Anise/Star Anise (Hui Xiang)
Botanical Name: Western – Pimpinella anisum. Eastern – Illicium verum.
Anise, also called aniseed, is widely cultivated to flavor food and drinks. It is especially popular in the Mediterranean where it is native. Star anise (Illicium verum) is an evergreen plant from a different family, though it has similar properties and flavor as anise. Anise is a useful carminative, reducing flatulence, it is used by many cultures as digestive after feasting. Due to its estrogen-like properties, it can also help reduce menopausal symptoms. It is also used to fight lice, and help increase lactation.
Below is an overview of Anise/Star Anise (Hui Xiang), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Anise/Star Anise (Hui Xiang).
Western Name: Anise / Star Anise
Also Known As: Aniseed
Organs/Systems: Stomach, Reproductive System, Lung, Bladder, Skin
Key Actions: Expectorant, Aphrodisiac, Diuretic, Antidepressant, Antibacterial, Antifungal, Anti-inflammatory, Carminative, Sedating, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Decongestant, Cordial, Antirheumatic
Medicinal Uses: Upset stomach, menstrual cramping, increase lactation, seizures, asthma, cough, insomnia, congestion, constipation, increase flow of urine, lice, scabies, psoriasis, depression, postpartum depression, cholera, diarrhea, fungal skin disorders, menopausal disorders, balances blood sugar, prevents bone loss, insomnia, lice, scabies. Flavor for drinks and teas.
Pin Yin: Hui Xiang (the same word can also be used to mean anise, aniseed, and fennel), Ba Jiao Hui Xiang (star anise)
Also Known As: Da Hui Xiang
Meridians: Spleen, Stomach, Kidney, Liver
Key Actions: Tonify Qi, Tonify Yang, Warms the Interior, Expels Cold
Medicinal Uses: Increase appetite, arthritis, joint pain, stomach cramping, acute or chronic constipation, abdominal pain due to Cold, hernia, lumbago, vomiting, nausea, menstrual cramping.
Anise is a flowering herbaceous annual plant in the dill family, Apiaceae. It can grow to 3 feet or more tall. The leaves at the base of the plant are simple, long, and shallowly lobed, the leaves that are higher up on the stems are feathery pinnate. The flowers are white and grow in umbels. The fruit is an oblong dry schizocarp, called aniseed.
Aniseed is native to the eastern Mediterranean region and Southwest Asia. Star anise (Illicium verum) is the star shaped fruit of a tree that is a member of the magnolia family (Schisandraceae), native to southern China and Indochina.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Seed (fruit), Oil, Root, Leaf
Flavors/Temps: Sweet, Pungent, Aromatic, Warm
Caution: Generally considered safe to use. People allergic to plants similar to anise (asparagus, caraway, cumin, dill, fennel, coriander, and celery), may experience allergic reactions.
History/Folklore: Anise was first cultivated in Egypt and the Middle East and then brought to Europe as a medicine. The seeds were so valuable in the East that they were often used to pay taxes. Among other ailments the seeds have been used to treat digestive issues, low libido, and contribute to healthy levels of neuro-chemicals in the brain.
The ancient Romans often served spiced cakes with aniseed called mustaceoe at the end of feasts as a digestive. It is this tradition of serving cake at the end of feasts that is the basis for serving wedding cake at weddings.
Pliny the Elder, considered anise as a cure for sleeplessness, a useful breath freshener, and when mixed with wine, a remedy for asp bites.
The English herbalist, John Gerard, said “The seed wasteth and consumeth winde, and is good against belshings and upbraidings of the stomacke, alaieth gripings of the belly, provoketh urine gently, maketh abundance of milke, and stirreth up bodily lust: it staieth the laske (diarrhea), and also the white flux (leukorrhea) in women.”
The constituents thymol, terpineol, and anethole contribute to the seeds and oil to treat pectoral disorders and coughs. Used as a lozenge the seeds are an effective expectorant. A tea made from the seeds can help soothe bronchial irritations. A gargle made from the tea can relieve sore throat, laryngitis, or pharyngitis. Aniseed oil used in a vaporizer it effective to clear congestion and coughs. A paste made from the seeds can be applied to the forehead, neck or temples to relieve headaches and migraines.
Star anise (Illicium verum) is indigenous to northern China and widely used in South Asian, Southwest Asian, and East Asian cooking. Star anise is considerably less expensive to produce than anise (P. anisum). It is a key ingredient in the Mexican dish atole de anis and champurrado, which is similar to hot chocolate. In Pakistan and India it is used as a digestive after dinner.
In Oriental medicine star anise (Illicium verum), is commonly used with aloe vera (Lui Hui) to treat acute or chronic constipation. The herbs pungent flavor is recognized as being able to aid the circulation of Qi (Energy) and Body Fluids. Research on star anise has revealed it contains a compound shikimic acid, which is a primary precursor in the pharmaceutical synthesis of the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu). The herb is also popularly an ingredient in the famous Five-spice powder blend popular in many Asian dishes. Medicinally 3 to 6 g are used in decoction, pill, powdered form.
The chemical constituents in anise may have estrogen-like effects.
Anethole, a compound found in anise, is a key ingredient in anise essential oil, making up 80-90% of the oil.
In foods, anise is used as a flavoring agent. It resembles the flavor of black licorice and is commonly used in alcohols, liqueurs, breath fresheners, and candies. Anise is used to flavor Greek Ouzo, Italian Sambuca, Bulgarian Mastika, French Absinthe, Anisette, and Sastis, and Turkish Raki.
The seeds can be ground or used whole for bread-making.
The name “anise” is derived via the Old French from the Latin word anisum, referring to dill.
Anise is also used as a fragrance in soaps, creams, perfumes, and sachets.
Want Anise/Star Anise (Hui Xiang)?
Here are some options…
Anetole, Estragole, Acetopheone, Limonene, Pinene, Protein (18%), Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Calcium, Manganese, Zinc, Potassium, Copper, Riboflavin, Niacin, Thiamin, Thymol, Terpineol, Anethole.
A paste can even be used to treat lice and scabies.
It is said drinking one glass of water infused with the crushed seeds each night can increase a persons sec drive.
Anise has a distinct licorice taste and is often used to add flavor to drinks and desserts.
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