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Star Anise: Benefits, Uses and Recipes

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Spices come in all shapes and sizes, and star anise (Illicium verum Hook.f.)1 is a classic example. Its dark and attractive color and unique star shape makes it stand out from other spices. There’s also research highlighting potential health benefits star anise can offer, making it a spice you should consider adding to your cooking arsenal.

What Is Star Anise?

Star anise grows as dark brown pods with six to eight segments each containing a seed. This spice hails from an evergreen tree plant native to southwest China2 and northeast Vietnam, although it’s also cultivated in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, India and the Philippines.3 Star anise tastes sweet and spicy, but slightly more bitter than Spanish anise. Some chefs use it to provide a licorice flavor for savory dishes.4

Some people think that star anise and anise seed are the same. While both spices contain a substance called anethole,5 their similarities end there. Anise seed belongs to the Apiaceae family,6 while star anise comes from the Illiciaceae family.7 Anise seed is used more in Western dishes, particularly in Greek and French cuisines,8 while star anise is more common in Asian cooking.9

6 Health Benefits of Star Anise

If you’re looking for a flavorful spice with health benefits, star anise might be a good choice. Research has revealed that star anise may:

1. Provide antioxidants for the body — According to a Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry article, star anise extract has potent antioxidant abilities against H2O2-induced cell death and DNA damage.10

2. Help reduce cancer risk — A study published in the journal Chemico-Biological Interactions revealed that animals fed star anise had inhibited cancer development.11 However, more research is needed to show the full extent of this supposed benefit.

3. Exhibit antifungal and antibacterial capabilities — Results showed that star anise extracts and essential oils have antifungal abilities, especially against Candida albicans, a common yeast infection.12

Star anise also has antibacterial properties. Four antimicrobial compounds derived from the spice were effective against nearly 70 strains of drug-resistant bacteria.13

4. Target conditions like influenza and cough — Star anise can help fight influenza because of its shikimic acid content.14 A 2008 study discovered that shikimic acid, together with a plant antioxidant called quercetin, enhanced immune system function and helped protect the body against viral diseases.15 Ingesting star anise may also help relieve cough16 and sore throat.17

5. Improve digestion and dealing with digestive complaints — Star anise tea may help alleviate gas, abdominal cramps,18 indigestion, bloating and constipation.19

6. Address sleep disorders — This spice has mild sedative properties that may aid in calming nerves and ease sleep disorders.20

How to Use Star Anise

Star anise is mainly used for culinary purposes, especially in Chinese, Indian, Malaysian and Singaporean cuisines.21 It can be added to alcoholic and nonalcoholic beverages.22 Star anise is a vital ingredient in Chinese five-spice powder, along with cloves, fennel seeds, Chinese cinnamon and Sichuan peppercorns.23

This spice is also known for its medicinal uses. In traditional Chinese medicine, star anise boasts stimulant and expectorant properties, and may increase libido24 and facilitate proper digestion.25 Research revealed that using star anise tea can help alleviate diseases like colic and arthritis.26

Growing Star Anise at Home

Star anise plants are usually cultivated from cuttings or seeds, and are best grown in USDA zones 7 through 10, in full sun or partial shade.27 According to “Spices: Agrotechniques for Quality Produce,” star anise thrives in warm, subtropical climates, and in places where temperatures don’t dip below 10 degrees F.

When growing star anise at home, start by sowing seeds in pots or containers, or plant them directly outside. Adding 3 inches of compost or aged manure on the ground around the tree during spring can work as your fertilizer, although you can also apply slow release fertilizer during the same season.28

The soil should be humus- and compost-rich, with a loamy29 and well-drained texture, and with a neutral to acidic pH level.30 Water the plant frequently to keep the soil slightly moist. While the plant is young, actively prune it so it can have the appearance of a bush, and remove dead, diseased and weak branches.

