CHINESE STAR ANISE

GENERAL INFO
The Chinese star anise has so much information. There is an abundance of beneficial things this herbal spice has to offer in many areas. So sit back, relax, and be prepared to be swept off your feet with the amazing information this herb has to offer. Many people are unfamiliar with the star anise spice/herb and wonder what it is, exactly what it is used for, and what it looks like. The star anise has an eight-point star design with seeds in the points in the underside of it. Sometimes the underside is open where you can see the tiny seed inside it like the sunflower seed. There are times it is closed off where you can not see the seeds inside at all.

NAMES/MEANINGS
There are several folklore names for his great herbal spice. One is Illicium verum. It is the Latin pronunciation. A few of the other names are Anise Estrella, Badian, Chinese Anise, and Swamp Star.

ORIGINS/HISTORY
The geographical locations of the star anise originate in southern China and Vietnam. The star anise comes from the evergreen family. The star anise has been known to have three-thousand years’ worth of history. Some of the histories of this superb herb date back to one hundred B.C. An English sailor brought over the star anise seed pod to introduce Europe in the late fifteen-hundreds. Eventually, tea was introduced to the Europeans, and they started to trade with it. There was a trade made on the tea trade line between Europe and China into Russia.

HORTICULTURE
The star anise is picked just before it is ripe. When they are picked like this, they have a greenish tan color until they are set out in the sun to dry. Once they dry, they have a real dark burnt red brick, woody color similar to the color of a cinnamon stick. This color is caused by the chemical release called anethol. The tree is a difficult one to transplant. So make sure to plant the seed where you want it to be because there is a big chance it could die if it is removed from its rooted place. It takes fifteen years for the tree to produce the star anise seed pods. Due to this being the situation on transplanting and the difficulties of transplanting the star anise tree, the production remains in China and Vietnam.

CULINARY
With the star anise having a licorice taste, with it not being the most favorite flavor to most people, combined with cinnamon, honey, or stevia, these will sweeten the flavor of the star anise. This will give the star anise a more tolerable flavor to the pallet. When the anethol is released, a chemical reaction is an oil the star anise produces naturally and creates the licorice flavor and aroma. The star anise was not only used for an herbal tea, but it was also introduced into cooking sweet foods, such as puddings, syrups, and jams. When added to meat, it is added to the cooking process at the beginning of the cooking stages for the meat to absorb the flavoring. When choosing a star anise tree, make sure you get the “Chinese” star anise if you are going to use it in your drinks or to use it in things that you cook.

The reason is that the Japanese star anise is poisonous to the human body and not designed for human consumption. It is important to distinguish between the Chinese star anise and the Japanese star anise. They both taste the same. It is essential to be able to distinguish between the star anise and the star anise seed. Many get them mixed up. At times they are thought to be the same as others because of the name, taste, and smell. The two are not the same, and because one is poisonous and the other can be consumed, it is vital to know the difference.

The star anise is from the magnolia family, and the aniseed is from the parsley family. They also do not look the same. Star anise seed is a dark brownish-red color caused by the antheol, a chemical produced by the star anise pod. The star aniseed looks like fennel seeds and sometimes has a tan-ish eggshell color to it. Star anise has many great uses because of its long-lasting solid aroma, spicey scent, relaxing taste, and all of the health benefits it has to offer. My favorite time of the year to use this spice is late fall and winter Yule time.

I make it by putting water in the coffee pot machine as if I were to make a pot of coffee. I place a cinnamon stick, a star anise pod, and honey in the pot and start the pot to percolate if you use a cinnamon stick and whole star anise pod. Otherwise, I use the tea ball that you would put loose tea leaves in and drop it in the pot, so the star anise seeds do not get in your tea.

Once it has completed brewing, let it steep (simmer) for about twenty minutes and let the flavors mix in the water. Star anise is famously used in Pho. Pho is a loved and favored soup in the Eastern cuisine kitchens, Thai teas, and the five herbs stick for miniature spicey Asian ribs. It also holds a strong licorice flavor as well.

