People often know star anise seed as a spice to use in dishes. However, in fact, star anise has many other beneficial effects on health. Star anise, or Pimpinella anisum, is a family of plants related to carrots, celery, and parsley. It can grow up to 3 feet (1 meter) tall and produce flowers and a small, white fruit called star anise seed. Star anise has a distinct flavor, like licorice and is often used to add flavor to desserts and drinks. Star anise is also known for its health-promoting properties and acts as a natural remedy for a variety of ailments. Here are 5 benefits of star anise seed, backed by science.
Although star anise seeds are often used in relatively small amounts, they contain some important micronutrients in each serving.
In particular, star anise seeds are rich in iron, essential for the production of good blood cells in your body.
Star anise seeds also contain small amounts of manganese, an important mineral that acts as an antioxidant and is necessary for the metabolism and development of the body.
One tablespoon (7 grams) of star anise seeds provides about:
- Calories: 23
- Protein: 1 gram
- Fat: 1 gram
- Carbs: 3 grams
- Fiber: 1 gram
- Iron: 13% of the reference daily intake (RDI)
- Manganese: 7% of the RDI
- Calcium: 4% of the RDI
- Magnesium: 3% of the RDI
- Phosphorus: 3% of the RDI
- Potassium: 3% of the RDI
- Copper: 3% of the RDI
- However, keep in mind that most recipes will probably be less than a tablespoon.
2. Reduce depressive symptoms
Depression is a common but debilitating condition that affects 25% of women and 12% of men worldwide. Interestingly, several studies have shown that anise can help treat depression.
One study found that star anise seed extract had a strong antidepressant effect in rats and was as effective as a popular prescription drug used to treat depression.
Also, in another study in 107 people, taking 3 grams of star anise seed powder three times daily was effective in reducing symptoms of postpartum depression.
Similarly, in a four-week study in 120 people, taking one capsule containing 200 mg of star anise seed extract three times daily significantly reduced symptoms of mild to moderate depression, compared to the no use.
3. Protect against stomach ulcers
Stomach ulcers, which are a sore formed in the stomach lining, cause symptoms like indigestion, nausea and a burning sensation in the chest.
Although traditional treatments often include the use of medication to reduce the amount of acid in the stomach, preliminary research suggests that star anise can help prevent and reduce symptoms of stomach ulcers.
For example, an animal study showed that star anise seed reduces gastric acid secretion, helps prevent stomach ulcers and protects cells from disease.
However, research on the effects of star anise on the gastric ulcers is still limited.
Further studies are needed to understand how star anise can help prevent stomach ulcers in humans.
4. Preventing the growth of fungi and bacteria
In vitro studies have shown that star anise and its compounds have powerful antibacterial properties that help prevent infection and prevent the growth of fungi and bacteria.
An in vitro study has shown that star anise and star anise seed oil are particularly effective against a number of fungal strains, including yeasts and dermatophytes, a fungus that can cause skin diseases.
Anethole, the active ingredient in star anise seeds, also helps inhibit the growth of bacteria.
In another study, anethole blocked the growth of a strain of cholera bacteria, an infection characterized by severe diarrhea and dehydration.
However, more research is needed to see how aniseed can affect the growth of mushrooms and bacteria in humans.
5. Help relieve menopausal symptoms
Menopause is a decline in natural reproductive hormones in women during the aging process, leading to symptoms such as hot flashes, fatigue and dry skin.
Star anise seeds are believed to have estrogen-like effects in the body, potentially reducing menopausal symptoms.
In a four-week study, 72 women with hot flashes due to menopause took placebo or capsules containing 330 mg of aniseed three times daily. People who use star anise seeds have reduced their severity and frequency by nearly 75%.
Certain compounds in star anise seed may also help prevent bone loss, one of the typical symptoms of menopause that occurs due to a decrease in estrogen levels in your body.
One study found that an essential oil composed of 81% anethole, the active ingredient in star anise, helps prevent bone loss and protects against osteoporosis in rats.