The mission statement of the Herb Society of America is to "promote the knowledge, use and delight of herbs through educational programs, research and sharing the experience of its members with the community.
The Society is committed to protecting our global environment for the health and well- being of humankind and all growing things. We encourage gardeners to practice environmentally sound horticulture.
The Motto of the Society is taken from the herbalist, John Parkinson: "For Use and Delight"
Star anise – Illicium verum
• The eight-pointed seed pod from an evergreen tree native to Southwest China and Vietnam, is the spice known as star anise. This small evergreen tree is in the magnolia family, Schisandraceae.
• Star anise has been used in China for flavoring and medicine for over three thousand years.
• The seed pods are harvested before ripening (green) and sun-dried, resulting in the rich brown
• Both the seeds and the pods contain the flavor and are finely ground together. When used in
recipes whole, they should be removed before serving.
• It is one of the five spices in the blend, Chinese five-spice.
• The deep licorice-like aroma has subtle sweet and herbal notes.
• The flavor is used in sweet, spicy and savory dishes, including baked goods, chilled desserts,
sauces, beverages and even red meats.
• The liquors absinthe, Sambuca, and pastis all have infused star anise flavoring.
• Though the flavor is similar, it is not related to anise seed. However, both plants have anethole, a compound responsible for the anise flavor in both seeds.
• Historical medicinal uses included Chinese herbalists using star anise as a stimulant, an
expectorant and to treat indigestion to European healers using it in teas for rheumatism and
chewing the seed for indigestion.
• Though there is now a synthetic way to manufacture it, star anise contains shikimic acid which is one of the primary components of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu.
• Research continues on extracts from star anise, including testing antifungals and antimicrobial
• According to Chinese folklore, finding a star anise with more than eight points was considered
good luck. Star anise was also considered protection against the “evil eye”.
• While similar to Illicium verum, the seeds of Japanese star anise, Illicium anisatum are quite