Now is the time to make a Star Anise Tincture so you can be ready for the cold and flu season! Star anise is rich in Shikimic acid, which scientists have widely studied for its antiviral properties. It’s the perfect natural remedy for your home herbal medicine cabinet!

Mary holding a Star Anise Tincture with words, Best Cold and Flu Tincture.
Watch the How to Make a Star Anise Tincture video

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What is Star Anise?

Star Anise is a spice made from the dried seed pod of the Illicium verum plant. And it actually looks like a star! It has a licorice-like flavor and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes and in various natural remedy preparations.

Star anise has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years because it has powerful compounds that may help treat viral and bacterial infections.

Did you know that anise seed and star anise come from two entirely different plants with origins in different parts of the world? So when you make a Star Anise Tincture, make sure that you use star anise and not anise seed.

How Does Star Anise Fight Colds and Flu?

Note: Follow the links in this section to read research papers covering the benefits of Star Anise, Shikimic Acid, and more.

Scientists have extensively studied Star Anise because of its antiviral, antibacterial, and even anti-fungal properties. It is rich in flavonoids, which may have many beneficial medical effects on health.

Specifically, when it comes to colds and flu, scientists are most interested in the Shikimic Acid contained in the star anise, and this substance is known for its antiviral effects. As a matter of fact, Shikimic Acid is used to make the active ingredient in oseltamivir (Tamiflu). If you are not familiar with oseltamivir, it is an antiviral medication given to patients in the early stages of contracting the flu virus.

Now, keep in mind, if you are really sick with a cold or the flu, you will want to see your doctor or other health care professional. A Star Anise Tincture does not have the same effect on your health as a prescription of Tamiflu will. However, if you like to keep mild natural remedies on hand in your herbal medicine cabinet as part of your Healing Pantry, then having a Star Anise Tincture at the ready may help to soothe and comfort you when you are feeling a cold coming on.


Note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of illness. If you are not feeling well, please seek professional medical attention and medicine. And if you are thinking of supplementing your treatment with home remedies, be sure to talk to your medical professional about them. It’s important that you get the medicine and treatments you need to get back to good health.

Ingredients to Make Star Anise Tincture

Find the full printable recipe with ingredients below.

The great thing about making a Star Anise Tincture is that the ingredient list is very simple. You need just two ingredients:

You can use other types of alcohol, but tinctures are traditionally made with vodka, so that is what I use. If you are interested in making a tincture without using alcohol (which is then called an extract), you can use vinegar or food-grade glycerine. You can learn more about using different solvents to make herbal and spice extracts at Rain Country Homestead. (And when you visit, be sure to let them know I say hi!)

Star Anise from Farmhouse Teas

Farmhouse Teas logo

If you are in search of a high-quality star anise to make your tincture, be sure to visit with my friend CeAnne over at Farmhouse Teas. She put together a special page to help you get the ingredients and equipment you need to make this Star Anise Tincture recipe.

CeAnne sells a wide selection of teas, individual herbs, and spices. Plus, she is so kind to offer my readers a 10% discount when you use my link and discount code MarysNest10.

Vodka from American Thunder Vodka

As to the vodka, I usually choose a mid-priced option. And I am lucky to have one that is distilled locally right here in Austin, Texas! As you will see in my video, I am using American Thunder Vodka—Texas born and bred!

How to Make a Star Anise Tincture

Find the full printable recipe with measurements below.

Showing Star Anise Tincture Making Steps 1, 2, 6, and 7

It couldn’t be easier to make a Star Anise Tincture. The only equipment you’ll need is a pint-sized jar with a tight-fitting lid. Then follow these simple steps:

  1. Fill the jar with a sufficient amount of whole star anise to within approximately 1 inch from the lip of the jar.
  2. Fill the jar with vodka to cover all the star anise.
  3. Place a lid on the jar and give it a shake.
  4. Allow the star anise to steep in the liquid from anywhere from 2-6 weeks. (I like to steep mine for about 4 weeks.)
  5. During the steep time, periodically give the jar a shake to redistribute the star anise in the jar.
  6. After the desired steeping time, strain the star anise from the vodka. The decanted vodka is now the Star Anise Tincture.
  7. Decant your strained vodka into dark or amber-colored bottles for storage.

Why Are There Variations in Steeping Time?

Different herbalists recommend different steeping times based on their personal experiences or personal opinions regarding herbs and spices. I have found that 4 weeks creates a tincture that is strong enough to be helpful yet not so strong as to make it unpalatable.

How to Take a Star Anise Tincture

Star Anise Tincture can be very handy when stored in a dark bottle with an eyedropper. But if you do not have such a bottle, any small bottle will work well, especially if it has a tight-fitting lid to decrease alcohol evaporation.

When you are ready to take your Star Anise Tincture, I find it is best to add one eyedropper full (approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon) of the tincture to a very small amount of water and then swallow the mixture.

Certainly, many tinctures can be administered right under the tongue, but with one made from a strong spice, such as star anise, I believe—in my humble opinion—they are best diluted first before consuming. If you feel a cold or flu coming on, you can start by taking just one dose of the Star Anise Tincture per day, but if needed, you can increase your dosage to 3 times per day.**

**Note: Remember to keep in mind that if you are pregnant, nursing, using natural remedies on a child, taking medication (over the counter or prescription), or have allergies, always check with your medical professional first to make sure that this type of tincture is safe for you to consume. And remember to get immediate professional medical attention when you are sick.

