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Star Anise Herb And Cooking With Star Anise

Star anise is a type of fruit. It grows in China, Japan and many other countries in Asia. Due to its sweet taste and rich fragrance, it is used as a cooking ingredient for flavoring curries, and for pickling. It has an aniseed like flavor, odor, and taste.

The star anise plant is an evergreen tree named Tillicum Verum. Its height is about 26–49 feet with a diameter of about 10 inches.
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The plant bears solitary flowers that are white or red in color. Its fruit has a star shape and a reddish brown color and it consists of eight carpals or (follicles) which are arranged in a whorl around a short central column. Each follicle present in the fruit is hard, boat-shaped, and wrinkled. The follicles contain a brown seed, which is smooth, shiny, and brittle to touch.

The carpals or follicles have an anise like aroma and taste. It is not usually ground and mostly available in whole form. Star-anise also has a licorice taste due to the presence of a chemical compound which is called anethol. It is one of the five spices which contribute towards the distinctive flavor of Indian and other Asian cuisine.
Uses. Star-anise has many uses, in the kitchen and out of it as well. The fruit is used to obtain a volatile oil which is colorless or pale yellow with an anise oil like odor and aromatic taste. The fatty oil obtained from the star-anise fruit is used as a raw material in the production of soap. The fatty oil extracted from its fruit is also used as an edible oil. It is also used in making perfumes. In many countries it is also used as a mouth freshener. Star-anise is an important ingredient in stews and curries.

Star Anise Spice For Food

In addition to its various uses, star-anise also has many health benefits. It can be applied externally for the treatment of many skin diseases. The fruit is helpful in digestion and is also used to prevent colic in babies. Star-anise is also used to extract Shikimic Acid which is used for making antiviral medicines for the Tami flu and also for the prevention of avian influenza. In addition, it is also used as a diuretic medicine. Star-anise can also be used to cure stomach aches caused by the accumulation of intestinal gas. This versatile fruit also helps in preventing headaches and promoting good health and vitality.
Submitted on January 16, 2014
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