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All About Star Anise | Know Your Spice Star Anise or Chakra Phool (Illicium verum)

All About Star Anise | Know Your Spice Chakra Phool, Chakri Phool or Anasphal (Illicium verum)

Star Anise (Illicium verum) is also known as Chakra Phool, Chakra Phool, Chakri Phool.

Star anise is one of the signature flavours of Chinese savory cooking. The five-spice powder mix common in China contains star anise.

It is used to flavour vegetables, meat, and to marinate meat. It is also used as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling.

It is widely used as culinary and medicinal fruit and is most popular in indigenous system of medicine. The fruit is an important source of essential and volatile oil.

Traditionally, the fruit has been used as carminative, digestive, dyspepsia, antispasmodic, and stimulant, antirheumatic and diuretic.

What are the other names of Star Anise?

Chakra Phool names in other languages are given below.
Indian Languages Other Languages
Hindi: Chakra Phool, Chakri Phool, Anasphal
Telugu: Kuppi, Anasapuveru
Punjabi: Badian Khatai
Marathi: Badian
Kannada: Chakramaggi, Kankola
Malayalam: Takkolappultil
Tamil: Anashuppu
Urdu: Badyani
Latin (Botanical): Illicium verum
Iranian: Badiyan Romi
Chinese: Ba jiao
English: Star Anise, Star Aniseed
French: Anis de la chine

German: Sternanis
Greek: Anison asteroides
Spanish: Badian

What exactly is Star Anise?

Get to know about Anasphal or Chakra Phool

Spice card – all about star anise | know your spice star anise or chakra phool (illicium verum)

Botanically, Star anise is the dried, star shaped fruit of Illicium verum. It belongs to the Illiciaceae (Magnolia Family).

It is an evergreen tree native to northeast Vietnam and southwest China and attains a height of 8-15 meters and a diameter of 25 cm.

The Illicium verum leaves are entire, 10-15 cm long, 2.5 – 5 cm broad, elliptic, flowers are solitary, white to red in colour.

Fruits of Illicium verum are star shaped, reddish brown consisting of 6-8 carpels arranged in a whorl. Each carpel is 10 mm long, boat shaped, hard and wrinkled containing a seed.

Illicium verum Seeds are brown, compressed, ovoid, smooth, shiny and brittle.

The character­istically shaped fruits (pods)of Illicium verum are always used in dried state. They are harvested before ripeness and dried to a rusty brown color.

Besides the regular eight-pointed shape, one rarely finds single specimen with a larger number of carpels.

What are the medicinal properties of Star Anise?

Below are the medicinal properties of Chakri Phool or Chakra Phool as per Ayurveda

Illicium verum Ayurvedic Properties
Rasa (taste)
– Katu (pungent)
Guna (property) – Laghu (light)
Vipaka (post-digestion effect) – Katu (Undergoes sweet taste conversion after digestion)
Veerya (Potency) – Ushna (Hot potency)
Effect on Tridosha – Reduces Vata, Pitta, but mostly Kapha.

What is the nutritional value of Star Anise?

Find out about the nutritional value of Chakra Phool or Chakri Phool

For thousands of years, Asia has been using chakra phool to heal and improve wide range of conditions.

This spice is loaded with potent phytonutrients that boost digestion, internal organ health while keeping metabolic-type diseases at bay. Just one tablespoon (7 grams) contains:

  • about 22 Calories
  • 1.26 grams of Protein
  • 3.52 grams of Carbohydrates, about 2 grams of which is Fiber
  • no sugar
  • 1.12 grams of fat, big chunk of which are essential monounsaturated (also found in nuts, avocados and seeds) and polyunsaturated fats (omega-3 and omega-6)

What is the chemical composition of Star Anise?

Know and understand about chemical composition of Chakri Phool or Chakra Phool

The dried fruits may contain 5 to 8% of essential oil, which domi­nated by anethole (85 to 90%).

The other com­ponents, methylchavicol, phell­andrene, linalool, safrole and terpineol, have only small effect on the aroma.

Traces of 1,4 cineol can be used to distinguish chakra phool from aniseed, which (like most other spices) is free of this compound.

    What is the history of Star Anise?

    Know more about the origins & the story behind Chakra Phool or Star Anise

    The history of the Star anise dates back to 100 B.C. and is harvested from an evergreen tree.

    It has long been intertwined in Chinese history dating back 3,000 years. It is present in its folklore, culinary, and medicinal uses.

