Star anise, commonly called star anise, star aniseed, or Chinese star anise is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum, a medium-sized native evergreen tree of northeast Vietnam and southwest China. The star-shaped fruits are harvested just before ripening. Star anise oil is a highly fragrant oil using in cooking, perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams
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 includeestragol, 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.