Star anise is among the most demanded spices around the world thanks to its unusual form and flavor, and also because of its possible health benefits. It is a great choice for both cooking and medical purposes due to its affordability and accessibility. Read this article to know about the 9 major star anise benefits and every other fact that relates to it.
- 1 The overview of star anise benefits
- 2 8 surprising star anise benefits that you need to know
- 3 Star anise benefits: How to choose quality star anise?
The overview of star anise benefits
First of all, let’s talk about the general information of star anise benefits such as its definition and production.
Star anise benefits: What truly is star anise?
Star anise is a spice obtained from the star anise tree. The special thing lies in the part of the tree where this spice is made of. For some people who do not know, they might think it is made from the bark of the tree, similarly to cinnamon. Or maybe it is from the leaves of the tree? However, that is not the answer. Star anise is actually made from the fruit of the tree.
Since having a lot of star anise benefits, this tree has been planted and harvested for a very long time by the Chinese. Though, it was not until the 17th century that this spice was introduced to the world. Nowadays, there are many star anise benefits that people can utilize. Hence, the spice is still grown in some countries with a very large quantity.
There are also a lot of companies that are exporting star anise benefits to the world, typically K-Agriculture from Vietnam.
Different types of star anise
When talking about species of star anise, some people may get confused. You may find some names on the Internet that seem quite similar. A very popular misconception is between star anise and aniseed. Their names are almost identical. However these 2 are actually unrelated. Aniseed is a blooming plant that is indigenous to Southwest Asia and the eastern Mediterranean that has a flavor that is similar to a combination of fennel, tarragon, and licorice. Even though the origin is different, aniseed and star anise have quite the same flavor.
There are more things to say when we consider the types of star anise benefits. In this case, I want to talk about the 3 most popular types for international trading: whole star anise, broken star anise and star anise powder.
- Whole star anise: You may find this in cooking a lot of times. These stars are carefully processed after harvesting so that the final product only remains beautiful star anise with no stems or leaves. Usually there are 2 kinds of whole star anise based on the seasons: Spring and autumn. They have some differences in size and the oil content, but both are top quality and have fairly same price ranges at about $8300 per ton.
- Broken star anise: This is a type of star anise that contains what can be called a “defective product” of whole star anise. They are the stars that are broken during the manufacturing process, or those that do not meet the requirements of quality star anise. Hence, the price would be much cheaper than whole star anise. To be specific, the price of broken star anise is very flexible based on the broken rate, with the lowest price at only about $6000 per ton.
- Star anise powder: Simply take the broken or whole star anise, ground it and you will get star anise powder. This type of star anise is mostly used to make dry seasonings, such as Chinese five-spices.
If you have any other questions about the types of star anise benefits, please check out this video from K-Agriculture. It shall answers all your questions:
Star anise benefits: How to produce star anise
Next, we will discover how star anise is grown, and how we can have the star anise benefits of today.
Growing star anise
Growing star anise is not as hard as it may sound. There are a few things that you should keep in mind if you want to have the best star anise benefits:
- Requirements of planting star anise: Star anise trees are very strong and hardy ones. However, it has some requirements on the soil and temperature. The most important thing you need to mention is that star anise prefers a warm climate. It does not require sunlight, which means you can grow star anise benefits in either a very sunny place or a rather shady one, they are both ok. However, if you are living in a cold climate, for example near the South and North pole, star anise should not be your choice. This is because if the temperature drops to 15 Fahrenheit, your tree would die.
- Caring for the tree: There are many aspects of caring, such as watering, fertilizing or pruning. However, we want to focus on the most important aspect, which is watering. Watering a tree is like feeding a person, you have to do it correctly or else the tree would bring less star anise benefits, or it can even die. Furthermore, each type of plant has different requirements on watering. For example, you cannot water a cactus too much or it would waterlogged and eventually die. In the case of star anise benefits, it is crucial to keep the plant hydrated, but not overwatering or it would have root rot.
There is still more information about growing star anise that we are not able to write here. However, you can always check out our other blogs to find them.
Related: How to grow star anise?
Harvesting and processing star anise
When you have decided to grow star anise, you have to be patient until it can bring you some star anise benefits. This is because a normal star anise tree takes at least about 6 years to mature and be able to harvest. Until then, daily care is necessary for it to bring back star anise benefits.
There are 2 crops for harvesting star anise each year: The Spring crop and Autumn crop. The specifications of the 2 crops are different, such as size or content of essential oil…
Take individual pods with garden shears after they have taken on their rounded shape and dry them in the sun. They will have transformed from their more spherical shape to star shape when they are thoroughly sun-dried and prepared. Green aniseed stars turn reddish-brown as well. When the fruit grows ripe enough, the pods break open, and the fruits are utilized to flavor food. Take a seed and squeeze it to determine whether this is true. They aren’t quite ready if you can’t smell that unique black licorice fragrance. Over the next few days, repeat the test. The moment has come if you can smell black licorice!
8 surprising star anise benefits that you need to know
Now we move on the the most important part of the article, which is the 9 amazing star anise benefits that not everyone knows.
Improve skin health
With a relatively high concentration of different antioxidants, star anise benefits can aid in promoting the body’s clearance of free radicals, especially those that might result in oxidative stress on the skin. To keep your skin appearing young and bright, this can help reduce wrinkles, increase skin suppleness, and conceal existing scars and blemishes. Furthermore, other star anise benefits related to skin care is that it can help curing acne. That is why star anise extract is used by cosmetic companies to make many different products like cleansers, body wash… A very interesting star anise benefits in making these products is that the elegant scent of this spice can elevate the smell of the product as well as eliminating unwanted smells.
Improve immune system
Star anise has many benefits that helps you boost your immune system:
- Antiviral benefits: The presence of shikimic acid in star anise is one of the most well-known pharmacologically significant star anise benefits. Shikimic acid is a substance that has potent antiviral properties. In fact, Tamiflu, a well-known drug for the cure of influenza, has it as one of its primary active components. Currently, the main supply of shikimic acid utilized in the creation of medicinal products is star anise benefits. The need for star anise is increasing as the threat posed by the influenza pandemic to world health continues to grow. Other viral infections may also be treated by star anise essential oil, according to certain test-tube studies, making star anise benefits even more abundant.
- Antibacterial benefits: The potential of star anise to suppress bacterial development implicated in a range of common ailments is another significant star anise benefits. According to certain studies, star anise oil is just as efficient against a variety of pathogenic bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics as antibiotics. This might be very helpful for the creation of novel antibiotic drugs in the future. Test-tube experiments have also suggested that star anise benefits’ bioactive components may be useful in the treatment of urinary tract infections brought on by certain bacteria. According to a different research, star anise extract can partially inhibit the development of E. coli in a petri dish, although it is not as efficient as the more usual antibiotic treatments at the moment.
- Antifungal benefits: Flavonoid anethole is abundant in star anise benefits. This substance gives the spice its distinctive aroma and has strong antifungal properties. According to several agricultural studies, trans-anethole, which is generated from star anise benefits, may prevent the growth of harmful fungus in some food crops. Other bioactive substances in star anise oil, notably the terpene linalool, have been shown to inhibit the development of biofilm and cell walls in pathogenic fungus in test tubes. Understanding the uses of star anise benefits to cure fungus infections in people will require more study.
Help treating sleep problems
The antioxidant contents and magnesium content of star anise benefits have been linked to studies’ findings that the spice has some sedative qualities. This spice can help patients with insomnia and irregular sleep patterns by stimulating the release of some specific neurotransmitters that promote relaxation and sleep.
Help improve blood circulation
Some people may doubt this, but star anise benefits can actually help you improve blood circulation. One tablespoon of these tiny fruiting structures, which contain the mineral iron, provides around 13 percent of your daily necessary intake. Even while it’s doubtful that you’ll consume a full tablespoon of these fruits, the high iron content can still assist increase the creation of red blood cells, which can increase energy levels by encouraging circulation and appropriate oxygenation of the body’s extremities.
One of star anise benefits is to be a potent digestive, and people frequently consume the fruits after meals to encourage healthy digestion. Additionally, it can ease cramps, reduce bloating and excessive gas, as well as enhance the microbial balance in your stomach for improved nutritional absorption.
Balance hormones in your body
Given that star anise may have a strong impact on men and women, studies on star anise benefits on hormone levels are extensive. In contrast to how it helps regulate menstrual cycles, moderate changes in mood, and other hormone-related menstrual side effects in women, it can give males an energy boost and improve sex desire in men. What an interesting star anise benefit.
Help fighting cancer
This spice has a wide variety of antioxidants that can all have an impact on oxidative stresses, creating even more star anise benefits.
Trans-anethole, one of the main components of Illicium verum Hook (the scientific name for star anise), has been shown to have antitumor activity against cervical carcinoma, fibrosarcoma, breast cancer, and Ehrlich ascites tumor, according to a study published in the South African Journal of Botany by a team of Malaysian researchers. Research is being conducted in the meantime to see whether star anise benefits can slow the spread of colon cancer.
Becoming a great cooking ingredient
The last star anise benefits that we want to mention are not related to health. It is simply the fact that star anise is an amazing ingredient for cooking. As mentioned, star anise is mostly used as a spice in cooking. It is utilized mostly in making broths, especially in Asian cuisine. You can basically put this spice in any dish you want. The amazing thing is that it comes well with almost any dish. Furthermore, another star anise benefits is that you can use it to make delicious star anise tea, which can also bring about all of the star anise benefits that we have mentioned.
Star anise benefits: How to choose quality star anise?
Knowing about that many star anise benefits, it is time for you to actually buy and use them. Here are some tips that we have learned from our own experience. You can read them for reference whenever you want to buy star anise.
Based on origin of star anise
The most basic factor that decides the quality of star anise benefits is the origin. The star anise export market is currently ruled by 3 countries, namely Vietnam, China and India. These 3 countries make up almost half of total international export of star anise (According to Tridge). Among the 3 countries, Vietnam and China are the homeland of producing star anise with the best star anise benefits. Therefore, it is best if you buy star anise from these 2 nations.
There are differences between Vietnamese and Chinese star anise:
- Vietnamese star anise tends to have better quality. It has higher oil content, hence the price is also a bit more expensive than Chinese ones.
- On the other hand, Chinese star anise has less distinctive aroma and flavor due to the lower content of essential oil. Therefore, its price is also lower.
Related: Vietnam star anise price
Based on type of star anise
As we have mentioned earlier, there are 2 main types of star anise benefits based on the crop, Autumn and Spring.
- Autumn star anise: The star anise from this crop is larger in size. To be specific, they are normally about 2.5 to 3 mm in length. However, they have less essential oil than the Spring star, so overall the price of Autumn star anise is lower with lower quality.
- Spring star anise: The better ones. These stars are smaller, only about 2 mm in length, with some of the biggest ones at about 2.5 mm. In exchange, they contain more essential oil, therefore the price is also higher.
Based on the specifications
Last but not least, specifications may be the most important factor when you want to buy star anise benefits. The following are some of the popular aspects of star anise qualifications:
- Oil content: The most important factor. This content directly reflects the quality of the star anise. To be more specific, this is the amount of essential oil in the star anise. Basically you can understand as the more oil content a star anise product has, the more star anise benefits it brings. Normally the Vietnamese star anise has an oil content of about 2-4%, and the Chinese ones are lower.
- Moisture: The amount of water that remains inside the stars after processing. Star anise is just like any other food, the less water it has, the more you can keep it. The ideal is about 12-13%.
- Physical appearance: This aspect can also be listed in the specifications when it comes to evaluating star anise benefits. Just like we have mentioned previously on the post, there are 3 types of star anise benefits based on their physical appearance: whole, broken and ground star anise. You can also categorize star anise benefits by the color. Most people would just buy star anise with natural dry color, however in some cases, it is preferred by the buyers to have star anise with lighter and cleaner color. Therefore, people also came up with a technique, which uses Sulfur to make the star anise brighter in color.
In conclusion, the standard specifications for high-quality star anise benefits can be seen in the list below:
- Moisture: 13.5%
- Oil content: 2-3%
- Admixture: 1%
- Broken: 5%
- Color: Natural color
- Size: 2-2.5mm
- Packing: Carton