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Image by Mae Mu

Star Anise

botanical name: Illicium verum

Initially known for its distinct flavour in culinary dishes, star anise is particularly useful for stagnant digestion and fighting off viruses.

Key Features:

- supports healthy digestion & bloating

- antiviral properties

- balances hormone levels

What does it do?

Digestion: as a carminative, star anise helps support various gastrointestinal issues. It contains natural compounds that promote the secretion of digestive enzymes, easing digestion and reducing symptoms such as bloating, gas, and indigestion.

Immune system: rich in potent bioactive compounds like shikimic acid, star anise exhibits strong antiviral properties. It has been traditionally used to combat viral infections and this compound has actually been isolated for use in the flu vaccine 'tamiflu', helping to reduce the spread of the virus in the body. It is also packed full of antioxidants that help strengthen the immune system even further.

Hormone levels: star anise contains compounds that have been shown to help regulate hormone levels in the body. Its estrogenic properties make it beneficial for women experiencing hormonal imbalances, such as menstrual irregularities or menopausal symptoms.

Lactation support: in traditional medicine, star anise has been used as a galactagogue, promoting lactation in nursing mothers. Its lactogenic properties stimulate the production and flow of breast milk.

 

Mild sedative: the aromatic compounds found in star anise possess mild sedative properties, making it useful for promoting relaxation and easing stress and anxiety.

Image by Uliana Kopanytsia

Active Constituents

Shikimic acid, 

antioxidants,

volatile oils

Parts Used

Pericarp,

Fruit,

Leaves,

Seed,

Root

Herbal Actions

Antioxidant

Antiviral

Carminative

Galactagogue

Sedative

Tonic

Applications

Teas,

Tinctures,

Syrups,

Oils,

Aromatherapy

Precautions

Generally considered safe. Star anise is sometimes contaminated with Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum), which contains toxic compounds that can cause serious health issues. Avoid large, medicinal amounts during pregnancy.

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