Star anise is a star-shaped fruit produced by Illicium verum, an evergreen tree native to Vietnam and China. In cooking, star anise adds a licorice-like flavor, but the spice also has numerous its health benefits. The spice produces shikimic acid, which is used in some modern medications. The health benefits of star anise are powerful and varied and include antioxidant properties and the promotion of bone and skin health.
Star anise is rich in B-complex vitamins, such as niacin and riboflavin, which carry a wide range of health benefits when consumed. Riboflavin boosts skin, eye, and nervous system health, and is a key player in red cell production. It also helps break down carbohydrates and turn them into energy. Niacin is equally important in breaking down carbs into energy, and also has a role in regulating blood sugar levels. It helps with the production of hormones, affecting serotonin and adrenal hormones.
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