You might have seen star anise in your Asian mother’s pantry. This is not meant to be a racist remark or whatsoever. This is actually a fact because star anise is popular in Asia and can be often seen in their dishes. This licorice-like spice comes from the Chinese evergreen tree. Others might confuse it with anise. Though logically so because anise and star anise are quite similar in terms of taste.
This sweet spice is popular due to its stellar contribution to taste and flavor for dishes. What we do not know is its contribution to health and wellness. Though on the downside, it has its side effects too and what you can do as a precaution against it. This article will tackle the incredible health benefits and side effects of star anise.
Star Anise Has Powerful Compounds
Star Anise has minerals and nutrients that are unwritten to articles and marketing posters. Quite logical too since this spice is only used in small quantities. Still, the nutritional value of star anise should again be broadcasted and recorded.
Its nutritional value is due to the two bioactive compounds that it is rich upon. These compounds are flavonoids and polyphenols. These compounds may be responsible for the variety of health benefits star anise has. There are other bioactive compounds that star anise has these are Limonene, Linalool, Gallic acid, Quercetin, Shikimic acid, Anethole and so forth.
The compounds listed above are said to have anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant properties. This idea might have propelled star anise to be at the top shelves of organic treatments for infection, certain diseases and even cancer. Researches about the anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant effects of star anise are done on animal subjects. There are no human subjects who have been immersed in this experiment though. So, the accuracy of this is solely dependent on animals only. More research and alternative experiment are needed to justify these definite conclusions.
Star Anise Has Medicinal Properties
Star Anise somewhat originated in Asia due to the abundance of the Chinese evergreen tree. So, it is somewhat logical that the Asians have been introduced first about its health and medicinal benefits. It exponentially grew popularity in terms of therapeutic benefits in the west mainly due to it has anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and antioxidant.
Star Anise Inhibits Virus
Star Anise can be rightfully tagged as medicinal as the medical world has already proven its curative abilities specifically in the field of medicinal anti-viruses. Viruses like influenza and herpes can be treated by star anise already as per advice from a doctor (if your doctor does not recommend so, do not self medicate yourself with it).
Influenza and herpes are quite widespread in this age and star anise as a handy, medicinal tool to rid of it is quite a fortunate circumstance for all of us. Pharmaceutical corporations are using star anise in some of their antiviral products. These products are primarily used as the treatment for influenza and herpes simplex type 1. Currently, there are researches and experiments on their way to still unlock and discover the other antiviral possibilities of star anise. It is only a matter of time before we find out what type of virus can star anise fight off.
Star Anise is Anti-Fungal
Star Anise has antifungal properties due to its flavonoid anethole content. This type of flavanoid, fights of fungus especially those fungi that wreaks havoc on plants and crops. Some farmers use alternatives like this sweet spice to take care of their crops by using it as an antifungal agent.
Research with human subjects has rendered positive outputs as to the effectivity of star anise to inhibit the growth of a fungus. The other property of star anise that can inhibit the growth of mildew is the terpene linalool essential oil. It is said to suppress the development of the physical structure of the fungus.
Star Anise is Antibacterial
Star anise has been scientifically researched to inhibit the growth of bacteria. These bacteria have caused several types of diseases and can be treated by antibiotics. The expert’s hunch is, the star anise can be as good as antibiotics in terms of safety and effectivity. Not to mention that it was inorganic and can be massed produced at a lower price.
Experts also noted that star anise’s antibacterial powers are quite useful in bacteria that cause UTI (Urinary Tract Infection). Another research recorded positive results in star anise’s medical power in fighting off E.Coli though the effectivity is still relatively less potent than the conventional commercialized antibiotics in drugstores.
The anti-bacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant properties of star anise are all relatively dependent on a plant, petri dish, and animal subjects. No great experiment subjecting a human being as a case study has been found. So, further research and more accurate subject alternatives should still be conducted to get actual results.
Precaution (Side Effects and Risks)
We have heard of all the amazing scientific and health benefits; star anise can give us but what about its side effects and risks? What kind of precautions can we do to prevent these unfortunate effects from happening?
In general, organic and pure star anise is relatively safe to use for everyone and is not a product get worried at. There are reports though that some people are allergic to it, which is acceptable since not everyone has similar physiological make-up and current health condition. So before succumbing to the product do an allergic test first to determine whether you are allergic or not to the star anise product. If in case you have already taken it, do not try to use it again if you have acquired an allergic reaction.
There is another risk that you might come across with star anise. Star anise has a sibling who is quite similar to how it tastes and what it looks like. This is called the Japanese star anise. The problem with the Japanese star anise is the level of toxicity it has. Its toxicity level is considered not safe for human consumption.
Written by Ansley Hill on October 12, 2018
Star Anise: Benefits, Uses, and Potential Risks