A star anise tree takes at least six years to grow from seeds, so you might have to wait for the plant to fully mature. Once the tree is ready, harvest star anise while they’re still green, and then sun-dry them until their color changes to a reddish-brown hue. The seeds can be removed from the pods after.31

Try These Delicious Recipes With Star Anise

You can find whole or ground star anise in Asian supermarkets or spice stores,32 although whole spices are more ideal. Grind whole star anise using a spice grinder or mortar and pestle. Keep unused star anise inside an airtight container in a cool and dark place that isn’t exposed to heat, moisture or sunlight, where it can keep for at least one year.33 If you bought ground star anise powder, use it within six months, or else you’ll end up with a spice that lacks flavor.34

In cooking, star anise is used to enhance the flavors of duck, eggs, fish, leeks, pears, pork, poultry, pumpkin, shrimp or pastry, to name a few.35 It also goes well in soups, just like this carrot soup with star anise recipe:36

Carrot Soup With Star Anise

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons grass fed butter
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onion
  • 6 large fresh thyme sprigs
  • 5 whole star anise, divided
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
  • 2 1-pound bags peeled organic baby carrots
  • 2 cups homemade chicken or bone broth

Procedure

  1. Melt butter in large pot over medium-high heat.
  2. Add onion, thyme, three star anise pods, bay leaves and garlic. Sauté until they soften, for about five minutes.
  3. Add carrots and broth. Bring to boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until carrots are very tender, for about 30 minutes.
  4. Remove and discard thyme sprigs, star anise and bay leaves.
  5. Working in small batches, puree soup in blender until very smooth and return to same pot. Season with salt and pepper. This can be made one day ahead. Cool slightly, cover and chill. Rewarm over low heat before continuing.
  6. Finely grind remaining star anise in spice mill or coffee grinder. Ladle soup into bowls. Sprinkle with ground star anise.

Serving size: 6 to 8

As mentioned, star anise tea may help relieve certain illnesses. If you want to brew your own tea, follow this recipe, which features other healthy ingredients:37

Cinnamon-Star Anise Green Tea Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons (8 grams) medium-size loose-leaf organic green tea or 4 organic green tea bags
  • 1 5-inch cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
  • 8 whole star anise or 1 1/2 tablespoon broken star anise pieces
  • 4 cups boiling water

Procedure

  1. Place tea leaves or tea bags into a prewarmed teapot and set aside.
  2. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise into a 4-cup heatproof measuring cup. Add the boiling water, stir the mixture and infuse for two minutes.
  3. Pour infusion into the teapot. Carefully strain it to prevent the cinnamon and star anise from being added into the teapot. Steep the tea in the spice infusion for two minutes.
  4. Strain the finished brew, place into teacups and serve immediately.

This recipe makes 2 to 4 servings.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes

Total time: 15 minutes

If you haven’t replenished your stock at home, but want its strong licorice flavor in your dishes, here are star anise substitutes you can use:38

  • Anise seed and a pinch of allspice (one crushed star anise is equivalent to one-half teaspoon crushed anise seed)
  • Chinese five-spice powder
  • A few drops of anise extract

Try Star Anise Essential Oil, Too

Star anise seeds can be steam-distilled to produce a pale yellow oil with a licorice-like aroma.39 Their main components are trans-anethole, caryophyllene and limonene.40


Star anise essential oil can be added to aromatherapy blends,41 soaps and perfumes.42 It may aid in relieving bronchitis, colds,43 digestion problems, and painful muscles.44 Combine it with a carrier oil, such as coconut, jojoba, sweet almond or olive oil, before applying topically.

Prior to using, consult your physician and take an allergen patch test to check for potential allergies. Don’t use star anise oil if it’s oxidized or old,45 or before driving or operating machinery or performing activities that need full attention, as it may slow down your reflexes.46

Potential Side Effects of Star Anise

If you fall under these groups, refrain from using the oil or consuming high amounts of star anise altogether:

  • Children below 5 years old
  • Pregnant women
  • People with endometriosis or estrogen-dependent cancers

While there’s information citing star anise’s potential in increasing breastmilk production,47 talk to your physician before using the essential oil or consuming high doses of this spice. It’s said that star anise, as well as other herbs like yarrow, chickweed and buckthorn, may pass through breastmilk and affect your infant.48 One study found that after star anise tea was given to young infants to relieve colic, neurological troubles occurred, with symptoms such as tremors, spasms and vomiting.49

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Bill Gates: Third Shot May Be Needed to Combat Coronavirus Variants

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With more than 40 million Americans having received at least the first dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, a third dose may be needed to prevent the spread of new variants of the disease, Bill Gates told CBS News Tuesday.

