Star anise is a spice made from the fruit of the Chinese evergreen tree, Illicium verum. It's aptly named for the star-shaped pods from which the spice seeds are harvested and has a flavour that is reminiscent of liquorice. The most valuable component of star anise may lie within its dense supply of flavonoids and polyphenols. These possess strong antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
It's a popular ingredient in Asian cuisine and can be used in soups, stews, broths, baked goods, desserts or steeped as a tea.