Be careful you know what you are taking. The star anise used as medicine is Chinese star anise. Don't confuse it with Japanese star anise, which is poisonous and should not be taken. Some Chinese star anise tea products have been contaminated with Japanese star anise. You cannot tell the difference between them just by looking. Unless safety can be assured by chemical analysis, star anise tea should not be used.
People try taking star anise for respiratory tract infections, lung swelling (inflammation), cough, bronchitis, the flu (influenza), swine flu, and bird flu.
They also use it for digestive tract problems including upset stomach, gas, loss of appetite, and colic in babies.
Some women use star anise for increasing the flow of breast milk, promoting menstruation, and easing childbirth.
Star anise is also used for increasing sexual drive (libido) and treating symptoms of "male menopause."
Some people inhale star anise to treat respiratory tract congestion.
In foods and beverages, star anise is considered a culinary spice; both the seed and oil are used as flavoring.
In manufacturing, the oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and toothpaste, and to mask undesirable odors in drug products.
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