star anise (Illicium verum) (from China)
In 1 Tablespoon, there is 4% DV fiber, 2% protein, 4% calcium, 2% vitamin C, 12% iron. (based on a 2,000 calorie diet) (8)
For inflammations of respiratory tract & relief from peptic discomfort. It helps soothe coughs, cures bronchitis, & calms spasms of the GI tract & cramps. Three grams is the recommended dosage (1) Japanese star anise (I. anisatum) : one source says it is antibacterial, carminative, diuretic, odontalgic, stimulant, and stomachic (11) but two other sources say it is toxic, so I would avoic Japanese star anise (see CAUTION).
Star anise seed is the fruit of an evergreen tree native to China. Medicinal preparations are made by grinding fresh, ripe seeds. (1)
Has a licorice flavor. Both pod & seeds are used. Use in soups, marinades, & spice mixtures. Star anise is one of the spices used in 5-spice powder. (2)
It is the main ingredient in an anti-viral drug that helps fight bird flu symptoms. (7)(9) The tree is grown almost exclusively in China, indo-China, & Japan. (10)
26' tall tree. Propagated by seed. The fruits are harvested before they ripen, then sun-dried. (10) Soil pH 6.0. Poor light, dry, well-drained soil. (5) Grows in mild upland areas where temperatures rarely exceeds 68 degrees F. Requires well-drained, acidic soil & filtered sunlight. Needs ample water. May take over 5 years to flower but it's long-lived. (12)
Commercial star anise seeds may be adulterated with a poisonous seed, similar but slightly smaller & darker, of another plant. These have a sharp & bitter odor, resembling cadamom. (4)
The Chinese star anise is considered safe, but the Japanese star anise (I. anisatum) contains sikimitoxin & is toxic. Once they are dried, they are not easily distinguishable. (1)(6)
1) Armstrong, David. Herbs that Work: Based on the German Government's Commission E Report. Berkely, CA: Ulysses Press, 2001.
2) Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Publishing, 2007.
4) Lust, John. The Herb Book. NY, NY: Bantam Books, 1974.
5) Kowalchik, Claire & William Hylton (editors). Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press, 1998.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH
Chinese Wings: either take the skin off the wings or use another part of the chicken instead & take off the skin. Recipe at http://www.recipes4us.co.uk/BBQs/chinese_wings____cd___pic___110m.htm