The beautiful benefits of Star Anise

Thanks to its distinctive taste and aroma, star anise is often used in rich and delicious dishes and is an important ingredient in the well-known spice blend Chinese 5 Spice, which is used in almost all Chinese recipes!

It has to be one of the most recognisable spices out there, but do you know the benefits of these quirky star-shaped pods?

Promotes a good night’s sleep

Star anise has a relaxing and sedative property and has been known to help people who struggle getting a good night’s sleep. The calming spice has also been used for those suffering with anxiety, nervous afflictions, depression, anger and stress.

Warning: We recommend consulting a doctor prior as the utmost care should be taken when digesting star anise in larger doses due to its narcotic effects.

Can be used to help treat worms

I know what you’re thinking, ‘arghhhh worms‘! Yes it’s a scary thought and unfortunately they’re a lot more common than you think. But do not fear, thanks to the antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal properties, star anise has historically been used to help treat those pesky intestinal parasites. All it takes is a few cups of delicious star anise tea. Now breathe…

Can increase libido

The easily recognisable smell and flavour of star anise is down to the organic compound called ‘anethole’, which in fact acts in a similar way to the female hormone estrogen. This explains why traditionally the spice is used to alleviate premenstrual syndrome and is said to increase libido. Oh-aye…

Promotes a healthy immune system

Did you know that star anise is actually one of the main components for making the anti-flu drug Tamiflu? It’s true.

Star anise contains high amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A which is key to promoting a healthy immune system. It is also rich in anti-oxidant and antibacterial properties which are key in fighting colds and flu.

Scientists in Taiwan* found that four anti-microbial derivatives from star anise proved beneficial when they were tested against almost 70 strains of drug-resistant bacterias.

*Journal of Medicinal Food (2010)

Can be beneficial to nursing mothers

In traditional Chinese medicine, star anise was given to women during pregnancy and the lactating period as it was believed to boost the mother’s immunity and increase milk secretion. It’s also packed full of iron which is key to expectant and nursing mothers.

Promotes overall health

These spicy seeds are the great source of key minerals like calcium, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Just 100g contains 36.96 mg or 462% daily required levels of iron!

 

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to source the most up to date and accurate information, we cannot guarantee that remedies in our articles are effective, when in doubt, consult your GP or a qualified Medicinal Herbalist. Remember also that herbal remedies can be dangerous under certain circumstances therefore you should always seek medical advice before self-treating with a homemade remedy, especially if you are pregnant, breast feeding or suffer from any known illness which could be adversely affected by self-treatment.

About the Author

Felicity

Felicity is JustIngredients' herb and spice champion. A keen chef and smoothie queen, follow her posts for great tips, tricks and recipe inspiration.

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