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Castroni Star Anise
The star anise (or badiana) is the fruit of an evergreen shrub belonging to the family Illiciaceae. The fruit has the typical star shape, composed of 6 or more (up to 12) woody lobes, oval, pointed, each of which contains a seed of caramel color. The unique shape makes it one of the finest spices, symbol par excellence of Christmas.
It is very common in China and is part of the famous blend “five spices”. In Vietnam it is used in the preparation of meat soups, in Thailand in iced tea (cha dam yen) also with cinnamon, licorice, vanilla and orange blossom; India is part of the composition of different masala. In Sweden it is used in bread; France is one of the ingredients of pastis and plum jam; in Italy it is mainly used to flavour liqueurs, and sometimes is used for fish soups, fruit salads, sweets and dishes of lamb or pork.
Its properties, finally, are useful in cases of stomach heaviness, bloating and intestinal spasms, especially if of nervous origin.