Star anise is a fruit that can do amazing things for our cooking. This spice is famed not only for its distinct flavor and culinary applications but also for its medicinal benefits.
It is packed with beneficial compounds that can improve our overall health. It has linalool (terpene alcohol that has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties), shikimic acid (has antibacterial properties), vitamin C (helps fight infections), and anethole (helps fight off cancer, inflammation, and diabetes, while also improving brain health).
Benefits Of Star Anise To Our Health
Helps Promotes Skin Health
Collagen, one of the primary structural proteins found in the skin, has a primary role of keeping our skin looking smooth. Anise star is a rich source of Vitamin C, which is an important component of collagen as it prevents wrinkles and premature aging.
Meanwhile, its vitamin A content also reduces any damage that is caused by excessive exposure to UV rays and helps minimize scarring due to stretch marks or acne hence enhancing the wellbeing of the skin.
Its tannins are the ones that strengthen the muscles’ firmness thus boosting the skin tone.
May Help Reduce Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal response of our immune system to protect against injuries and infection. However, high levels of long-term inflammation were linked to heart diseases, diabetes, cancer, and other chronic conditions.
There were animal and test-tube studies suggesting that anise seed may lower down levels of inflammation thereby preventing diseases and promoting better health.
One study in mice showed that anise seed oil reduced swelling and pain.
There was research revealing that anise seed’s antioxidants can reduce inflammation and prevent disease-causing oxidative damage.
May Help Manage Symptoms Of Menopause
During the menopausal period, a woman may experience various unpleasant effects (hot flashes, fatigue, and dry skin) due to the significant drop in her estrogen levels. To lessen these effects, it is recommended to consume foods which have estrogenic properties Star anise is one of these foods.
Anise seed is thought to mimic the effects of estrogen in your body, potentially reducing symptoms of menopause.
In a four-week study, 72 women with hot flashes took either a placebo or a capsule containing 330 mg of anise seed three times daily. Those taking anise experienced a nearly 75% reduction in severity and frequency of hot flashes.
Rich in Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect our bodies against the formation of harmful free radicals and combat oxidative stress that cause chronic diseases.
Star anise has high antioxidant content and some studies have shown that it can even be effective against cancer cells.
May Boost Heart Health
Due to its richness in powerful antioxidants, star anise may possibly prevent the buildup of harmful free radicals, reduce oxidative stress, and help enhance heart health.
In an animal study, results showed that an ethanol extract of star anise can help normalize changes in weight, blood pressure and lipid levels in mice fed a high-fat diet. Aside from these, it also reduced the buildup of plaque in the arteries and decreased several markers of inflammation.
Numerous Ways of Using Star Anise
- Star anise can be used whole or ground and in both sweet and savory dishes.
- Star anise is steeped in water to make a tea used to treat respiratory infections, nausea, constipation, and other digestive issues.
- Sprinkle powdered star anise muffins or throw a couple of whole pods into a pot of soup for a warming boost of flavor.
- It is often is added whole to soups, stews, and braising broths, to which it adds a sweet-licorice-peppery flavor.