Foods for ThoughtsRecipes

Star Anise, A Spice of Life

Star Anise, A Spice of Life

True Star Anise is a dried fruit that is indeed something that will spice up your health and your life.  Star anise, in my humble opinion, should be among the main seasonings on your spice rack; it should also be among your regularly sipped herbal teas. True Star Anise aka Chinese star anise, has some very essential health benefits. What is star anise? Also known as badiam, its pods look liked star-shaped pine cones and actually, they do come from a type of evergreen. However the Illicium verum tree does not have needles, but rather leaves which stay on year ‘round. That’s why it requires a subtropical climate (USDA Zones 8 through 11) and grows naturally in the warm southern portions of China and Vietnam 1 .

So what’s so great about this fruit/spice/herb? In addition to being a good medicinal ingredient, star anise is great to cook with. It’s licorice taste pairs well with spices such as cinnamon, cardamon, coriander, and clove,to name a few, and can enhance your taste experience with just a little pinch. For all you meat lovers out there, it’s a great seasoning for steak, chicken and pork.

Now for the health/medicinal stuff; star anise is a good source of the following;

  • B complex vitamin which promotes healthy skin, eye, and nervous system, in addition to aiding with regulating blood sugar, the production of red cells and promoting healthy adrenal hormones;

  • Antioxidants and vitamins A and C, star anise is effective in helping the immune system. Its anti-fungal and anti-bacterial abilities can keep you away from flu and other seasonal viral infections. As well as, being a critical natural element that enhances heart, lungs and kidney health;

  • Aids in digestive system health; relieves/ prevents,bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation;

  • Anethole, a compound in star anise, that gives the spice it’s licorice flavour and acts as a mild sedative that reduces anxiety to help with achieving a rejuvenating sleep. A cup of star anise tea before bed relaxes the mind and body. Anethole also prevents and treats urinary tract infections and ear infections.

  • Calcium- a mineral that helps to maintain healthy bones, heart and muscles.

  • Collagen -a protein naturally occurring in muscles, bones, the digestive system, and tendons. Collagen helps to keep skin firm and wrinkle free.

  • Shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), a flu treatment.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the side effects of star anise. Good and bad is necessary for a natural balance. Thus, please be a ware of a few things to consider when deciding to use star anise in food and for medicinal purposes. There is two type of star anise; Japanese Star Anise and Chinese Star anise. Japanese star anise(Illicium anisatum) is poisonous and should not be consumed. Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) is the one that can be consumed and is used in most Asian medicine and food. Be careful when you buy star anise for cooking, for tea and for medicinal remedies; always confirm it contains only Chinese star anise.

Japanese star anise is only good as an incense. Research has revealed that some people, especially infants could experience irritability, vomiting and seizures, after ingesting star anise contaminated or adulterated with Japanese star anise. Most importantly, remember everything should be taken in moderation. A healthy balance of vitamins and minerals will always work best for you. and always remember to consult with your doctor or naturopath before introducing any new foods or natural medicines.

I am currently working on some new recipes of healing meals and quite a few of them will include Chinese star anise. So stayed tuned for the new Irie Stomach Cook Book Journey.

In the meantime, chill out with some star anise tea and check out Irie Stomach Youtube channel for other delicious recipes.

Star Anise Tea


**(makes two mugs)**

  • two whole raw dried organic Chinese star anise fruit

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 tsp of ground nutmeg

  • 3 cups of water

  • Raw organic honey

In a small pot bring to a boil 3 cups of water. Then add star anise, cinnamon stick and ground nutmeg. Turn down heat to low and Boil for 10 -15 mins covered.

Remove star anise and cinnamon stick and pour tea liquid in a mug; sweeten with 1 tsp of honey or to your taste.  

**You can also add coconut milk or lemon juice to your tea





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