Star anise is the star-shaped fruit of an evergreen plant known scientifically as Illicium verum. Originating in southern China, star anise has a licorice or anise like flavor, although it is not related to the true anise plants native to the Mediterranean basin and Middle East. Traditionally used as a spice and also as a healing herb, star anise appears to have medicinal properties that endow it with significant health benefits.
It is dark-brown in colour with eight segments. It has a sweetish licorice taste. Besides, its culinary uses, star anise also has health benefits.
In traditional Chinese medicine, star anise is prescribed as an digestive aid, promoting health of female reproductive organs and for lactating mothers to increase breast-milk secretion.
The anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of star anise is useful in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis and dry cough. For this reason, some cough mixtures contain star anise extract.
Star anise can also be used as for its sedating properties to ensure a good sleep.
The oil of star anise is useful in providing relief from rheumatism and lower back pain.
Star anise can also be used as a natural breath freshener.
Shikimic acid, a compound present in star anise is used for preparing drug for curing influenza or the flu virus.Linalool, a compound present in star anise contains anti-oxidants properties that are very good for one's overall health.
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