Gates’ comments come amid growing concern that the current vaccines are not effective against the more contagious Brazilian and South African variants.

Pfizer and Moderna have stated that their vaccines are 95% and 99% effective, respectively, against the initial strain of COVID. However, some scientists have questioned those statements. Additionally, the World Health Organization and vaccine companies have conceded that the vaccines do not prevent people from being infected with COVID or from transmitting it, but are only effective at reducing symptoms.

Gates told CBS Evening News:

“The discussion now is do we just need to get a super high coverage of the current vaccine, or do we need a third dose that’s just the same, or do we need a modified vaccine?”

U.S. vaccine companies are looking at making modifications, which Gates refers to as “tuning.”

People who have had two shots may need to get a third shot and people who have not yet been vaccinated would need the modified vaccine, explained Gates. When asked whether the coronavirus vaccine would be similar to the flu vaccine, which requires yearly boosters, Gates couldn’t rule that out. Until the virus is eradicated from all humans, Gates said, additional shots may be needed in the future.

AstraZeneca in particular has a challenge with the variant,” Gates explained. “And the other two, Johnson & Johnson and Novavax, are slightly less effective, but still effective enough that we absolutely should get them out as fast as we can while we study this idea of tuning the vaccine.”

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is funding the studies being conducted in Brazil and South Africa, CBS News said. The foundation has also invested in the AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and the Novavax vaccines, which are being tested against new variants. Once the AstraZeneca vaccine is approved, the Global Alliance for Vaccine Initiative or GAVI, founded by Gates, will distribute it globally.

“Gates continues to move the goalposts,” said Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., chairman and chief legal counsel of Children’s Health Defense. “Meanwhile the strategies he and others have promoted are obliterating the global economy, demolishing the middle class, making the rich richer and censoring vaccine safety advocates, like me.”

Kennedy said that the exclusive focus on vaccines has prevented the kind of progress required to actually address and recover from the pandemic:

“From the pandemic’s outset, clear-headed people familiar with the challenges inherent in the vaccine model have understood that the path out of crisis would require multiple steps. Those steps would need to include the development and/or identification of therapeutic drugs, the sharing of information among doctors to hone improved treatment models that reduce infection mortality rates below those for flu, and the kind of broad-spectrum long-term herd immunity that protects against mutant strains and that only derives from natural infection.”

Instead, Gates and vaccine makers are proposing a lifetime of boosters, supporting insufficient testing to determine safety and failing to address the inadequate monitoring of vaccine injuries, Kennedy said.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Children’s Health Defense.

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Young nurse suffers from hemorrhage and brain swelling after second dose of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine

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(Natural News) A 28-year-old healthcare worker from the Swedish American Hospital, in Beloit, Wisconsin was recently admitted to the ICU just five days after receiving a second dose of Pfizer’s experimental mRNA vaccine. The previously healthy young woman was pronounced brain dead after cerebral angiography confirmed a severe hemorrhage stroke in her brain stem.

Her family members confirmed that she was “breaking out in rashes” after the vaccine. She also suffered from sudden migraine headaches, and got “sick” after taking the second dose of the vaccine. At the very end, she lost the ability to speak and went unconscious. The migraines, nausea, and loss of speech were all symptoms of a brain bleed and brain swelling, something her family did not understand at the time, and something nobody would expect after vaccination.

While on life support, neurologists used angiography to image the damage inside the brain. They found a subarachnoid hemorrhage, whereas a bulging blood vessel burst in the brain, bleeding out in the space between the brain and the tissue covering the brain. The ensuing swelling cut off oxygen to the brain and caused brain death. On February 10, 2021, Sarah reportedly had “no brain activity.” Some of the woman’s organs are now being procured, so they can be donated to other people around the world.

