Prep With Mike: How to make shikimic extract at home using star anise and an espresso machine
09/07/2021 // Zoey Sky // Views

In a video for Prep with Mike, Health Ranger Mike Adams talks about how you can easily make your own shikimic acid extract using star anise and a store-bought espresso machine. Shikimic acid is the primary ingredient in Tamiflu, a prescription antiviral drug.

You can view the full video on

While the video isn’t a replacement for medical advice, Adams notes that star anise or "Ba Jiao " has been used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years to naturally stop pandemics.

Star anise and shikimic acid

Star anise is called Ba Jiao because it looks like a star with eight points or limbs. In Chinese, "ba" means eight, hence the name. (Related: Is pine needle tea the answer to covid vaccine shedding / transmission? Learn about suramin, shikimic acid and how to make your own extracts.)

Star anise is full of potent bioactive compounds that are said to be responsible for its many health benefits. The spice also contains valuable components like flavonoids and polyphenols.

Experts believe these compounds may be responsible for the medicinal benefits of star anise.

The spice contains the major health-promoting compounds like:

These compounds all contribute to the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of star anise. According to some animal and test-tube studies, the antioxidant capacity of star anise may also have anti-cancer properties, such as reducing tumor size.

Star anise is also the focus of many studies because of its shikimic acid content.


Shikimic acid is a beneficial compound with powerful antiviral capabilities. It’s one of the main active ingredients in Tamiflu, which is commonly used to treat influenza.

Star anise is also the primary source of shikimic acid used for pharmaceutical product development. Some test-tube research also suggests that star anise essential oil of star anise can help treat other types of viral infections, like herpes simplex type 1.

According to scientific literature, shikimic acid also blocks viral replication in the blood. The acid also helps protect your body from respiratory viruses.

Making the shikimic acid extract

Adams used an espresso machine because it can also be used as a food extract engine. When you place something in the machine, like the powdered star anise, the machine creates a pressure of at least five, 10, or 15 bar, plus heat and water. The process results in efficient solvent extraction of the chemical constituents of whatever you put in the machine, whether it's crushed star anise or coffee.

The idea is very simple. First, you break the star anise into smaller pieces until you have a fine powder. Next, you place the powder in the espresso machine and you run it.

Then, the pressure, heat and water will produce the shikimic acid extract.

You will need:

  • An espresso machine
  • Star anise seeds
  • A small hammer or mallet
  • Paper towels


  1. To crush the star anise, place several seeds on a clean paper towel or cloth. Fold the paper towel a couple of times and carefully use a mallet to crush the star anise. Note that the finer you make the particles, the more efficient the extraction is going to be.
  2. Pour the powder into the machine.
  3. Place a clean beaker into the machine and run the espresso machine in "manual" mode.
  4. Wait until the machine produces the shikimic acid extract, which will look like a brownish liquid.
  5. Next, press the "one-shot" mode on the machine. Decide how much water you want to run through the machine. The more water you run through, the more of the chemical constituents you’ll be able to extract. You might be able to run a couple of cups per session.
  6. Once you’re done, set aside the liquid or star anise "tea." Note that the liquid will be very hot so let it cool down.

Adams shared that this makeshift method replicates what’s being done in a food science lab, albeit using an espresso machine.

At a laboratory, a more expensive sample extraction automation system that costs as much as $50- $60,000 uses the same principle but on a much larger scale. The lab machine also uses pressure and heat, with water or a different solvent, with a filter paper like an espresso machine.

How much shikimic acid is in the extract?

To determine how much shikimic acid is in the extract, consider the starting mass of the star anise, the concentration of shikimic acid in the herb and the extraction efficiency. Adams said that he will go to his laboratory and use a mass spectrometer to test the process and determine the actual micrograms per milliliter of shikimic acid in the star anise extract.

The final product will be fragrant and smell of star anise.

Since the shikimic acid content of the extract still hasn’t been determined, if you want to take the extract as a preventive measure for something like the coronavirus (COVID-19), consult a naturopathic physician who will help you determine the proper dosage for you.

In times like these, Adams believes that this is a life-saving method for producing natural medicines at home.

But since the process involves ingredients often used in the practice of naturopathy and herbology, it’s best to talk to qualified professionals to determine how much of the extract is safe to take depending on your specific health circumstances or if it will react with other medications that you are currently taking.

If you want to boost your health naturally, invest in an espresso machine and buy some star anise to produce shikimic acid extract at home.


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