One of the key ingredients of Tamiflu which is the weapon of choice in the fight against “the pig that flew” (swine flu, H1N1), is shikimic acid. This chemical is extracted from Star Anise which is a spice, used in Asian cuisines. In India it is used in Garam Masala, and most versions of Biriyani. Being a component and available in most supermarkets a tea brewed with this is being touted as a quick fix and remedy against the deadly flu.With the recent outbreak and demand for Tamiflu, the price of Star Anise skyrocketed mostly due to a lack of sufficient supply.
The FDA has previously issued a warning against drinking tea brewed from Star Anise after receiving nearly 40 reports of illness occurring due to the brew suspected to be mixed with the Japanese variant, recognized as toxic.
While it may sound like a good idea, approach with caution.