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A small tree native to southwestern China produces a fruit that ripens into the shape of a star. Star Anise may be the least studied of all incense ingredients. Like common anise, it tastes a lot like licorice, which has led them to be used to flavor candies and foods. In Asia, sometimes people eat star anise after meals to freshen their breath and aid digestion.
One of the phytochemicals, 1,8 Cineole is both a stimulant and a sedative. Another, Limonene,is now being considered as possibly anti-Alzheimeran. This suggests an ability to improve awareness and alertness. It is know to enhance relaxation, sleep patterns, emotional balance and even a sense of humor. It relieves stress from overwork and is said to be an aphrodisiac.