Star anise: properties and how to use it in the kitchen

Among the spices of health, star anise is one of the least known and used. Unmistakable for its 8-12-pointed star shape, this type of anise boasts numerous health benefits. So let's discover all the properties of star anise and how to use it in the kitchen.

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Among health spices,star anise it is one of the less known and used ones. Unmistakable for his star shape with 8-12 points, this type of anise boasts numerous health benefits. Let's find out then all the property star anise e how to use it in the kitchen.





Star anise, not to be confused with the more common anise (Pimpenella anisum), is none other than the fruit of Illicium verum, a tree native to Southeast Asia widely used in traditional oriental cuisine to flavor foods and drinks.

Read also: 10 SPICES OF HEALTH

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PROPERTIES OF STAR ANISE

Star anise is considered a real natural antibiotic, the essential oil extracted from this plant is used in medicine and herbal medicine for the preparation of drugs and natural remedies.

One of the characteristics that make this spice more appreciated are its carminative properties (ie the ability to reduce intestinal gas), digestive and antinausea. It is used however successfully also for stimulate the appetite in subjects who find it difficult to eat or have to recover from a convalescence.

The star anise then helps the enzymatic activity of the liver but above all it is able to perform excellent antibacterial and antiviral activity. It has proved effective in defeating the classic influences but also situations of relapsing herpes.

Star anise is also a good diuretic (therefore recommended for those suffering from water retention) and expectorant. It is therefore capable of thin the mucus and help its elimination in case of cough or bronchitis.

This spice is also a great ally of new mothers, it seems in fact that it can help produce more milk although, as we know, the best way to increase production is to have the baby latch on to the breast as much as possible.

The most interesting active ingredient present in star anise, called anethole, also showed anti-inflammatory abilities.



STAR ANISE: HOW TO USE IT IN THE KITCHEN

Star anise, having seen yours aromatic flavor somewhat reminiscent of licorice, is mainly used for the preparation of liqueurs and sweets. The fruit you buy is already dried and, depending on the preparation you intend to make, can be used whole or ground.

As for liqueurs, this spice is essential to give the unmistakable flavor to alcoholic beverages such as sambuca, pastis, ouzo and absinthe. Here you will find a recipe if you want to try your hand at preparation of a DIY star anise liqueur.

Given its healing properties, it is also possible to prepare excellent with star anise herbal teas like the one based on ginger, lemon, honey and star anise, perfect for fighting coughs and flu. You can read the complete recipe here.

Photo credits: Isypedia

Read also: FOOD AND REMEDY: HONEY, LEMON, GINGER AND STAR ANISE TO FIGHT COUGH AND VIRUSES
If, on the other hand, digestion is your problem, you suffer from heartburn or aerophagia, you can try one herbal tea based on fennel seeds, cardamom, cumin and star anise. You can have the mix prepared in a herbalist's shop and follow the instructions given to you to enjoy it at its best.

This type of anise is also excellent in mixes of spices such as the famous "mixed 5 spices”Of Chinese cuisine in which there are, in addition to star anise, white pepper and Sichuan pepper, fennel seeds, cloves, cinnamon and salt.

Read also: SPICES: 7 DO-IT-YOURSELF MIXES FROM THE WORLD TO GIVE MORE FLAVOR TO OUR FAVORITE DISHES


STAR ANISE: WHERE TO BUY

Buying star anise is relatively simple. Difficult to find it in traditional supermarkets, however it can be found for example in exotic or oriental food shops but it is often also available in the chains of the biological and in herbalists. You can also buy comfortably online on various sites.


CONTRAINDICATIONS OF STAR ANISE

Star anise like many other natural products has contraindications. In this case, they are especially evident in the case of prolonged and exaggerated use of the spice. They can appear for example diarrhea, vomiting, nausea or abdominal pain up to real convulsions in the most serious cases. Absolutely to be avoided during pregnancy or in young children.

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