When cooking with it, depending on how strong of a licorice flavor and aroma you want, determine when you add it into your foods and drinks during the cooking and steeping process and what you are making. This process will also depend on if you would want to use it in a whole star anise pod or a powder form. If you use the powder, the flavor and aroma decenegrates faster than if used in the whole form.

When making this decision between using powder or pod, consider if you want a mild aroma and flavor or if you want it bursting in flavor. If you want a mild flavor, just like a light hint, you will want to powder it before use. And add when the food your making is almost finished cooking. If you want it bursting, use it whole and add it into the food early on in the cooking process. The whole star anise lasts a whole lot longer and is much stronger. The best foods to use the whole star anise in will be soups, broths, sauces, stews, and fatty braised meat plates. So with this being said, drop in an entire Star Anise pod.

Allow it to simmer a bit and remove it from the pot. Ground star anise is used the same as any other powders, seasonings, and spices. The problem with this is that once an herb or spice is powdered if it is not used immediately, it will lose its flavor fast. So it is best to powder your spices and herbs just before use to keep the flavor. Some of the other foods and spices it works well with are citrus, onions, poultry, beef, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Due to the strengths of aromas and flavors, it is sometimes suggested to use in minimal amounts.

MEDICINAL
This herbal spice is loaded with vitamin A, C, D, and B complex. It is loaded with health benefits for the internal organs. Vitamin A works to increase the health of the immune system. It is excellent for improving heart health, improving lung health, improving the health and vitality of the kidneys, and improving eyesight. For these organs to operate properly, they need vitamin A. Vitamine C is responsible for body tissue, immunity, cardiovascular system, and functioning and performing regularly. It also has vitamin B that helps with common colds and viruses. The star anise also has riboflavin and niacin. Riboflavin helps to keep the skin tight on the face, around the eyes and increases the health and production of the nervous system. It helps to produce and increase red blood cells. The star anise turns carbs into energy and not sugar and helps to control diabetes. This spice aids in hormone production that contributes to adrenal hormones and serotonin. Star anise is used as an anti-fungal for clearing up thrush and yeast infections, normally found in the intestines, mouth, and throat. If you have caught a cold or flu, star anise is great for these as well. It contains thymol, anethol, and terpineol. These chemicals are found in the star anise oil. All these combined help clear up the common flu, bronchitis, lung inflammation, respiratory infections—A and C help clear up the coughs and other respiratory problems. Honey fights cancer and the cancer cells and helps with clearing up allergies and providing relief from the allergies. Sugar feeds cancer cells, so I do not use sugar if I can help it. With that being said, I had to break myself from using sugar. I switched to stevia and honey. They are both all-natural. When I add sweeteners to any herbal teas, I use either stevia or honey; the two are a lot healthier for your body. The star anise will help to replenish any vitamin D your body loses. It is a good idea to use the pod in a drink as you start to get older or if you simply lack the vitamin D because your body will begin to pull the vitamin from your bones and, in return, will cause you to end up with osteoporosis. This spice is very beneficial to the human anatomy. The Chinese anise star helps to reduce and calm any anxieties you may have and helps to promote a restful night’s sleep; another one to add for rest is lavender blossoms. The Chinese anise has a sedative to help you rest.

MAGICAL
If you purchase the Japanese star anise, it is used only for incense or for your spells and ritual rights. It comes with the stabilities of expanding to connect to the divine. For the beginner witch, it means this is a great herb to start with for either opening your third eye or to increase the strengths of the third eye psychic abilities, increase success, and it brings you luck to succeed at things. With is being used for divine healing, it is recommended to use during any shadow works, which helps with inner healing from past traumatic experiences and situations; shadow work isn’t a pretty thing but helps to heal the heart and mental, emotional state of mind so you can move forward in life. It also brings prophetic dreams. I use it to make an herbal tea, add a little cinnamon, honey or stevia, and you are on your way to relaxation.

