Star anise spice is certainly very well known among asian cooking. Along with its name, this flower-shaped spice has a distinctive aroma.
Apart from being used as an ingredient that enhances the aroma of cooking, star anise is also said to be often used in the tips of the ancients as an internal health care ingredient and to brighten the facial skin.
However, did you know that there are types of star anise that are poisonous?
Based on Dr Suri Roowi, there are two types of star anise, namely the Chinese star anise and the Japanese star anise.
Chinese star anise is a type of star anise that is often used in cooking while Japanese star anise is a poisonous species.
Japanese star anise is very similar to the Chinese star anise but it can be distinguished by its smaller fruit and its less fragrant smell than the Chinese star anise.
Japanese star anise contains a toxin known as Anisatin and commonly, it is used as a fish poison and pesticide. In addition, it is also used to help overcome toothache and skin pain.
These two types of star anise are difficult to differentiate with just the naked eye so it can cause Chinese star anise products may be contaminated with Japanese star anise. The only way to distinguish the two species is through chemical analysis or by looking at them under a microscope.
According to Dr Suri, there are reports that a baby has suffered serious problems and almost died as a result of drinking star anise water. This incident occurred most likely due to the Chinese star anise being contaminated with the Japanese star anise. So, avoid giving star anise water extract to babies and children.
In addition, Chinese star anise is often mixed in tea drinks to reduce stress. Even so, there are reports from France, Spain and Switzerland showing individuals who drink star anise water contaminated with Japanese star anise can cause problems such as hallucinations and nausea.