Ingredient Name:  Star Anise
Traditional Chinese Name:  八角 (bā jiǎo)
What is this?
  • Star anise is a star-shaped spice commonly used in Asian cooking
  • Also known as illicium verum, it is a star shaped fruit from an evergreen tree that is native to China and harvested from March to May
  • It is very popular and is one of the spices in Chinese “five-spice powder” and in Pho vietnamese soup
  • Similar to its cousin anise, the star anise has a strong licorice flavour and only a few are needed to spice an entire pot of soup

How do I prepare it?

  • These is no preparation required for this dried spice

Where can I buy this?

  • Star anise is a moderately priced spice and can be purchased in most Asian grocery stores and some Western supermarkets

Any substitutes?

  • Anise seeds / oil
  • Fennel seeds
  • Licorice
  • Chinese five-spice powder

Any benefits?

  • Star anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for colic and rheumatism
  • The seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion

Any precautions?

  • Chinese star anise should not be mistaken with Japanese star anise which is highly toxic and may cause severe inflammation of the kidneys, urinary tract and digestive organs
  • Some parents believe star anise to be a remedy for colic is children.   However, there are studies disputing this who claim it is actually dangerous for children.