Is star anise really a herbal star?

This will be the final post in our spicy mini-series.  It has been an interesting week for me to learn about some more spices, but I have noticed that my word count has been a little low each day.  I hope that hasn’t prevented your enjoyment in reading them.


So, today, I want to write about star anise.  It is used in the kitchen quite often as a culinary spice but it also has several medicinal properties.  It is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to China.  It is a very important constituent in Chinese Five Spice as well.

star anise

Star Anise is rich in a chemical called shikimic acid.  This acid is anti viral, and in fact, Tamiflu, which is used to fight influenza is the synthesized form of this chemical.   Star Anise is also anti-fungal and has been shown to clear up candida infections throughout the human body.


Star Anise is anti-bacterial.  Researchers in Taiwan have tested 4 new antimicrobial compounds from star anise which were found to be effective against 67 strains of drug resistant bacteria.   It is also an anti-oxidant and could be useful in fighting cancer.  Star Anise is also used to help nursing mothers to promote breast milk production.

star anise 1

If I were to use it in medicinal remedies, I would use probably use it in decoctions for asthma, bronchial coughs, and for digestive complaints including flatulence, bloating, colicky stomach pain, nausea and indigestion.



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