|November 15, 2022

ALL YOU NEED IS SPICE: STAR ANISE

WHAT IS STAR ANISE?

Star anise, the main spice (Masala) in culinary applications for centuries because of its uniquely enticing flavor. It's most famously known for being a staple ingredient in five-spice powder, but it is also often added to dishes such as Vietnamese soup. This herb is a vital medicinal aid and can be grown in China, Indo-China, and Japan.

In Western culture, the Masala star anise provides another alternative when baking bread, such as challah rolls or cookies like fennel seeds and gingerbread. Anethol - the chemical responsible for the unique taste - is contained within all parts of this plant, including the flower that turns deep brown upon drying.

Star anise origins come from China and are both medicine and spice. In the late 1500s, it made its way to Europe via British sailors trading it along the tea route from China to Russia. It became popular because of its sweet taste and is most frequently found in jams, syrups, or desserts, eventually replacing anise seed in alcoholic drinks due to increased demand.

There are two different types of star anise - whole and ground. Whole star anise is usually added to braised dishes, soups, and stews to give them a rich flavor. The most common way for people who prefer their food without spice to use this variety would be through tea or baked goods.

Ground-up star anise powder has the same uses as any other ground spice in cooking, but because it starts losing its flavor after being grounded, you should always have whole pods on hand for when you need them. Alcoeats offers a range of Masala to choose from with Star Anise, like Alcoeats Garam Masala, Alcoeats Chaat Masala, and more.

What Does It Look Like?

anise spice

Star anise is a conspicuous spice that resembles a small reddish star. It usually has 6 to 8 points, each point containing one of the best flavors around - its seed.

For maximum flavor, look for stars with unbroken points. To check the freshness, break off a point and crush the seed. Whole star anise remains fresh for up to a year, while ground spices will lose their flavor after only six months.

Cooking with whole pods will require simmering them in sauces, marinades, and soups and removing them before serving. They don't soften when cooked, so we can't eat them, But it's worth it for their distinctive flavor that becomes stronger the longer they cook. Cooking with ground stars instead means adding it just like any other spice would be added to a recipe at the end of cooking time or earlier, depending on how potent you want its flavor to come through.

What Can It Do For Your Health?

anise spice

DISCLAIMER- This blog does not provide you with any medical advice. It is strictly meant to be an informational and recipe blog only. Please consult your physician or medical expert for what works best for you.

Star anise is known for its medicinal properties. It contains many antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, preventing aging and diabetes. To reduce bloating and aid in digestion after a big meal, try drinking star anise tea or adding a few drops of star anise essential oil to hot water (for relief from this side effect).

  • Antiviral Properties - The shikimic acid in star anise is one of the most popular and scientifically-relevant attributes. This chemical has potent antiviral properties and is an active ingredient in Tamiflu, a popular medication for treating influenza outbreaks. Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid used in pharmaceutical research and product development. Flu epidemics continue to spread globally.
  • Antifungal Capabilities - Star anise is a rich source of the flavonoid anethole, which gives it its signature flavor and packs potent antibacterial properties. Studies suggest that trans-anethole, derived from star anise, may inhibit the growth of some pathogenic fungi in some edible crops. Research also claims that other bioactive compounds found in star anise essential may suppress biofilm and cell wall formation of infectious fungi in humans.
  • Antibacterial Properties - Another medicinal benefit of star anise may be its ability to inhibit bacterial growth implicated in several common illnesses. Research has shown that it can be used as effectively as some antibiotics against multiple drug-resistant pathogens, making it especially useful for new antibiotic medications. Studies have also revealed that bioactive compounds in star anise are effective on symptoms of urinary tract infections caused by different bacteria.
  • Helpful for Cough and Cold- Star anise tea is one of many remedies for colds, influenza, and sore throats. It may kill bacteria in the throat, which causes infection when ingested orally. In addition to its antibacterial effects, this herb contains antioxidants that can help your immune system work more efficiently by clearing out harmful toxins from your body naturally - even though you might be sick already.
  • It may help control blood sugar levels - Star anise tea can help you maintain healthy blood sugar levels and reduce the amount of insulin you need. It also contains compounds that lower cholesterol levels in the body. Flavonoids work wonders for lowering LDL (bad cholesterol while simultaneously increasing HDL (good cholesterol). In one study, participants saw their bad-cholesterol decrease by 15%.
  • Summing Up on Star Anise 

    anise spice

    Star anise has been in traditional medicine for centuries, but its recent popularity is for its ability to fight infection. Star anise has a distinctive taste of licorice which can provide delicious enhancement to many dishes. It also contains bioactive compounds that may help treat fungal, bacterial, and viral infections. Make sure when purchasing star anise that you're sourcing from trusted sources and start with small amounts at first so as not to encounter any unwanted side effects.

    FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

    Is star anise good for the heart?

    Star anise may help protect cells from damage, reduce inflammation and oxidative stress, and promote cardiovascular health.

    Is star anise good for wrinkles?

    Star Anise is good for wrinkles because it is a natural skin toner. Anethole, a component of anise, is effective in detoxifying the skin. 

    How many pods of star anise are too many?

    Too many star anise can overpower a dish, making it unbearably bitter and unpleasant to eat. In soup or stew, one or two pods are enough to impart some flavor without overwhelming the other ingredients in the dish.

    Do star anise spices help in weight loss?

    Compounds found within these spices are to increase metabolism and boost fat burning.

    Does star anise interact with any medications?

    There are no listed interactions between Star Anise and other drugs.

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