Star Anise

Star Anise

Star anise termed biologically as Illicium verum, is obtained from the star-shaped pericarp, a medium-sized native evergreen tree of northeast Vietnam and southwest China. Star anise is actually the usually with eight arms. Each arm is a seed pod. The fruit is picked before it is ripe and then dried to be used as a spice or medicinal herb. The herb has a licorice-like flavor.


Star anise is used to relieve colic, gas and in appetizing. Flatulence, nausea, vomiting and other gastric distress can also be treated with this herb. It has anti-spasmodic qualities that help relieve upset. Aids digestion if chewed after meals. It is widely used as a mouth refreshing agent also.

Cold & Flu

It is used in flu medications commercially like Tamiflu, the only drug at this time known to be effective against the Bird Flu.
The herb is known to be antifungal and antibacterial and it has been used to relieve coughs due to its expectorant qualities. It has been used for whooping cough.


It can increase the production of milk in new mothers. Some folk remedies recommend the use to facilitate birth and to increase the libido. It also helps relieve discomforts associated with menopause, but, only when taken in the right quantities after consultation with a physician.

Other properties

  • Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for rheumatism. Also available in the oil form, as an effective relief for pain associated with rheumatism.
  • The oil is effective against lice.
  • It is often used in baked goods, confections and liqueurs. 
  • It has insecticidal properties and is effective against Japanese termites and adult German cockroaches.
  •  It is also a popular fragrance in some parts of the world. 
  • Star anise enhances the flavour of meat. It is used as a spice in preparation of biryani all over the Indian subcontinent. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, in Indian cuisine where it is a major component of garam masala, and in Malay and Indonesian cuisine. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia.