13 Reasons to Add Star Anise to Your Diet!

What is Star Anise?

Illicium Verum is a tree with fragrant green leaves, purple-red flowers, and fruit shaped like a star. This tree grows only in Vietnam and Southern China. The fruit of the Illicium Verum tree is used in traditional Chinese medicine and as a spice in cooking. Chinese people have long used star anise to treat a range of ailments including vomiting, insomnia, stomach pain, and inflammation. Star anise was first brought to Europe in the seventeenth century. This spice is also known by other names such as star anise seed, Chinese star anise, or Chinese badian.

Compounds Found in Star Anise

Star anise spice is not only a popular tea ingredient but also contains various beneficial compounds that can promote better overall health. Here are some of the compounds found in star anise along with their health benefits:

  • Shikimic acid: This important ingredient in flu medicines is known for its anti-bacterial properties.
  • Linalool: With its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, this compound can be useful in fighting off infections.
  • Vitamin C: As a rich source of vitamin C, star anise can help improve immunity and treat infections.
  • Anethole: This compound found in star anise has been shown to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Additionally, anethole may help improve brain function and even assist in managing diabetes.

Discover the Amazing Health Benefits of Star Anise

Star anise is a popular spice used in Asian and South Asian cuisines, as well as in Ayurvedic medicine in China and India. Here are some incredible ways that star anise can benefit your health:

1. Powerful Antiviral Properties

The star compound of star anise is shikimic acid, which has potent antiviral properties. This compound is commonly used in flu medication and has been found to be effective against herpes simplex type 1. One cup of star anise tea can help alleviate muscle pain, headache, fatigue, and cold symptoms.

2. Natural Antifungal Benefits

Anethole is another compound found in star anise that offers antifungal benefits. This compound not only provides flavor to the spice, but it also inhibits the growth of dangerous fungi and bacteria in the body. Star anise can help fight harmful mold and yeast strains in the skin, mucus membrane, and gastrointestinal tract. Anethole has even been found to inhibit the growth of Candida albicans, which is a common cause of discomfort and vaginal infections in women.

3. Anti-Bacterial Properties

Star anise can inhibit the growth of bacteria responsible for many common illnesses. It is even effective against drug-resistant bacteria, making it a promising candidate for future antibiotics. Additionally, star anise can be helpful in treating urinary tract infections caused by different bacteria.

4. Insect Repellent

Did you know that star anise flowers can be used to make a natural insect repellent? The major compound in star anise oil, anethole, is disliked by insects such as cockroaches. Studies have shown that the oil can be up to 80% effective against German cockroaches. Other components of the oil, such as alpha-terpinene, limonene, estragol, linalool, and shikimic acid, help control other pests like mites. Star anise oil is also used as a natural pesticide to protect crops and grains.

5. Improves Digestion

Star anise is used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat digestive problems such as stomach pain, constipation, indigestion, and infections. It is rich in fiber, which improves digestion and helps with constipation. Fiber also helps maintain cholesterol levels in the body. Star anise can also treat Irritable Bowel Syndrome by reducing abdominal pain. Its active compound, anethole, can also reduce the negative effects of alcohol on the stomach, such as ulcers in animals.

6. Manages Menopause Symptoms

Menopause is a time when a woman’s periods stop. During menopause, women’s bodies undergo changes, such as a decrease in the production of estrogen, ovulation, and menstruation. When estrogen levels in the body decrease, women may experience menopause symptoms such as fatigue, mood changes, anxiety, joint and muscle aches. Some of these symptoms can lead to serious conditions like osteoporosis and heart disease. Many pharmaceutical treatments, such as hormone replacement therapy, are available to manage these symptoms. However, these drugs can have side effects, so many women are turning to natural and herbal remedies like star anise, which is a popular choice among spices and herbs.

7. Helps Control Blood Sugar Levels

Diabetes is a common disease that affects millions of people worldwide and can lead to serious health problems like kidney failure and nerve damage. Herbal medicines that have anti-diabetic properties are recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO). Star anise is a spice that can help control blood sugar levels in the body due to its antioxidant properties. An active compound in star anise called anethole can control and reduce high blood sugar levels, which can cause fatigue, difficulty concentrating, unintentional weight loss, and other issues.

8. Promotes Bone Health

Millions of people in North America suffer from low bone mass, which can lead to injuries or osteoporosis. Star anise has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that can improve organ and tissue function, including bone health. It contains beneficial nutrients like calcium, magnesium, manganese, vitamin K, and phosphorus, which strengthen bones and can prevent osteoporosis, especially in menopausal women.

9. Improves Heart health

Heart disease is a leading cause of death worldwide, and many people are concerned about their heart health. Herbal remedies are often preferred due to their lack of side effects, and star anise is a popular herb for promoting heart health. It contains antioxidants that prevent harmful free radicals from building up, reduces anxiety levels, and promotes healthy blood circulation and blood pressure. Calcium and potassium, both found in star anise, are natural elements that benefit the cardiovascular system.

10. Promotes Good Sleep

Insomnia can have various causes, but stress and anxiety are among the most common. Worry increases adrenaline levels, which can interfere with sleep quality. Star anise promotes the production of essential hormones and neurotransmitters that act as sedatives, promoting good sleep. If you are experiencing anxiety and poor sleep, star anise may be a helpful natural remedy.

11. Promotes Skin Health

The sun’s ultraviolet rays can damage our skin and lead to serious skin issues, such as skin cancer. Star anise contains anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties that help prevent skin damage and reduce signs of aging. It is rich in vitamin C, which produces collagen for healthy and fresh skin. Anethole, another active compound in star anise, lightens the skin and reduces blemishes.

12. Detoxifies Body

The body, is constantly, exposed to toxins from the environment and food, which can put stress on the liver. The liver is responsible for detoxifying the body by filtering out harmful toxins. Star anise contains anti-inflammatory properties that reduce Oxidative Stress and protect body tissues. Including star anise in your diet can help keep your liver healthy and your body free of toxins.

13. Helps in Weight Loss

Star anise is a useful dietary supplement for weight loss. It contains medicinal properties that aid in digestion and fat metabolism. It also has a diuretic effect, which helps remove toxins from the body. Drinking star anise tea can promote digestive health with its antimicrobial properties.

14. Reduce Respiratory Congestion

The oil extracted from star anise contains powerful compounds such as limonene, estragole, linalool, and trans-anethole. These active compounds have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties that can soothe respiratory infections and reduce congestion.


Star anise, a spice commonly used in Asian and South Asian cuisines and Ayurvedic medicine, contains various beneficial compounds that promote overall health. These compounds have potent anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties, and can help improve digestion, manage menopause symptoms, control blood sugar levels, promote bone health, and act as a natural insect repellent.

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