Star anise is an herb. The seed and oil of the Chinese
Aniseed are used for medicinal purposes (Not the Japanese - Illicium
anisatum). Star Anise is used in the food and beverage business as a
culinary spice, for flavouring. In Caribbean cuisine, it is a must-have
ingredient for good Mauby, also can be soaked in rum (Dominica) and
is believed to be an ingredient in Mama Juana (Dominican Republic)
Star anise is rich in Shikimic acid, a plant based
compound that is directly related to the Bird Flu medication marketed
as Tamaflu. Shikimic acid on its own does not seem ot have any medicinal
positives but when combined with other compounds bolstered immune functions
against viral infections. People have used Anise for digestive tract
issues like indegestion, colic in babies (See
FDA comments before use on babies), flatulance and loss of apetite.
It is also believed to be effective in resolving respitory infections
of some types.