Tamil Name - அண்ணாசி பூ - Annasi Poo
Illicium verum is a medium-sized evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China. A spice commonly called star anise, star anise seed, Chinese star anise or badiam that closely resembles anise in flavor is obtained from the star-shaped pericarp of the fruit of Illicium verum which are harvested just before ripening. Star anise oil is a highly fragrant oil used in cooking, perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams. About 90% of the world's star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, a chemical intermediate used in the synthesis of oseltamivir.
Health benefits of anise
Exotic anise spice holds some of the important plants derived chemical compounds that are known to have been antioxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
The primary essential volatile oil that gives the characteristic sweet, aromatic flavor to anise seed is anethole. Other important compounds found in these grains include estragol, p-anisaldehyde, anise alcohol, acetophenone, pinene, and limonene.
Anise seed oil obtained from extraction of the seeds has been found application in many traditional medicines as a stomachic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic agent.
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 neurochemical levels in the brain.
The spicy seeds are one of the important 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 for the production of red blood cells.
The spice also contains good amounts of anti-oxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A.
Anise seed as well its oil found application in many traditional medicines for their unique health promoting and disease preventing roles.
Anise preparations are an excellent remedy for asthma, bronchitis cough as well as digestive disorders such as flatulence, bloating, colicky stomach pain, nausea, and indigestion.
The essential oil "anethole" (anise seeds comprises 75 - 90%) has been found to have the estrogenic effect. The decoction obtained from the seeds often prescribed in the nursing mothers to promote breast-milk production.
Anise seed water is very helpful in relieving running nose condition in infants.
Its seeds chewed after the meal in India and Pakistan to refresh post-meal mouth breath