Star anise (Illicium verum) fruits. Note for rust-red color husk. The seeds are encased inside the husk.
Star anise (Illicium verum) is the spicy fruit, obtained from evergreen tree native of South-West China. It has similar flavor and taste like that of anise seed. The tree bears star-shaped fruits, which turn rust-red color when ripen and envelope inside amber-colored seeds. Both the seed as well as the husks are used as spice in cooking.
Health benefits of anise
- Exotic anise spice contains some of the important plants derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
- The chief component that gives the characteristic sweet, aromatic flavor to anise is anethole, the essential volatile oil present in the seeds. Other important compounds found in these seeds include estragol, p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, acetophenone, pinene and limonene.
- Anise seed oil obtained from extraction of the seeds is found application in many traditional medicines as stomachic, anti-septic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic.
- The seeds are an excellent source of many essential B-complex vitamins such as pyridoxine, niacin, riboflavin, and thiamin. Pyridoxine (vitamin B-6) helps increase GABA neuro-chemical levels in the brain.
- The spicy seeds are the great source of minerals like calcium, iron, copper, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. 100 g dry seeds contain 36.96 mg or 462% daily required levels of iron. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure.
- Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome C-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Copper is also required in the production of red blood cells.
- The spice also contains good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A.