Star Anise: For UTIs, Flu, Digestion and Viral Infections

Two years ago, my client, Sarah, called me in a panic because she was experiencing the symptoms of a urinary tract infection (UTI) and she didn’t know what to do. It was late, the stores were closed and she didn’t have any cranberry juice in the house. I suggested she get some apple cider vinegar (1 to 2 tablespoons per 8 ounce glass of water) and either add 1 teaspoon baking soda or have that in a separate glass of water. She added it all into one glass, added a little lemon and honey and drank the whole thing. Most of the symptoms were gone within an hour and completely gone the next day.

We Listen to Our Bodies & Catch Things Early

Sarah had great results because she noticed the symptoms early and caught it right away. When we listen to our bodies and catch things early, we have a good opportunity to dissolve symptoms. The key here is that many natural remedies can be found right in your kitchen! If you don’t have one remedy, you could try another. The reason I thought of apple cider vinegar and baking soda is that both relieve acidic conditions. Both are known to help bacterial infections. Apple cider vinegar contains minerals and baking soda contains bicarbonate, which helps activate minerals. So while Sarah was out of cranberry juice, she had other options.

Synthetic Versions of Healing Plants

All pharmaceuticals are synthetic versions of healing plants. So right in your kitchen is a world of remedies you may never have considered. It can be great fun to think about your kitchen this way — as a nature-pharmacy, full of healing!

Yesterday, I bought two new spices that I haven’t worked much with in the past. Star anise is the beautiful one in the picture with 8 prongs, each filled with a seed. Japanese researchers found that star anise can inhibit the flu and Epstein-Barr virus. In fact, guess what? The the drug, Tamiflu, is made with shikimic acid from star anise.

Many Asian soups contain star anise for delicious flavor and its preventative and medicinal value. It’s been found to aid digestion, help with fungal, viral and bacterial infections and is helpful for arthritis symptoms. It’s also helpful for tooth decay, gas and bloating.

It has a sweet, licorice-like flavor and some echoes of cinnamon and clove that is wonderful in tea, soup, stir fries or broth. You can even sprinkle toasted seeds on the vanilla spice ice cream recipe I gave you yesterday (yum!).

I got my star anise from – you can save money buying organic herbs and spices in bulk. Make sure to purchase from a supplier you trust and that you get Chinese star anise with an 8-pronged star, not a 10-pronged star (10 prongs are Japanese star anise, which is poisonous). For this reason, it’s helpful to purchase the whole star anise, so you can see that you got the right kind.

Making Tea

Always make your own from the whole pods (about 1/2 teaspoon ground star anise seeds steeped in hot water). To be on the safe side, do not give star anise tea to infants or small children. It’s also best to avoid if pregnant or nursing and as always, talk to your doctor or health practitioner before doing any “protocols” — even herbal ones. It’s one thing to consume spices in food and another to start a whole scale protocol with them…remember, they are powerful medicinals!

Next to the star anise, above, is schisandra berries, an herb prized in Chinese medicine for longevity, energy and radiant skin — oh, and for boosting libido too! Tomorrow, I will show you how to make schisandra berry tea and share more of the benefits. It’s easy and yummy. It’s also one of the ingredients in a medicinal healing soup that Louise Hay and I have included in our new book.

Bottom Line

We have all kinds of great remedies in our kitchens. Eating a wholefoods diet ensures that we get them into our bodies on a daily basis. Working with spices can be a fun, exciting way to get back into the kitchen and play with remedies that fit with your health goals. Enjoy!

I’d love to hear how you use star anise, if you’ve tried it before — I love all the fun ideas we can share with each other!
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As a coach, writer and recovered former executive, I understand the challenges of creating a balanced, healthy lifestyle when over-scheduled. In my journey to radiant health, I created a whole health system of eating, exercise, renewal and recharging -- a roadmap toward health & vitality. I empower clients to create their own whole health systems, in their own unique ways. I have seen amazing results in working with my clients!