5 Surprising Benefits of Star Anise Tea

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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Drinking star anise tea is a tried and trusted way to improve your health in a variety of ways.

What is Star Anise Tea?

Star anise tea is a delicious warm beverage brewed with the fruit of the star anise tree, which is scientifically known as Illicium verum. This tree is native to Asia, specifically in regions of China and Vietnam. Although many people think the tea is brewed with the seeds of this plant, the star-shaped elements with which you brew your tea are actually the hard pericarps of the tree’s fruit. It is easy to mix up the shape and flavor of star anise with aniseed, but they are distinct species and ingredients in a tea. There are multiple variations of star anise, including one that should solely be used for incense, and can be toxic if consumed.

Star anise tea has been a trusted component of Chinese medicine for thousands of years, thanks to its high concentration of organic acids, antioxidants, and other active compounds that deliver a myriad of health benefits.

How to Make Star Anise Tea?

Making star anise tea at home is quite simple, and the ingredients are very easy to find!

A flat-lay picture of star anise tea surrounded by star anise spices and a red table clock

Spicy Star Anise Tea

The star anise tea carries the flavor of the spice. You can adjust the amount according to your taste and add a little honey to sweeten it. 
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Course: Tea
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: star anise tea
Appliance: Tea infuser, Kettle
Cook Time: 5 minutes
Steeping Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 3 cups
Author: Paromita Datta

Ingredients

  • 5-6 star anise fruits
  • 3 cups water
  • 1-2 tsp honey

Instructions

  • Grind up the star anise fruits, but don't powder them.
  • Add the crushed fruits to a tea infuser.
  • Fill the infuser with boiling water.
  • Add the honey for flavor.
  • Cover the infuser and steep for 10 minutes before serving.
    Star anise tea in a cup and anise kept around the cup

Notes

Generally speaking, you should not consume more than 3-4 cups of this tea per day, for fear of potential toxicity or side effects.

Star Anise Tea Benefits

Star anise has many benefits, including its impact on the digestive system and immune system, cold and cough, weight issues, and chronic diseases, among others.

Boosts Immune System

This herb has strong antibacterial effects, even on antibiotic-resistant strains of infections, making it a great ally of your immune system.

Relieves Respiratory Issues

Anti-inflammatory properties help this tea soothe respiratory tissues, soothing sore throats and easing painful coughs.

Aids in Digestion

A cup of this tea is often consumed after dinner because it is known to speed the digestive process and prevent excess flatulence.

Anticancer Potential

The antioxidant content in star anise is impressively high, meaning that it can prevent oxidative stress. According, to an animal study published in Chemico-Biological Interactions, star anise was found to lower oxidative stress and exhibit antitumor effects against cancer cells. However, more studies and clinical trials are required to support the findings.

Maintains Hormonal Balance

Affecting both men and women, this tea can increase virility in men, as well as regulate menstruation and lessen menstrual symptoms in women.

Star Anise Tea Side Effects

Despite those many benefits, there are some risks to drinking this tea, particularly if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Women in this condition should avoid this tea.

  • Allergies: There are many people who are allergic to star anise and can have severe allergic reactions when exposed. Inflammation and irritation will occur with topical use, while moderate to severe gastrointestinal issues can occur when consumed.
  • Hormonal Shift: Due to the impact that this tea can have on your hormones, it is not recommended for anyone suffering from thyroid disorders or other issues related to hormones in the body.

The powerful effects of this tea also mean that it can interact with other medications. Speak with your doctor before adding this tea to your health regimen.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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