How to Store a Star Anise Tincture

Tinctures of any variety are best stored in dark-colored bottles with tight-fitting caps in a cool, dry, dark area like a pantry. But if you are not able to find a dark bottle in which to store your tincture, you can use a clear glass bottle and place it into an opaque container as simple as a brown paper bag.

True tinctures—those made in alcohol as opposed to extracts—are considered by most herbalists to have an indefinite shelf-life. They are, in essence, a forever tincture!

However, if at any time your tincture takes on an off-odor or appears to have grown mold within its bottle, discard it. Also, if you have any hesitancy about keeping a tincture forever, you can certainly discard it after 10 years, but chances are, you will have used it up by then.

Note: If you are looking for amber-colored bottles to store your tincture, I listed some in my supplies section, but did you know you may also find these treasures in your kitchen garbage? That’s right! In my Top 10 Kitchen Treasures from Thrift Stores, Junk Shops, and the Garbage video, I show you what to look for and what to ask your family and friends to keep for you instead of throwing out.

Best Books to Learn about Healing Herbs and Spices

If you are new to making natural remedies using herbs and spices, I highly recommend that you add a few books to your Healing Pantry library. These include:

Making Fire Cider

If you have been wanting to learn how to make the famous Fire Cider Tonic to boost immunity, especially as we head into the fall and winter months, check out the best book on the topic:

I also show you how to make my Fire Cider Tonic Recipe—The Master Tonic for Colds and Flu. For my recipe, you’ll need raw apple cider vinegar that you can purchase from your local grocery store.

Making Raw Apple Scrap Vinegar

However, if you would like to learn how to make your own version of raw apple cider vinegar, which I call raw apple scrap vinegar, that you can use to make Fire Cider, I show you how in my three-part Apple Cider Vinegar series.

Making raw apple scrap vinegar is a simple process that uses only apples or apple scraps, so you don’t have to waste turning perfectly good apple cider into vinegar. Unless you have an apple orchard with a bountiful crop of apples, making a scrap vinegar is a lot more economical.

Master Recipes for Medicinal Herbal Remedies

If you enjoy learning how to make medicinal herbal remedies, be sure to check out my set of master recipes, where I share with you how to make a whole host of natural remedies, including herbal oils, poultices, salves, soups, teas, tinctures, and more:

School of Botanical Arts and Sciences

If you like the idea of being able to use natural remedies made with herbs and spices, but you are unsure how to proceed, check out the School of Botanical Arts and Sciences.

As the video instructor for many of their classes, Heidi Villegas is one of the best teachers when it comes to learning how to make herbal remedies for minor health issues.

Get 10% off the following classes with my link and promo code MarysNest10:

Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List

For an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive eBook is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!

And if you’re looking for a printed book full of my traditional foods recipes that shows you how to create a traditional foods kitchen, be sure to order your copy of my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook.

Order YOUR COPY Now!

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

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I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

Mary holding a Star Anise Tincture
5 from 3 votes

How to Make a Star Anise Tincture

Now is the time to make a Star Anise Tincture so you can be ready for the cold and flu season. Star anise is rich in Shikimic acid, which scientists have widely studied for its antiviral properties.
Prep Time5 minutes
Steeping Time28 days
Total Time28 days 5 minutes
Course: Home Remedies, Natural Remedies
Cuisine: Americana
Yield: 1 cup


  • 1 Wide-mouth pint-sized jar with tight fitting lid
  • 1 Large measuring cup
  • 1 Small eyedropper amber-colored bottle or other small amber-colored bottle



  • Fill a pint-sized jar with star anise within 1 inch of the jar rim.
  • Fill the jar with vodka so that all the star anise are submerged. (See video.)
  • Place a lid on the jar and give it a shake.
  • Allow star anise to steep in vodka for 4 weeks. During the steeping time, periodically give the jar a shake to redistribute the star anise in the jar.
  • After 4 weeks, strain the star anise out of the vodka. The strained vodka is now the star anise tincture.
  • Decant the star anise tincture into small eyedropper amber-colored bottles or other small amber-colored bottles.
  • Store star anise tincture in a dark, cool, dry pantry or other cabinet. Shelf life is indefinite.
  • Take 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoons in a small amount of water up to 3 times per day at the onset of cold or flu symptoms.



Find this recipe and video at
Note: I am not a doctor or medical professional. This information is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to treat or diagnose any type of illness. If you are not feeling well, please seek professional medical attention and medicine. And if you are thinking of supplementing your treatment with home remedies, be sure to talk to your medical professional about them. It’s important that you get the medicine and treatments you need to get back to good health.
Copyright © 2023 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved

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  1. Kara says:

    Approximately how many ounces of star anise does it take to fill a one-point jar? This information would be very helpful.

    1. Mary Bryant Shrader says:

      Hi Kara,

      That is an excellent question! Since the size of each star anise differs slightly, it’s difficult to give you an exact amount. However, you should be able to fill a one-pint jar with 3-4 oz of star anise.

      Thanks for your comment, and I hope this recipe will be of help to you.

      Love and God bless,

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