You have just made a psychic tea for meditation and help to open up the crown chakra for the spirits to communicate with you and the third eye. It adds stability to prophetic dreams. The star anise is for expanding on these and helps to connect to the divine. Suppose you find one with nine or more points on it. Nine points represent financial wealth is coming your way; good luck will fall upon you and bring lots of success. There are many other uses for this herb/spice. Some of the following are listed predominantly for altar uses:

The star anise has the same shape as the stars glowing lights beaming off of it. With that being said, the name of this amazing herb and spice fits its name well. The star anise can be used for a dark moon ritual or divination workings. We all share a dark moon once a month. The moon shares the spotlight with only the stars that one time a month. They brighten up the dark sky around that dark moon. The star anise represents a moonless horizon. To honor this beautiful once-a-month dark moon, place a blue altar covering on your altar, or even dark blue construction paper taped together will work. Then place several star anises around the altar for divination rituals.

The star anise holds protection properties and cleansing properties. So why not make a string of star anise, holly, and cinnamon sticks together for decoration during the winter months of Yule/Solis. Take long strands of green, gold, and red yarn, cut it approximately three feet long. Then cut some more, around six inches. Twist the three colors together and tie them around the Star Anise. Then tie the other end of the three to the three twisted together that are three feet long. Do this process several times evenly space apart.

I space them six inches apart for the purpose that six represents love. With this decoration, you have the intention of cleansing and sending protection to anyone who passes under this decoration coming into your home. As well as sending and spreading love to each other as they come and go.

Some of the magickal properties of the star anise are calmness and protection. I use the star anise as a form of incense and protection. Instead, it is to burn on a charcoal disc or as a cleansing and protection before or after casting a spell after my ritual rights are completed. Use the star anise its self or essential oil as a sense of productive calmness.

Rub a drop of essential oil on your wrists. You can also rub it behind your ears to bring the relaxing aroma just a bit closer to your nose so you can bring in the relaxing aroma as closer to your nose as possible. Another magickal property is for protection. Place star anise in your pocket, purse, or wallet and keep it on you for protection from the evil eye; place it in a mojo bag for protection or with some cinnamon stick as a form of cleansing to ward off the negativity from the evil eye.

For all you Green Witches, this one is specifically for you. It will put a smile on your face. You can use the whole star anise if you wish, or just the seeds with rosemary tossed in a bonfire for a full moon ritual with your coven or alone for cleansing and protection. The rosemary rids your area of mosquitos. It also releases the wonderful aroma of both of them combined. You can also use the star anise as a natural fire starter for your fireplace or campfire rituals.

For good luck, place star anise in a green mojo bag with a piece of cinnamon stick, and rosemary too. You can tuck it away in your pocket or purse for good luck. You can also smell the star anise aroma to awaken and enhance psychic awareness. Tie the star anise to a purple or green piece of yarn or string of your choice and use it as a pendulum. It can be used as an inner cleansing before any spell or ritual work. So as you have read here, the main properties the star anise holds are– Psychic abilities, money, success, warding off bad luck, protection, consecration.

NEEDED ITEMS
Star Anise, a dark blue candle, for the third eye, psychic abilities, mugwort, or four winds herbal smoke from the native Indian shaman, you can either smoke it or burn it as an incense, or do both, dragons blood oil to anoint the candle with and the role the candle in it as well. A lighter or matches.

SPELL
As I call upon the winds of the day and the peaceful winds of the night, I come to you with this call to enhance the powers of my third eye; the desire to see what my mind’s eye is wanting to show me; the desire to float and fly with my spirit guide to the realms of sight and knowledge, I call upon you to bring forth what I need to know and see, this offering is for you to thank you and to show my appreciation for your assistance in what I come to you in need of. This is my will. So mote it be.

ELEMENTS
Jupiter, Mercury, Air, Water, Masculine

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