Star anise plant
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE STAR ANISE
Common English name: Star anise, star anise seed, Chinese anise, Chinese star anise, badiam
Common name in other languages:
- Spanish / Castellano: Badiana or badianero, badián, badiana de la China (plant); anís de estrella, anís estrellado (fruit).
- Catalan / Català: Badiana (plant), anís estelat, anís d'estrella (fruit)
- Galician / Galego: Estrela de anis, anis estrelado
- Portuguese / Português: Estrela de anis, anis estrelado
- Basque / Euskara: Anis-belar txinar
- Italian / Italiano: Badiana della China, anice stellato
- French / Français: Badiane de Chine, anís étoilé
- German / Deutsch: Chinesischer Steranis
- Dutch / Nederlands: Steranijs
- Danish / Dansk: Stjerneanis
- Polish/ Polski: Badian właściwy
- Norwegian /Norsk bokmål: Stjerneanis
- Finnish /Suomi: Rusotähtianis
- Swedish /Svenska: Stjärnanis
- Turkish / Türkçe: Yıldız anason, Çin yıldız anasonu
- Русский / Russian: Кака́о, Шокола́дное де́рев
Etymology: the term badiana comes from the Latin " badius ", which refers to the brown color of the fruits of the plant. Badiana refers to the plant that produces star anise, which is popularly used as a spice.
The spice, the star anise, shares the anise name with the common anise, since they have a similar fragrance because both are rich in anethole in their essential oil. The star-shaped adjective alludes to the shape of its carpels, in a shape that resembles a star.
Scientific name: Illicium verum Hook
Etymology: The genus Illicium comes from the Latin "illicere", which means to excite, due to the intense aroma of the fruits of this plant.
Origin: plant native to southwest China and Cochinchina.
Habitat: native to southern China, in Yunnan province.
Distribution: Buddhists took the badiana to Japan, where it can still be found today in many Buddhist temples. It grows wild or cultivated in China, Korea, Japan, Java, Philippines and the USA.
Description of Star Anise
Star aise or badiam (Illicium verum) is a perennial shrub of low height, that can measure between 2 and 5 meters.
The bark of the trunk is pale and its branches are erect.
The flowers are solitary. They have 15 to 20 petals of yellowish green or pink, arranged in a spiral.
Inside each carpel there is a seed, oval, flat, shiny and hard.
The fruit has an aroma that resembles the common anise, due to this, both spices share their wealth in anetol.
Important Note: adulteration of star anise
Star anise should not be confused with Japanese star anise or Japanese badiam (Illicium religiosum = Illicium anisatum); In this case, it is a toxic plant that should not be used in food or as a remedy.
Parts of the plant used of star anise
- Fruit: the fruit is edible and it is used in food as a culinary spice and medicinal plant.
Uses of star anise
Composition of star anise
The composition of the star anise mainly emphasizes its richness in aromatic components. Chemically, these components are terpenes, monoterpenes or sesquiterpenes, and are manufactured by plants as a natural defense. For example, eugenol is an insecticidal component and is a defense mechanism of the plant against its predators.
In medicinal practice, these compounds exert different effects on the body, which phytotherapy has historically collected in its traditional remedies.
Essential oil of star anise
Essential oil of star anise (5-8%) contains: Anethole (80-90%), estragole, limonene, caryophyllene, cineole, feniculin, linalool, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpinene, p-cymol, beta-farnesol, bisabolene, alpha-terpinene.
Aromatic compounds are present in the essential oil of the plant:
Among all the components of the plant, the most abundant is anethole.
It is used to treat cramps, pain caused by cramps and in confectionery, as a sweetener and flavor.
Estragole is the second most abundant component in this aromatic spice. Estragole or methyl-chavicol is found in abundance in basil, and in essential oil of tarragon. It has some toxic effect on the nervous system when taken in excess or in essential oil. In small doses, it is digestive.
- Organic acids: protocatechuic acid, shikimic acid and quinic acid.
- Carbohydrates: Starch
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This material is for informational purposes only. In case of doubt, consult the doctor.