Doctors warn FDA about COVID vaccines causing autoimmune attacks in the heart and brain

Experimental COVID-19 vaccines may cause inflammation along the cardiovascular system, leading to heart attack and/or stroke. This serious issue was brought forth to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) by Dr. J. Patrick Whelan, M.D., Ph.D. and further confirmed by cardiothoracic surgeon, Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, M.D., Ph.D. The two doctors warned that a recently-infected patient who is subject to COVID-19 vaccination is likely to suffer from autoimmune attacks along the ACE-2 receptors present in the heart, and in the microvasculature of the brain, liver and kidney. If viral antigens are present in the tissues of recipients at the time of vaccination, the vaccine-augmented immune response will turn the immune system against those tissues, causing inflammation that can lead to blood clot formation.

This severe adverse event is likely cause of death for the elderly who are vaccinated despite recently being infected. There is no adequate screening process to ensure that this autoimmune attack doesn’t occur. The elderly are not the only people vulnerable to vaccine injury and death. Pfizer’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine could be the main cause behind the sudden death of Sarah Sickles, a 28-year-old nurse from Wisconsin. The Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System has captured five permanent disabilities in Wisconsin, 58 ER visits, and eleven deaths in just one month. This is the first case in Wisconsin of someone under 44 years of age suffering from severe COVID-19 vaccine side effects and death. There are now more than 1,170 deaths recorded in the U.S. related to the experimental mRNA vaccines, a reality that the FDA and CDC continue to ignore.

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Powering hypersonic weapons: US armed forces eyeing dangerous 5G tech

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(Natural News) Much of the conversation surrounding the benefits of 5G is geared toward the consumer side of the technology. People will be able to download videos at lightning speed and will be more connected than ever, proponents claim, although there are serious questions regarding its safety. However, some of the most important 5G applications are not civil at all – the technology will be used extensively in the military domain.

Some of its military uses are outlined in the Defense Applications of 5G Network Technology report, which was published by the Defense Science Board. This federal committee gives scientific advice to the Pentagon. Their report states: “The emergence of 5G technology, now commercially available, offers the Department of Defense the opportunity to take advantage, at minimal cost, of the benefits of this system for its own operational requirements.”

The 5G commercial network that is being built by private companies right now can be used by the American military for a much lower cost than if the network had been set up exclusively for military purposes.

Military experts expect the 5G system to play a pivotal role in using hypersonic weapons. For example, it can be used for new missiles that bear nuclear warheads and travel at speeds superior to Mach 5. These hypersonic weapons, which travel at five times the speed of sound and move a mile per second, will be flying at high altitudes on unpredictable flight paths, making them as hard to guide as they will be to intercept.

Huge quantities of data need to be gathered and transmitted in a very short period in order to maneuver these warheads on variable trajectories and allow them to change direction in milliseconds to avoid interceptor missiles.

5G for defense

This type of technology is also needed to activate defenses should we be attacked by a weapon of this type; 5G automatic systems could theoretically handle decisions that humans won’t have enough time to make on their own. Military bases and even cities will have less than a minute to react to incoming hypersonic missiles, and 5G will make it easier to process real time data on trajectories for decision-making.

There are also important uses of this technology in combat. 5G’s ability to simultaneously link millions of transceivers will undoubtedly facilitate communication among military personnel and allow them to transmit photos, maps and other vital information about operations in progress at dizzying speeds to improve situational awareness.

The military can also take advantage of the high-frequency and short-wavelength millimeter wave spectrum used by 5G. Its short range means that it is well suited for smart military bases and command posts because the signal will not propagate too far, making it less likely that enemies will be able to detect it.

When it comes to special forces and secret services, the benefits of 5G are numerous. Its speed and connectivity will allow espionage systems to reach unprecedented levels of efficiency. It will also make drones more dangerous by allowing them to identify and target people using facial recognition and other methods.

Like all technology, 5G will also make us highly vulnerable. The network itself could become an attractive target for cyber-attacks and other acts of war being carried out with cutting-edge weaponry. In fact, the 5G network is already viewed as critical infrastructure and is being carefully protected before it is even fully built.

While the focus on 5G’s dangers to human health and the environment is absolutely warranted, it is also important not to lose sight of the military implications of 5G. After all, it is not just the United States that is developing this technology for military purposes; our enemies, like China and other countries, are also making great strides in this realm.

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