Star Anise Organic Powder (ACO) 30g
Carminative, stimulant, stomachic. The seed pod of star anise is used in much the same way as anise seed: to promote digestion and appetite, and relieve flatulence. It also makes a good addition to other medicines to improve their taste.
Botanical Name: Illicium verum
Country of Origin: China
Part of Plant: Fruit
From its unmistakable aroma to its unique star-shaped appearance (before being ground to powder), star anise is truly a one-of-a-kind spice. Plus, not only is it super versatile and chock-full of flavor, but it also contains a number of compounds that can help kick up your health.
Not to be confused with anise seed benefits, star anise benefits include killing off bacteria and fungus, naturally fighting off the flu, boosting heart health, providing a concentrated dose of antioxidants and keeping blood sugar levels steady.
Coupled with a nutritious diet and active lifestyle, adding this powerful ingredient into your diet may be just what you need to bring your health to the next level.
What Is Star Anise?
Star anise comes from Illicium verum, a type of evergreen tree native to certain parts of Vietnam and China. The tree produces a fruit known as star anise that is used as a spice to add flavor to a variety of dishes. The fruit is picked before ripening and then dried in the sun to allow it to harden. It is characterized by its distinct star shape, reddish-orange color and strong aroma.
The star anise taste is often described as sweet and licorice-like. It’s considered a key ingredient in five-spice powder, a spice mixture used in Chinese cuisine that also includes cloves, Chinese cinnamon, fennel seeds and Sichuan pepper, and is also sometimes added to other spice mixes like garam masala. The oil of the fruit is also commonly found in mouthwash, perfume, toothpaste and cosmetics.
Star anise contains many medicinal compounds that contribute to its long list of health benefits. In fact, much of the star anise plant production today is used for the extraction of shikimic acid, the active ingredient in flu medications like Tamiflu. It also contains several other potent compounds, such as linalool, vitamin C and anethole.
Star Anise vs. Anise Seed
Star anise is often confused with anise seed, due to both its similar name and flavor profile. Because both contain anethole, they share a licorice-like taste and aroma. However, these two spices belong to completely different families of plants and have many differences that set them apart.
Anise is a type of plant that belongs to the Apiaceae family and is native to both the Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. The plant produces white flowers as well as an oblong fruit known as the anise seed, which is commonly used to flavor everything from teas to desserts and liquors.
Star anise, on the other hand, comes from an evergreen tree that originates in Vietnam and China. In addition to its culinary uses, star anise and its oil are also found in toothpaste, mouthwash, skin cream and even certain medications.
Despite their differences, these two ingredients can be used interchangeably in some recipes. Anise seed can be used as a suitable ground star anise substitute, for example, as it shares a similar taste and smell.
Star anise has been a staple ingredient in China for centuries as a result of its medicinal and culinary properties. It was used to treat an array of issues, providing relief from everything from flatulence to fluid retention.
By the 17th century, this spice had made its way to Europe, where its unique flavor was used to enhance the taste of syrups and fruit preserves.
Today, it is primarily grown in China and Japan, but it is used around the world as a flavoring agent for many classic dishes. Its oil can be found in a variety of commercial products, and it is prized for its multitude of medicinal properties.
Aniseed Whole Organic.
Preservative Free, Non-GMO, No Added Sugar. Paleo.
Is Star Anise Good for You? 6 Benefits of Star Anise
- Kills off bacteria
- Rich in antioxidants
- Wards off fungal infections
- May boost heart health
- Natural flu fighter
- Can help regulate blood sugar
1. Kills Off Bacteria
Pathogenic bacteria can cause a variety of ailments, ranging from ear infections to urinary tract infections and beyond. Star anise has been shown to possess powerful antibacterial properties and may be beneficial in protecting against these harmful strains of bacteria. (1)
One test-tube study demonstrated that star anise extract was able to help block the growth of E. coli, a type of bacteria that can cause a broad array of symptoms, such as diarrhea and pneumonia. (2) Another test-tube study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food demonstrated that this spice exhibited antibacterial activities against 67 strains of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (3)
Additionally, this spice also contains several compounds that have been shown to be antibacterial as well. Anethole, linalool and shikimic acid are all compounds found in star anise that are reported to help fight against bacteria. (4, 5, 6)
2. Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants are substances that can protect against the formation of harmful free radicals in the body. Getting enough antioxidants in your diet can also combat oxidative stress, which can prevent the progression of chronic disease. (7)
Thanks to its high antioxidant content, some studies have even found that star anise may be effective against cancer cells as well. In one animal study, it was found to reduce tumor burden and oxidative stress, plus increase levels of specific enzymes that play a role in cancer prevention. (8) However, research is limited, and more studies are needed to determine how the antioxidants found in star anise may impact human health.