    It was general wisdom that chakri phool wards off evil and good luck would fall upon you if you found the spice with more than eight pods.

    During the 16th century it began its movement into western civilization through the spice trades when an English navigator, Thomas Cavendish introduced the Chakra phool to Europe in 1578.

    Star anise was believed in Europe to originate from the Philippines instead of China. This was because Thomas Cavendish brought the first fruits to Europe via the Philippines.

    Clusius brought the fruits in London in 1601 and later they were traded to Europe along the tea route from China via Russia as ‘Siberian cardamoms’.

    During 17th century the fruit became a popular substitute for aniseeds in commercial drinks.

    During this period it was used in syrups, jams and puddings, because of its sweet flavor.

    Many Mediterranean cultures utilized the fruit for its energy boosting and digestive properties which lead to developing digestives. Ouzo was produced in Greece, Raki in Turkey, Sambuca in Italy, and Pastis in France.

    What are the uses of Star Anise?

    How is Star Anise or Chakra Phool used?
    • You can use it in craft projects or potpourri for its beautiful shape.
    • You can chew it after a meal to sweeten your breath
    • Star Anise oil is used in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, skin creams, tobacco and perfume.
    • It’s a common spice in Chinese cuisine, used in the spice blend five spice powder.
    • Whole star anise pods are simmered in soups, stews, and braises.
    • Ground star anise is added in small quantities to dishes and baked goods.
    • It’s a common spice in Indian cuisine, used in the spice blend garam masala, as well as chai tea.
    • From, ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic remedies to Modern Science Star Anise is used for medicines. It is a vital component of the influenza-fighting drug Tamiflu
    • Its essential oils possess properties making them effective all-natural repellents against several insect species.
    • Star anise oil can also be used in aromatherapy to help relieve symptoms of colds and congestion, muscular aches and pains, and digestion.
    • About 90% of the world’s star anise crop is used for extraction of shikimic acid, a chemical intermediate used in the synthesis of oseltamivir.

    What does Star Anise taste like?

    What is the the taste of Chakri Phool or Chakra Phool?

    Star anise has a mild and fragrant licorice flavour. It is warming and earthy, so it plays well with spices like cinnamon, nutmeg, & allspice. Its subtle sweetness works well in desserts


    All about star anise | know your spice star anise or chakra phool (illicium verum). Jpg


    What can I use Star Anise for?

    Learn how to use Chakra Phool or Chakri Phool in your food & beverages.
    • Make your spice mixes with Chakra phool like Garam Masala, Five Spice Powder, Ras el Hanout (Head of the Shop).
    • Many Indian curry masala mix like Dabeli Masala, Biryani Masala, Malvani Masala, Chai Masala also requires Chakri phool.
    • Desserts are also a natural place to use this licorice-flavored spice. It goes well in ginger cookies.
    • It pairs brilliantly with tomatoes. Its licorice-like flavour actually bears a close resemblance to that of fennel and basil, tomato’s classic companions.
    • It is great for infusing flavour into soups & broths as well as tea & mulled cider.
    • Chakra phool goes particularly well with high-fat meats including pork as well as goose, and duck.
    • Simmer a pod or two in some milk and sweeten it with a bit of honey—it’s a cozy drink for cold days.
    • Chakri phool is lovely when added to the poaching liquid. Use it for everything you’re poaching, from pears to eggs to fish.
    • Grind a pod up with your coffee beans it works for both coffee and tea.
    • Match them with chocolate—either in hot chocolate or in a pudding, mousse, or chocolaty crêpe cake.

    How long does Star Anise last?

    Learn about how long does Star Anise last in storage.

    Whole star anise remains fresh and full of flavour for about a year. The ground spice begins to lose flavour and potency after about six months.

    How do I store Star Anise?

    Learn about how to store Star Anise.

    Store your Chakra Phool spice in a dry & airtight glass container in a place where it’s away from heat, moisture, and direct sunlight.

    Is there a substitute for Star Anise?

    Learn how to use a substitute for Chakra Phool if unavailable

    Substitutes for 1 Star Anise are as given below with relative quantities:

    • ½ teaspoon ground Star Anise
    • ½ teaspoon crushed Anise Seed in equal amounts plus a pinch of Allspice
    • ½ teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
    • ¼ to ½ teaspoon Anise Extract
    • ¾ teaspoon Fennel Seeds

    Where do I buy Star Anise from?

    Where to Locate Star Anise in the Grocery Store?

