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Star Anise

Illicium verum

Parts used medicinally: Seed pods

Star Anise is the beautiful star-shaped fruit that comes from the evergreen tree of Illicium verum. The name 'Illicium' comes from the Latin 'illicio' meaning 'entice' – which comes as no surprise if you’ve ever smelt its sweet aroma. The smell is reminiscent of aniseed (which it is often confused with), just slightly more pungent and it has a sweetness similar to that of Liquorice.

The spice is native to China where it is commonly used in the cooking of soups, broths and marinades, as the flavour enhances over time when simmered. In the west it is often used in sweet dishes like desserts and jams. 
  
Star Anise is commonly used as a herbal medicine for colds and flu due to it's antimicrobial properties. 

Traditional indian drink - masala tea with milk and spices.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Star Anise is one of the sources of a chemical called Shikimic acid, which is vital as a starting material in the production of the drug Tamiflu – an antiviral medication used to treat and prevent flu. 
  • As well as being antimicrobial, in concentrated liquid form, it is great at reducing stubborn mucus from the respiratory tract and has a soothing effect on the digestive system. 
  • The fruit is rich in essential oils – which is why it smells so strong. This oil demonstrates strong antifungal properties. 

STAR ANISE & ME

  • Around this time of the year, star anise can be used to make a wonderful warming drink with either wine or apple juice. Simply place some star anise, cinnamon, cardamom, clove and orange peel into some red wine or apple juice and gently simmer it for about 30 mins. Once off the stove, strain it and serve immediately. It's great when warm but can also be consumed cold. 
  • Star anise can also be used as a winter elixir. Simply mix with some elderberries, sugar and water. Bring it to a boil and let it simmer for about 40 mins. Strain & bottle and keep it in the fridge. Take a teaspoon daily. 

If you are pregnant/breastfeeding or on drug medication, be sure to consult with a professional before trying these remedies.

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