Where does star anise come from?
It is called Chinese fennel, Siberian anise, but also more commonly star anise in reference to its Mandarin name “badjiao” which means “eight horns”. So many names indicating its Asian origin since it comes in particular from the Chinese province of Jiangxi, Laos, Vietnam and Japan. This badian fruit, harvested green before being dried, comes in the form of a pretty eight-pointed star containing seeds. Not to be confused with Japanese star anise which is poisonous and prohibited in France.
5 … This is the number of classes of active ingredients that star anise contains: an essential oil (mainly phenol methyl ether transanethole), flavonoids, furanocoumarins, fatty acids, sterols and proteins.
The health benefits of star anise
It treats well pains and discomforts related to digestion. It relieves bloating and aerophagia, calms flatulence and is blessed after a slightly heavy meal … It is also a good digestive and genitourinary antispasmodic.
But star anise is also useful against fatty coughs in cases of bronchitis, thanks to its fluidifying action on secretions. Finally, pharmaceutical companies extract a molecule (shikimic acid) used in one of the rare anti-influenza drugs: Tamiflu®. From there to use it directly against viral attacks … maybe not. But it does not stop revealing its benefits.
- A decoction of star anise after meal : Count 2 stars for a cup. Boil for 3 minutes, then let steep for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup after each meal, that’s great!
- Recipe for gingerbread with anise : Pour 250 g of flour, 100 g of unrefined unrefined sugar, 1 sachet of yeast, 1 tsp. to c. star anise powdered with a mini grater, 1 tbsp. to c. grated nutmeg, 1 tbsp. to c. cinnamon powder, 1 tbsp. to c. of powdered ginger. Add 250 g of softened chestnut honey in a double boiler, then two whole eggs and 10 cl of milk. Cooking 1 hour.
Where to find it from star anise?
Whole or crushed stars are sold in sachets in herbalists, organic stores, pharmacies and drugstores. Also handy, the star anise capsules of L’Herboristerie Moderne or Ombelle Nature.
Attention… There is no known contraindication to star anise per se. However, the essential oil from this plant can be neurotoxic and should only be used on the recommendation of a therapist. It is contraindicated in pregnant women, young children, and in the event of a history of breast cancer. To avoid counterfeiting and confusion with Japanese star anise, also avoid buying your powdered star anise. Grate the stars yourself.
Thanks to Thierry Folliard, herbalist, author of Petit Larousse des Huiles Essentiels
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