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Healthy Spices - Chinese Five Spice Powder

Rajan is a botany and chemistry major. He has worked as a poultry breeder for 23 years, breeding layer and broiler parents.

Chinese Five Spice Powder

Chinese Five Spice Powder

About Five Spice Powder

Five-spice powder is a mixture of five spices used mostly in Chinese cooking, and also in other Asian and Middle Eastern cooking.

Traditionally used to season Peking duck, the five-spice powder provides 5 different flavours - sweet, salty, sour, bitter and pungent - to the food.

The name five spice is symbolic rather than literal as the combination may include spices like nutmeg, ginger, turmeric, liquorice, mandarin orange peel and cardamom.

It is an excellent marinade for beef, chicken, pork and seafood as well. It is one of the essential base seasonings for Chinese cooking.

The five-spice powder can also be added to rice dishes and vegetable stir-fried dishes to add sweetness, warmth and bite to the dishes.

Basic Recipe For Chinese Five Spice Powder

Here is a basic recipe for preparing your own five-spice powder at home. All spices are to be taken in equal quantities.

  • 1 tsp ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground Cloves
  • 1 tsp ground fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp ground Star Anise
  • 1 tsp ground Sichuan peppercorns

Mix well and store in an airtight container.

The homemade mix has a better flavour and is fresher and cheaper too.

Five-spice powder is a good alternative to substitute and lessen the dependence on unhealthy common salt.

Health Benefits Of Five Spice Powder

The blend of different spices gives the five-spice powder not only its unique flavour but several medicinal properties.

Some health benefits of the individual spices in the five-spice powder mixture provide are enumerated below:


The cinnamon tree is native to Sri Lanka. Sri Lankan cinnamon is the real cinnamon while the cinnamon that is sold in the US is derived from the cinnamon-like Cassia tree and is not the real one and therefore cheaper. Cinnamon has a sweet and biting flavour.

Cinnamon has anti-bacterial properties and is especially useful in fighting stomach infections caused by H.pylori, the stomach causing pathogen.

Besides this, it regulates sugar and cholesterol level and balances hormonal levels in women. Read this article for more information about the health benefits of cinnamon.


They are the unopened flower buds of an evergreen tree native to Indonesia. It is much used in Indian cooking and they give warmth to the body.

This very strongly flavoured spice with a numbing property contains Eugenol, a very powerful anti-inflammatory. This chemical also provides cloves its sweet taste and aroma, anaesthetic effect and antiseptic properties.

Cloves regulate blood sugar levels, reduce dental pain, counters indigestion and constipation and more.

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Here is an article about the many health benefits of cloves.

Fennel Seeds

Fennel seeds are native to the Mediterranean and Southwest Asia. They are used in Indian spice mixes and Italian sausages and also used in bread, sauces, marinades and liqueurs. They are sweet in taste because of the presence of the chemical Anethole which is 13 times sweeter than sugar.

Fennel seeds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties because of flavonoids like kaempferol, quercetin and rutin. Because of this, they provide protection against cancer, delay ageing and age-related degeneration disease.

The combination of dietary fibre and several vitamins and minerals help to relieve indigestion and alleviate anaemia, regulate heart rate and blood pressure, and more.

Here is an article about the health benefits of fennel seeds.

Star Anise

Star anise is native to China and the Anethole component in it gives it the liquorice like flavour. It is a dark brown, star-shaped fruit that is widely used in Asian cooking. It is used in desserts and for flavouring liqueurs in the West.

It has strong antiviral properties and the quercetin and shikimic acid in them help to boost body immunity.

Star anise also has antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties that help in relieving abdominal pain, digestive issues and infections of the respiratory tract.

The drug Tamiflu is prepared from it.

Szechuan Peppercorns

Szechuan or Sichuan peppercorns are native to Sichuan province of China. Though not pepper in terms of being derived from a pepper plant is spicy. These are the red peppercorn like covering or outer peels of the berries of the prickly ash tree. They have anise-like flavour with a slightly tangy taste but are less pungent than black peppercorns.

They have some unique essential oils, like B-myrcene, limonene, geraniol, linalool, cineol, citronella and dipentene, that give them their aromatic flavour.

Sichuan peppercorns have antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, digestive, expectorant, stimulant and tonic properties.

They counter free radicals, are effective diuretics and because of the heating effect they provide, they raise the metabolic rate thus eliminating toxins through sweat.

Szechuan peppercorns also provide a numbing sensation to the mouth due to the presence of the chemical Hydroxy alpha sanshool.


The information provided in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.

Some Of My Other Hubs On Health & Healthy Foods

A Pork Recipe With Chinese Five Spice Powder By Hubber Glimmer Twin Fan

  • Slow Cooker Chinese Five Spice Pork Recipe
    Add a little spice to your next dinner with this Slow Cooker Chinese Five Spice Pork. It takes 15 minutes to put together and if you start it in the morning, it's ready when you come home!

Five Spice Chicken

Five Spice Rice with Chicken | Sanjeev Kapoor Khazana

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2016 Rajan Singh Jolly


Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on August 31, 2020:

Peggy, is the comment box closed only on my articles or is this with all articles on Delishably? I am afraid I do not know the reason for this.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on August 31, 2020:

I love the flavors imparted by using Chinese Five Spice Powder in dishes. It is a great flavor combination.

By-the-way, it is now impossible to make comments on your articles that are on Delishably. Have you noticed that?

Rajan Singh Jolly (author) from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar, INDIA. on February 05, 2016:

@DDE, you're right spices are so mysterious with their awesome flavors. Thank you.

@billybuc - thank you, Bill.

@emge - thank you.

@MsDora - thanks for stopping by.

@Audrey - thanks for appreciating the hub. We use a variety of spices in our day to day cooking and I firmly believe they benefit one's health. And yes, I am keeping up with my singing though only to myself. Helps the mood. Thanks.

@Vellur - we use all these spices in our daily cooking except probably the Sichuan pepper. If you cannot get it you can use black pepper instead. Thanks for reading.

@swalia - thanks for appreciating.

@GTF - spices as such are mostly strong because of the concentration of so many volatile oils in them and healthier for the very same reason. Reason enough to use it as much as possible, and of course, sparingly. Thanks.

Claudia Porter on February 03, 2016:

I do love Chinese Five Spice Powder Rajan. It can be strong though and I remember accidentally using far too much of it on a recipe once. I won't do that again.

Shaloo Walia from India on February 02, 2016:

Your hubs are so full of interesting information. Very well-researched too!

Nithya Venkat from Dubai on February 01, 2016:

I use spices in my cooking, will try this one out. Thank you for sharing.

Audrey Hunt from Pahrump NV on February 01, 2016:

Thank you Rajan for another interesting and well-written hub. I'm really into spices these days and actually picked up some "Chinese Five Spice Powder" but haven't tried it yet.

I appreciate how you always mention the nutritional value of foods in your articles. Stay healthy my friend and remember to sing each day. :)

Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on February 01, 2016:

Thanks for the explanation on Five Spice Powder and the nutritional information of the spices. Good presentation as always!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on February 01, 2016:

interesting and informative

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on February 01, 2016:

It's always an education, reading one of your hubs. Thank you as always and blessings to you and yours.

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on February 01, 2016:

Five spices are intriguing. I have the spices except for the last one. That is what makes this spice special.

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