It amazes me how many herbs/spices have a licorice flavor! Star Anise is one of those spices. It's a pungent and warming spice that adds a sweet-licorice flavor to food and drinks. This spice is a member of the Illiciaceae plant family as opposed to Anise Seed being a member of the Apiaceae (Parsley) plant family. Let's look at the benefits we get from Star Anise and the cautions for using it.
* Antibacterial - it's effective against close to 70 bacterial strains that are resistant to antibiotics.
* Antifungal, fights yeast infections, Athlete's Foot, and Ring Worm
* Antiviral the constituent shikimic acid can help ward off the flu and is an ingredient in Tamiflu
* It's good for respiratory infections, coughs, and sore throats
* Sedative - it can help a person relax, fall asleep, and stay asleep naturally
* Contains iron which can help increase red blood cell production which improves circulation which improves energy
* Promotes digestion, carminative - relieves gas, cramping, indigestion, constipation, and bloating,
* May help regulate hormones for both men and women, and reduce menopause symptoms,
* Antioxidant constituents may reduce the risk of certain cancers and improve the skin
* Freshens the breath and may help improve oral health
* Calcium - may help with bone health
* Repels mosquitoes
It's important to look for the Latin name and the country of origin. Star Anise -- Illicium verum from China!
There is another Star Anise from Japan, but it has a toxin that we cannot ingest. I have read about reports of the Japanese Star Anise being mixed with the Chinese and making people sick. Because of this, it's highly recommended: 1. That you know and trust the source of your Star Anise; and 2. that you not use Star Anise with children ages 5 and under.
Star Anise may interact with some medications.
Because of it's ability to affect hormones, it's recommended that women who are pregnant or breastfeeding, or who have endometriosis, and anyone with estrogen-dependent cancer should avoid using Star Anise*.
* Note: Some sources report that Star Anise can promote lactation while others caution against using it if you're breastfeeding. I recommend you consult with your doctor before using Star Anise if you are nursing your baby.
1. Staughton, John, 9 Surprising Benefits of Star Anise, Organic Facts, Last updated March 26, 2019, https://www.organicfacts.net/star-anise.html, Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
2. Seward, Marc, 10 Science Backed Star Anise Benefits, Healthy Focus, May 6, 2016, https://healthyfocus.org/star-anise-benefits/, Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
3. Jessimy, Michael, 11 Impressive Health Benefits of Star Anise, Natural Food Series,
May 1, 2019,
https://www.naturalfoodseries.com/11-benefits-star-anise/, Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
4. Mercola, Star Anise: Add This Special Spice to Your Meals, December 13, 2018,
https://articles.mercola.com/herbs-spices/star-anise.aspx, Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
5. Hill, Ansley, Star Anise: Benefits, Uses and Potential Risks, healthline, October 12, 2018,
Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
6. Acharya, Medicinal values of the popular herb Star Anise, Ayruvedic Talk, April 26, 2011,
Accessed May 8 - 10, 2019
The information contained in this blog is for educational purposes only and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.