drink it little hot and enjoy anytime of the day
- Believe me, it is not only tasty, but has so many health benefits.
- Don’t eat or drink anything else for an hour to get the real benefits from your Star anise Herbal tea ( Kada )
How to Incorporate Star Anise in Cooking?
Star anise has a distinct licorice flavor similar to that of anise or fennel, though it’s not related to either of these spices. It pairs well with coriander, cinnamon, cardamom and clove.
You can use Star Anise as a whole or as a powder. You can use it as a flavor enhancer in your Sabji, soups and curries as well. Also you can use it in Rice and Herbal tea.
Indians use it in “Garam Masala” Star anise has a distinct licorice-like flavor. It’s a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine and can be used in soups, stews, broths, baked goods, desserts or steeped as a tea.
Star Anise Amazing Health Benefits
Aromatic and sweet flavor of Star Anise made it popular amongst Asian and South Asian cuisines. The active compounds that carry sweet smell and taste profiles also possess many medicinal attributes.
From the ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic remedies to modern science, star anise research and applications continue to grow, identifying more benefits. Let’s take a closer look into the powers of this exotically, common spice.
Star anise has a distinct licorice flavor that can enhance a variety of dishes.
Its powerful bioactive compounds may help treat several fungal, bacterial and viral infections.
Star anise is famed not only for its distinct flavor and culinary applications, but also for its medicinal benefits.
- Medicinal benefit of star anise: Star anise has been useful in the medical realm for treating a variety of fungal, bacterial and viral infections. Star anise’s potent antimicrobial properties have been used as tea tonics to stop the growth of dangerous fungi and bacteria. Today’s science confirms antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic abilities of this unique spice. Star anise also contains mighty anti-fungal benefits.
- Can Improve Skin Health: Due to high level of various antioxidants, star anise can help to promote the elimination of free radicals throughout the body, especially those that can cause oxidative stress in the skin. This can help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, boost skin elasticity, and cover up old scars and blemishes to keep your skin looking young and vibrant at the same time
- Helps to Improve Digestion: It can also help to relieve bloating and excess flatulence, while also easing cramping and improving the bacterial balance in your gut for high nutrient uptake efficiency. Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicines have extensively used star anise to treat different digestive ailments such as stomach pain, infections, constipation and indigestion. The phytonutrients within star anise stimulate the digestive track.
- Reduces Symptoms of Cough and Flu: In addition to shikimic acid, star anise oil contains thymol, terpineol, and anethole, compounds that can alleviate symptoms of the common flu. Star anise can also treat other respiratory ailments such as bronchitis, inflammation of the lungs, and respiratory tract infections. Vitamins A and C also inhibit coughs and other respiratory problems.
- Help to Improve Immune System: One of the most important stars anise health benefits is to improve the immune system. The antibacterial effects of star anise are widely researched and also well known. This spice has been used to treat bacterial infections of the stomach and other body parts for centuries. So this spice appears to be effective against several antibiotic-resistant bacterial strains, which make it very valuable to the pharmaceutical industry.
- Helps to Get Rid of Flu: Whenever you feel Chills, fever, muscle aches and fatigue, why not brew a up a cup of star anise tea for a quick boost of flu-fighting power. Above is the recipe to make a cup of star anise mint tea. If you lives in a Cold Country, Like Canada, then you can try brewing a soothing cup of hot star anise tea any time of the day.
Question: Where to Find Star Anise
Answer: Thanks to its growing popularity, you can often find Star Anise at many major supermarkets, means you can easily find in your local Asian stores . If you don’t find, then you can Buy Here.
Precautions and Side Effectors of Star Anise
Absolutely there is not doubt that Star Anise has numerous health benefits and generally considered a safe way to add flavor to foods. Still star anise should be used in moderation to prevent negative side effects.
Also make sure that you are using Chinese star anise and not Japanese star anise. The Japanese star anise is inedible. According to This Case Report, Some products containing star anise, such as teas, are believed to be contaminated with small amounts of Japanese star anise. For this reason, this spice is not recommended for infants and children as it has been associated with a number of adverse symptoms, like vomiting and seizures, due to contamination.
Also if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding mother, to stay on the safe side, always consult with your doctor before starting to incorporate star anise in your daily diet.