Star Anise is an aromatic, liquorice- flavored spice that is widely used in Indian, Malay, Chinese, and Indonesian cuisine. As with all herbs, it is not only a culinary delight but has some powerful medicinal properties. Find it in the spice aisle of your local grocery store, preferably organic.
1. Star Anise has antibacterial, anti-viral properties and helps to fight infection. Almost all of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, the chemical used in the synthesis of Tamiflu. Can you imagine how much safer it must be to use the unadulterated, whole food form of the medicine? This herb is indicated specifically for the flu, sinus infections and bronchial infections. Take it at the first sign of illness and each day you are ill, preferably in the tea form. See my recipe below.
2. It has compounds such as creosol and alpha-pimene that clear mucus from air passages, soothe a sore throat, and make dry, irritating coughs more productive. The Greeks used to make teas with it to help asthma and other respiratory ailments.
3. Alleviates constipation.
4. It is carminitive (relieves gas) and is good for indigestion.
5. Is helpful for PMS and menopausal symptoms, and gently encourages childbirth.
6. Supplies calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin A, and five B vitamins.
7. The seeds from this powerfully scented herb have been used as a tea for thousands of years to help treat bad breath.
8. Star Anise contains a compound called anethol, which has been reported to increase sex drive in women.
Here we used star anise to make a flavorful immune boosting tea with a handful of Wisconsin chaga mushroom chunks, 1 cinnamon bark stick, and 1/4 cup of elderberries in a stock pot. If you want a no fuss, ready-to-go star anise option, check out my organic Star Anise tincture.
Explore the many culinary applications to get the benefits of this wonderful medicine provided by nature!
Megan Normansell, CHC, AADP, CFH
Certified Holistic Practitioner/Holistic Nutrition/Herbalist/Wild Edibles Guide
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*please consult your herbalist or other health care practitioner before beginning a new herbal regimen like these.
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