Star anise is an extremely popular spice used throughout the world for its vivid flavor, adding a dimension of taste that makes many foods extremely exquisite. Star anise is not the same as anise seeds (or aniseeds), though their flavors are the same, with star anise actually introduced as a lower cost alternative in many poor economies. But their similarities actually end there, as star anise has many different health benefits from aniseeds. Together, these compounds may contribute to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of star anise.
Some animal and test-tube research indicates that the antioxidant capacity of this spice may even possess anti-cancer properties, such as reducing tumor size. Ultimately, more research is needed to better understand how the bioactive compounds in star anise may support human health.
Benefits of Star Anise
1. Helps Prevent Constipation:
Though star anise is used as a spice, and rarely used in high quantities, it has significantly amounts of fiber in it that can be of benefit to anyone. You are likely to use only a little in your food, but when it comes to fiber, every little bit counts. Fiber bulks in the colon and along the intestinal tract, attracting water and preventing fecal statis. Fecal statis is just a fancy way of saying constipation, since the feces are unable to move anymore and harden and become difficult to pass. Water and fiber are essential for prevention of this.
2. Antifungal Properties:
Star anise is a rich source of the flavonoid anethole. This compound is responsible for the spice’s distinct flavor and offers potent antifungal benefits. Some agricultural research has found that trans-anethole derived from star anise may inhibit the growth of pathogenic fungi in certain edible crops. Test-tube research indicates that other bioactive compounds found in star anise essential oil, like terpene linalool, may suppress biofilm and cell wall formation of infectious fungi in humans.
3. Acts As A Mosquito Repellant When Ingested:
Studies have shown that a compound found in star anise, anethole, functions as an effective insecticide outside of the body, but also when ingested. This is unique, since many repellants require application to the skin to work, but consumption of star anise helps you from getting bitten by mosquitoes and other insects, as it has insecticide properties. Regular consumption of star anise hence makes you insect proof, a welcome addition in tropical climates that have to suffer from insect bites year round.
4. 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. Another test-tube study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food demonstrated that this spice exhibited antibacterial activities against 67 strains of antibiotic-resistantbacteria.
5. Assists In Lactation:
New mothers sometimes have a difficult time producing milk following the birth of the newborn, especially if delivered via caesarean section or if it is their first child. At this time, remedies can be used to stimulate milk production. It is believed that the compound anethole shares a structural similarity to dopamine, which is known to inhibit prolactin release (and milk production). So, by dislodging dopamine and preventing it from doing so, milk production is increased.
6. Fresh Smelling breathe:
Star anise is often used by people in Pakistan and India to help keep their breath smelling clean and fresh. Many people chew on the seeds after a meal to neutralize the smell of their food. Because star anise has excellent antibacterial properties, it may also contribute to your oral health in general.
7. For Influenza:
Star anise is the best natural source of Shikimic acid which is used in the anti-flu medication Tamiflu. Shikimic acid is rare in nature-it is present in sweetgum fruit and ginkgo but occurs in far greater concentrations in star anise.
8. 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.
Star anise tea is an excellent natural remedy to ease a cough and soothe your sore throat. Simply follow the tea instructions below and drink up to three times each day. Alternatively, you can get instant relief from your symptoms by inhaling the star anise’s seeds. The best way to do this is to put 2 teaspoons of ground up seeds into a large cup or a mug and add boiling water. Cover your head and shoulders with a towel and place your face over the mug.
10. 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.
11. Sleep Disorders:
According to traditional use and anecdotal evidence, star anise may have mild sedative properties which can help your nerves to settle down and also ensure a good night’s sleep. If you are having difficulty getting to sleep, try a cup of soothing star anise tea before going to bed.
12. 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.
13. Antibacterial properties:
Recent years have seen an increase in bacterial which exhibit increasing resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics. This crisis has created the incentive for scientists to find new and more effective antimicrobial treatments and the search is well and truly underway. The antibacterial abilities of many natural herbs and plants have been put under the microscope and researchers have already begun to see the antibacterial potential of star anise.
14. Improved Digestion:
Star anise is often prepared as a tea especially in South East Asian countries and China. It is mainly used to deal with a variety of digestive complaints such as gas, abdominal cramps, indigestion, bloating and constipation. To treat any digestive condition that you may be suffering from, it is considered best to drink the tea after your meals.
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