Star anise, Illicium verum, is a medium-sized evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China. It is widely grown for commercial use in China, India, and most other countries in Asia. A spice commonly called Star Anise, Staranise, Star Anise Seed, Chinese Star Anise, or Badiam.
Anise helps improve digestion, alleviate cramps and reduce nausea. Consuming star anise tea after meals helps treat digestive ailments such as bloating, gas, indigestion and constipation.
Star anise is commonly used in baking, as well as in liquor production, most distinctively in the production of the liqueur Galliano. It is also used in the production of sambuca, pastis, and many types of absinthe. Star anise enhances the flavour of meat. It is used as a spice in preparation of biryani and masala chai all over the Indian subcontinent. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and in Malay and Indonesian cuisines. Star anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of Chinese cooking. It is also a major ingredient in the making of phở, a Vietnamese noodle soup.
The oil produced from star anise contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which is used for treating cough and flu. Despite its sweetness, star anise traditionally is used in savory recipes, particularly with meats. It often is added whole to soups, stews and braising broths, to which it adds a sweet-licorice-peppery flavor.
It is also used in the French recipe of mulled wine, called vin chaud (hot wine). If allowed to steep in coffee, it deepens and enriches the flavor. The pods can be used in this manner multiple times by the pot-full or cup, as the ease of extraction of the taste components increases with the permeation of hot water.