Illicium verum, or star anise as it is popularly known, is a plant used since ancient times to relieve bloating, gas, as a natural antibiotic and many other uses. The truth is that it should be consumed in moderation, since it can trigger neurological poisoning and gastrointestinal affections.
Silver is native to the East, although it has now spread around the world. There is scientific evidence of antioxidant, antimicrobial, expectorant, analgesic and sedative properties.
The specialist in integrated medicine and cardiologist, Juan Ignacio Veller, explains in a talk on his channel Youtubewith more than 4 million followers, that star anise is used as an expectorant, for digestion and to boost the immune system.
However, he warns that the antioxidant property of star anise is the one with the most scientific evidence. For Veller, although there are studies on the scientific properties of star anise, they are not compelling enough.
Types of anise
There are several types of anise, the “green anise” or “anise seed” that comes from Pimpinella anisum L, which is used as a home remedy and in cooking.
While “star anise” comes from I. verum, star-shaped with 6 to 8 carpels. Both species contain anethole, which gives it antispasmodic, carminative and expectorant properties.
A scientific study reveals that although anise is consumed in tea, “the lack of control in the presentation and marketing of this active ingredient makes dosage difficult and encourages abusive intake, which can cause adverse reactions.”
Other study reveals that the consumption of anise in high concentrations “can be toxic, mainly at a neurological level.”
This is because I. verum contains other “neurotoxic sesquiterpene-type compounds, the so-called veranisatins A, B and C2”.
Symptoms of star anise poisoning are: irritability, tremors, vertical nystagmus, myoclonus, abnormal movements and vomiting.
Contraindications of “Japan star anise”
A third type of anise is Illicium anisatum L, known as “Japanese star anise,” which contains anisatins, “much more neurotoxic compounds” than star anise.
Dr. Veller explains that this Japanese anise is difficult to differentiate from star anise, so he recommends purchasing it safely in stores and supermarkets, reading the label carefully and consuming it in moderation.
How to prepare star anise infusion
Veller gives some recommendations when preparing star anise tea, such as explaining that the safe dose, according to experts, would be one star anise per 200 milliliters of water.
The way to prepare anise tea is to place water in a pot, add one anise star for every 200 milliliters of water, and do not let it boil for more than 4 minutes. Boiling the anise will allow its properties to be extracted, but after 4 minutes it could release the veranisatins.
Another use of star anise is to chew one of the carpels after meals, since it is associated with better digestion.
Dr. Veller highlights the importance of consuming Chinese star anise, never Japanese; buy it in a safe place, do not boil it for more than 4 minutes, prevent children from consuming it and do not consume more than one anise star per day.
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