The science behind the potential health benefits

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Star anise contains various compounds that may confer health benefits. Here’s where it falls in many crucial categories, according to science.

Nutrition

Star anise does not have much nutritional content in the amounts you would eat. It has zero calories, protein, fat, carbohydrates, and sodium.

That said, it’s a great source of plant compounds which can contribute to health, such as flavonoids, polyphenols, shikimic acid, linalool and gallic acid.

Antifungal

A laboratory study 2010 looked at the antifungal properties of star anise on a type of fungi that attack plants. During the study, the researchers found that star anise essential oil exhibited a potent inhibitory effect against the fungi tested, meaning that it may prevent fungal growth and the resulting adverse effects on them. plants.

The results of this research may suggest that star anise has potential as a preservative for fruits and vegetables, but human applications require further research.

Antibacterial

In addition to its antifungal properties, star anise also has antibacterial properties.

A laboratory study 2010 tested star anise against over 50 drug resistant bacteria. Researchers found that star anise exhibited substantial antibacterial properties. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any more recent investigation into this effect, although the authors suggest their work may pave the way for star anise as a component of antibiotic drugs.

Antiviral

Star anise seems to be a triple threat because it also has antiviral properties. In fact, you can find star anise in Tamiflu®, an antiviral medicine for influenza A and influenza B. This medicine uses a molecule called shikimic acid, derived from star anise. Thus, this little star is already benefiting the health industry.

Antioxidant

Antioxidants play an important role in preventing cell damage and can help protect the body against disease, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, and cataracts.

A laboratory study 2012 looked at the chemical extracts of star anise and found that two of them, flavonoids and polyphenols, may have mild antioxidant properties. Although more recent research is lacking, it appears that star anise is a potential source of natural antioxidants.

Anti-inflammatory

A Analysis 2021 performed on mice found that star anise has anti-inflammatory properties. Although the study focused on inflammation of the mouth, the authors suggest that star anise also reduces information in the smooth muscles of the mouse gut.

Again, large-scale, quality research is lacking, and although star anise shows potential, more research is needed before any solid conclusions can be drawn.

Cardiovascular health

If you have high levels of fat in your blood, you could develop atherosclerosis. In this condition, the walls of the arteries develop fatty plaques that restrict blood flow. These plaques affect the body’s ability to pump blood and increase blood pressure. Atherosclerosis, if left untreated, can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

A 2015 study in mice found that the anti-inflammatory properties of star anise may help prevent atherosclerosis. However, more testing on different species is needed to see if there really is a benefit.

Lower blood sugar

Diabetes is a potentially serious disease associated with high blood sugar. If someone has too much sugar in their blood, it can cause serious health problems like heart disease, stroke, and vision and nerve problems.

A 2018 study on yeast cells discovered that star anise may have anti-diabetic properties due to its polyphenols. These beneficial plant compounds can help manage blood pressure, maintain healthy blood vessels, and promote good circulation.

However, since this was a study on yeast cells, it is difficult to conclude how valuable this effect would be in humans. Therefore, more research is needed to see if adding star anise to diabetes prevention or recovery plans would be beneficial.

Skin health

Star anise can potentially offer certain benefits to the skin, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.

A little Analysis 2021 Using 50 participants, it was found that a star anise mouthwash significantly decreases the number of bacteria in the mouth. The authors concluded that star anise has potent antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties.

As bacteria and inflammation lead to skin conditions like acne, star anise could potentially be beneficial for certain skin conditions. Researchers explored this effect in a Study 2021 who tested star anise extract on mice. They suggest that it has potential for use in skin infections due to its antimicrobial properties.

Plus, as a botanical astringent, star anise contracts the skin, which could help improve large pores and skin texture.

Star anise has been a popular spice for centuries. It is used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat many diseases, and current scientific studies seem to support some of these uses.

While you probably won’t eat star anise as is, it’s a tasty addition to many dishes, like soups, stews, drinks, and desserts.

This tiny star-shaped seed has antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. It may also have benefits for the skin, cardiovascular health, and blood sugar. However, one problem is that its strengths have only been shown in laboratory or animal studies, so more research is needed.

Star anise doesn’t seem to have any side effects, but be aware that there is an impostor. Do not confuse it with Japanese star anise, which is poisonous.


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