Top 4 benefits of star anise you should know
It is something of a secret ingredient in tasty dishes with aromatic notes and is also used in the field of cosmetics and herbal medicine. Star anise is an unusual spice with several beneficial properties of which not everyone is aware.
It is a plant of the Magnoliaceae family found in northern China; more precisely, in the Yunnan mountains. The fruits are arranged around the flower to form an 8–12 pointed reddish-coloured star, hence the characteristic name of "star anise".
However, what are this plant’s benefits? Here are some interesting points about possible uses.
1. It is a digestive
Many spices are rich in properties and can significantly improve the well-being of our bodies and star anise is described as an excellent natural antibiotic; indeed, the essential oil produced from this plant is used in the preparation of drugs and natural remedies. It has excellent digestive, carminative and antispasmodic properties: it promotes the relaxation of gastrointestinal smooth muscle.
2. It is an aphrodisiac
Star anise-based essential oils are often used in aromatherapy; when diffused in the home, they produce relaxation and restore the equilibrium. They are often therefore used to scent sheets or bedrooms. In addition to being an effective antiseptic and antibacterial, this spice has a gentle stimulant effect on the nervous system.
3. It enriches your dishes
Star anise is widely used in China and is considered an indispensable ingredient of “five spices”. It is an ideal seasoning for adding flavour to roast chicken, braised fish, molluscs or broths. It is also an ideal culinary accompaniment for cooked vegetables such as leeks and pumpkins. The star anise essence contains anethole, an aromatic substance found in anise which is often used to enhance drinks and liqueurs.
4. It is a tonic for teeth and gums
Chewing some whole star anise seeds is a good remedy for bad breath; it also helps to refresh, disinfect, whiten the teeth and tone the throat and gums.
If mixed in appropriate proportions with cinnamon, cloves, peppermint and alcohol an excellent homemade mouthwash is obtained which should be diluted in water for daily oral hygiene.
Star anise has always been the basic ingredient of Molinari Sambuca, it gives it that aromatic and sugary flavour which is characteristic of this Made-in-Italy liqueur. After distillation of the seeds, the essential oils are infused in alcohol and mixed with herbs, spices and sugar syrup.