A highly fragrant spice, Anise Star comes from a medium-sized native evergreen tree of northeast Vietnam and southwest China. The spice is obtained by drying the star-shaped fruits from the evergreen, and is a common ingredient in Asian cuisine and the principal component of Chinese five-spice powder.
Named after its star-like shape, this spice is commonly called star anise, aniseseed, or Chinese anise. And although not related, it closely resembles anise in flavor. It is used in cooking, perfumery, soaps, toothpastes, mouthwashes, and skin creams.
Where It Comes From: Primary grown in China.
Aphrodisiac? Anise Star, like licorice, is believed to build stamina and energy, to stimulate the libido and increase sexual desire, and its aroma is particularly stimulating for women.
Nutrition: Anise is known to improve digestion, flu symptoms, asthma, and insomnia.
Storage: Like most spices, the herb should be stored in a tightly sealed container in a dark, cool place and will last about one – two years.
Where to Buy It: You can buy organic Anise Star from Amazon, and you can find star anise in Asian markets and most supermarkets.
Note: Try to buy star anise whole, with few or no broken arms so it will keep longer.