    Chakra Phool are available in seeds, whole or powdered form. You can buy Chakra Phool (Star Anise) at most Indian groceries, supermarkets in the spice aisles. Or, online at Amazon.

    What are the health benefits of Star Anise?

    Learn about health benefits of Star Anise or Illicium verum

    The following are health benefits of Star Anise, Chakra Phool or Chakri Phool.

    • Health Benefits of Star Anise for Improving Digestive System – Consuming Star anise tea is a healthy choice. For indigestion, constipation, and other digestion related problems, star anise is a remedial cure. It stimulates the metabolic enzymes which in turn improves the digestion functions.
    • Health Benefits of Chakra Phool for Influenza Cure – Shikimic acid, a compound present in star anise is used for preparing drug for curing influenza or the flu virus.
    • Health Benefits of Star Anise for Fighting Fungal Infections – Star anise combats a common skin problem called candidiasis, caused by a fungus, Candida albicans which affects mouth, throat and genital areas due to its antifungal properties.
    • Health Benefits of Chakra Phool as a Stimulant – It can stimulate circulation and give relief from rheumatism and arthritis, stimulate secretion of enzymes and hormones, thus boosting the whole metabolism and finally, it can stimulate the nervous system and the brain to make us more active and alert.
    • Health Benefits of Star Anise as a Vermifuge – This is yet another aspect of its insecticidal property. It can kill worms found in the intestines. This property can be particularly beneficial for children, as they are most commonly afflicted with intestinal worms.
    • Health Benefits of Chakra Phool Sedating Properties – Star anise can also be used as for its sedating properties to ensure a good sleep.
    • Health Benefits of Star Anise as an AntioxidantStar Anise contains good amounts of antioxidant vitamins such as vitamin-C and vitamin-A. Anise preparations are an excellent remedy for asthma, bronchitis cough.
    • Health Benefits of Star Anise for Cold Relief – Star Anise seed water is very helpful in relieving running nose condition in infants.
    • Health Benefits of Chakra Phool for Respiratory Virosis – The antiviral effect of this plant is due to a substance contained by its seeds, called shikimic acid, which once arrived in the liver, it transforms into a strong antiviral, which reaches the blood circulation.
    • Health Benefits of Star Anise for Rheumatism – Its oil is highly effective in healing rheumatism. It gives an instant relief from the lower backache.

    All About Star Anise | Know Your Spice Star Anise or Chakra Phool (Illicium verum)
    Print

    Star Anise Powder - Homemade Star Anise Powder | Chakra Phool Powder

    Star Anise Powder - Homemade Star Anise Powder | Chakra Phool Powder - Use this star anise powder to flavour vegetables, meat, and also to marinate meat. You can also use it as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling.
    Course Condiment
    Cuisine Indian
    Diet Diabetic, Gluten Free, Vegan, Vegetarian
    Keyword Chakra Phool, Chakra Phool Powder, Chakri Phool, Chakri Phool Powder, Homemade Star Anise Powder, Star Anise, Star Anise Powder
    Prep Time 5 minutes
    Cook Time 5 minutes
    Total Time 10 minutes
    Servings 4 Servings
    Calories 1kcal
    Author Sumit Malhotra

    Ingredients

    • 3 Tablespoon Star anise Chakra phool or Chakri phool
    • Heat

    Instructions

    • Roast the star anise or charka phool in a frying pan till fragrant.
    • Place star anise into a spice grinder pulse till finely ground.
    • Pop the fine ground spice into a sterilised airtight glass jar and store.
    • Use as per recipe indicates.

    Notes

    • Use it for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling.

    Tools & Equipment Used For This Recipe

    The links below the image lead to product links on Amazon.in & Amazon.com respectively

    FInally! To Sum It Up

    All About Star Anise (Illicium verum) | Benefits of Star Anise

    Spice card – all about star anise | know your spice star anise or chakra phool (illicium verum)

    Chakra phool is one of the signature flavours of Chinese savory cooking. The five-spice powder mix common in China contains Chakri phool.

    It is used to flavour vegetables, meat, and to marinate meat. It is also used as a condiment for flavouring curries, confectionaries, spirits, and for pickling.

    It is widely used as culinary and medicinal fruit and is most popular in indigenous system of medicine. The fruit is an important source of essential and volatile oil.

    Traditionally, the fruit has been used as carminative, digestive, dyspepsia, antispasmodic, and stimulant, antirheumatic and diuretic.

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