3. Wards Off Fungal Infections
In addition to killing off pathogenic strains of bacteria, some research also shows that star anise pods could possess powerful antifungal properties as well. Fungal infections are often more difficult to treat and can present in a variety of forms, from yeast infections to athlete’s foot and jock itch.
According to a test-tube study published in the Korean Journal of Medical Mycology, star anise extract and essential oil were effective against Candida albicans, a type of fungus that is responsible for causing yeast infections. (9)
4. May Boost Heart Health
Brimming with potent antioxidants, star anise may be able to help reduce oxidative stress, prevent the buildup of harmful free radicals and help enhance heart health.
Although research is limited, some studies have turned up promising results on the potential benefits of this spice on heart health. In a 2015 animal study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, an ethanol extract of star anise was found to help normalize changes in weight, blood pressure and lipid levels in mice fed a high-fat diet. Not only that, but it also reduced the buildup of plaque in the arteries and decreased several markers of inflammation as well. (11)
Keep in mind that further research is needed, but adding star anise to a healthy diet and lifestyle may be able to keep your heart in good shape to protect against issues like heart disease and stroke.
5. Fight the Flu
Chills, fever, muscle aches and fatigue — if you’re like most people, you’re probably all too familiar with the dreaded list of symptoms that start to pop up right before a full-blown case of the flu. Next time you find yourself feeling under the weather, you may want to consider brewing up a cup of star anise tea for a quick boost of flu-fighting power.
Star anise contains a compound called shikimic acid, which is commonly found in medications used to treat influenza, such as Tamiflu. A test-tube study published in the Journal of Medical Virology found that combining shikimic acid with quercetin, a type of natural plant pigment, was able to significantly increase the production of immune cells compared to treatment with Tamiflu. (12)
6. Could Help Regulate Blood Sugar
High blood sugar can cause a long list of diabetes symptoms, from increased thirst to difficulty concentrating, fatigue and even unintentional weight loss. Left untreated, high blood sugar can even contribute to more serious issues long-term, such as kidney failure and nerve damage.
Adding star anise to your routine may help keep your blood sugar in check, thanks to the presence of anethole. Some studies have found that this powerful compound could be beneficial in maintaining normal blood sugar levels. In a 2015 animal study out of India, for instance, treating rats with anethole was found to improve blood sugar by regulating some of the key enzymes involved in carbohydrate metabolism. (13)
Of course, it takes more than simply a sprinkle or two of star anise pods each day to regulate blood sugar levels. For best results, try pairing a serving or two with a balanced diet and active lifestyle.
Precautions and Side Effects
Although linked with many health benefits and generally considered a safe way to add flavor to foods, star anise should be used in moderation to prevent negative side effects.
Make sure that you are using Chinese star anise and not Japanese star anise. The Japanese version is inedible and actually poisonous if consumed by mouth.
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. (17)
There is also not enough evidence to determine the safety of this spice in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns. (18)
Finally, if you experience any negative side effects or food allergy symptoms after consuming star anise, discontinue use immediately and consult with a trusted health care practitioner.
The appropriate dose of star anise depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for star anise. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.
Like all spices, star anise should be stored in an airtight container away from heat and light. Whole stars will stay fresh for about two years; ground star anise lasts about one year.
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Non-Perishables = essential oils, beauty and cooking oils, raw minerals and supplements
Dry goods = herbs, spices, coffee
Perishables = vegetables, herbs, fruit, eggs, F&G boxes, stock broth and liquid broth
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