For health purposes, star anise seeds are crushed, steeped for tea, and drunk. Star Anise is about the size of a nickel or smaller and it is good for all parts of your digestive tract because it promotes good digestion and relieves gas. Star anise isn’t your usual spice but it is used extensively in Asian and Indian cooking. For cooking, it has a very mild anise (licorice-like) flavor. Whole stars can be placed under the skin of a roasting chicken, under a beef roast, or in a soup for a secret flavoring. Remove the stars before serving. Star anise is also a good flavoring for mulled cider or wine. The stars are quite attractive and aromatic and make a good addition to a potpourri. But think of it in terms of its health benefits. You might want to pop a star or 2 in the pot when you cook broccoli, cabbage or dried beans. The flavor won’t be noticeable but the digestive benefits will be.