Star anise – properties and uses. What does it have in common with anise?

Star anise – properties and uses.  What does it have in common with anise?

Star anise is the fruit of a tree of the Schisandra family called badian. Anise is a spice that has been valued for many centuries and has many health-promoting properties. The first mentions of the properties and use of star anise date back to ancient times. The anise plant (so-called anise) from the Apiaceae family has equally valuable properties. Despite their common name, these plants have slightly different uses in cooking and natural medicine.

  • Star anise – the fruit of an evergreen tree from the Schisandra family
  • The use of star anise and its medicinal properties
  • Biedrzeniec anise – an annual plant from the Apiaceae family
  • The use of anise and its medicinal properties
  • Anise – storage
  • Star anise and anise – precautions

Star anise and anise are famous for their many health-promoting properties, including: in oriental cuisine. These plants differ in appearance, but they have similar effects on the human body. It is worth learning more about star anise and star anise, thanks to which we can easily use the unique medicinal properties of these plants, as well as add flavor and aroma to dishes and baked goods prepared every day and on special occasions.

Star anise – the fruit of an evergreen tree from the Schisandra family

The anise fruit (star anise, star anise, star anise, Lllicium verum Hook. F) comes from southeast Asia. We recognize it by its very characteristic shape, usually an eight-pointed star. Dried anise stars are a very popular spice, among others. for cakes and desserts, as well as warming teas and some alcoholic beverages, e.g. mulled beer, mulled wine and liqueurs.

Anise stars are fruits obtained from the badian tree. This tree has light green, leathery and broadly lanceolate leaves. During the flowering period, the badian is covered with white-yellowish or greenish-white flowers, which, after pollination, produce star-shaped fruits. Inside the anise fruit there are oval-shaped anise seeds.

The Japanese badian, related to the badian, also produces similar fruits (Japanese anise, Lllicium anisatum L.). Japanese anise is slightly smaller and does not have a characteristic smell. Moreover, it is a poisonous plant that is used, among others, poison for rats and other pests. Spice producers sometimes add poisonous badian to star anise – at least several cases of poisoning with Japanese badian, which was found in batches of star anise, have been confirmed. If we know the taste and aroma of star anise, we will certainly not confuse it with Japanese anise. The essential oil is responsible for the unique taste and aroma of star anise – anise oil. Dried star anise and ground dried anise are available in the spice section of supermarkets and in herbal stores.

The use of star anise and its medicinal properties

Star anise is an aromatic spice that has a specific, sharp and at the same time sweetish taste. It is traditionally used not only in oriental cuisine, but also in European cuisine for baking, meat dishes and various drinks. Anise gives a unique flavor, among others: gingerbread and spiced cookies, compotes of dried apples, plums and pears, and can also be used, for example, for bigos and roasts. Its unique taste and aroma are associated with, among others, with Christmas dishes and warming drinks, e.g. tea with spices, mulled wine and mulled beer.

Star anise contains minerals, e.g. calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc, as well as vitamin A and vitamin C.

Anise is often added to difficult to digest dishes, e.g. bigos and fatty meats, because it has a beneficial effect on the functioning of the digestive system. Star anise has antibacterial effect, relaxes the smooth muscles of the intestines, improves the functioning of the digestive system organs, reducing e.g. indigestion and flatulence, and has an expectorant effect. Moreover, the fruit of the fruit improves the absorption of nutrients from the food consumed, increases the secretion of gastric juice, has antifungal and analgesic properties, and improves metabolism.

Star anise is also used in the pharmaceutical industry, perfume industry and cosmetics industry. Due to its pleasant smell, the essential oil obtained from anise is often found in men’s and women’s perfumes. Anise oil can also be found in skin and hair care cosmetics.

Biedrzeniec anise – an annual plant from the Apiaceae family

Biedrzeniec anise (anise, anise, Pimpinella anisum L.) is a plant found in the Mediterranean region. Anise has been known in Europe since the 9th century – then it began to be cultivated in the royal gardens of Charlemagne.

The anise plant is an annual plant that grows to about 50 cm in height. In July, it produces white flowers gathered in umbels, and in August it begins to bear fruit, producing small fruits with a pleasant anise scent and a sweet and slightly spicy taste.

The composition of anise includes, among others: magnesium, iron, calcium, potassium and zinc as well as B vitamins, vitamin C and vitamin A.

The use of anise and its medicinal properties

Anise is most often used as an addition to confectionery and alcoholic beverages. Like star anise, anise fruit contains essential oil with expectorant, carminative and antispasmodic properties.

Biedrzeniec anise has healing properties for which star anise is also famous. It also has a similar use in the kitchen – It is a frequently used spice for difficult to digest and flatulent dishes. Anise seed infusion is traditionally used in infants to reduce the symptoms of intestinal colic and to stimulate lactation in breastfeeding women. Due to its positive effect on the digestive system, anise is often an ingredient of herbal teas for digestion, flatulence and indigestion.

Traditionally, anise is also used to lower blood sugar levels. Due to its antiseptic effect, it can be used in various bacterial and viral respiratory diseases, as well as in fungal infections.

To improve the functioning of the digestive system, anise can be used as a substitute for fennel, which has a similar taste and health-promoting properties. Some sources prove the effectiveness of aniseed in relieving migraine headaches and symptoms related to chronic stress and excessive nervous tension.

Anise – storage

Star anise and other spices should be stored in a dry and dark place, in a tightly closed container.

Star anise and anise – precautions

Both star anise and anise are used primarily as an aromatic spice. The fruits of the anise plant and the anise plant are a valuable source of anise oil, the main ingredient of which is anethole. Due to their intense flavor, anise and anise are used in small amounts. You should know that too frequent use of these aromatic spices may cause disorders in the functioning of the body.

Improper use of anise oil is particularly dangerous to health. Large doses of anise oil taken orally may cause, among others:

  • kidney damage,

  • brain congestion,

  • internal bleeding.

The use of anise oil may also cause irritation of the gastrointestinal mucosa.

The use of anise oil orally should be consulted with a doctor. Both anise oil and the fruits of the anise plant and the anise plant may cause allergic reactions.


  • E. Lamber-Zarawska, B. Kowal-Gierczak, J. Niedworok, Phytotherapy and plant medicines, PZWL Publishing House, Warsaw, 2014

  • Aj Sarwa, The Great Lexicon of Medicinal Plants, Book and Wiedza Publishing House, Warsaw, 2001

  • B. Kuźnicka, M. Dziak, Herbs and their use. History and the present – 3rd revised edition, National Medical Publishing House PZWL, Warsaw, 1984

  • İlhami Gülçın, Münir Oktay, Ekrem Kıreçcı, Ö.İrfan Küfrevıoǧlu, Screening of antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of anise (Pimpinella anisum L.) seed extracts, Food Chemistry, 2003, 83(3), pp. 371-382

  • Romilde Iannarelli, Oliviero Marinelli, Maria Beatrice Morelli, Giorgio Santoni, Consuelo Amantini, Massimo Nabissi, Filipp oMaggi, Aniseed (Pimpinella anisum L.) essential oil reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines and stimulates mucus secretion in primary airway bronchial and tracheal epithelial cell lines, Industrial Crops and Products, 2018, 114, pp. 81-86

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