Anise Star

Anise Star

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Cough, Bronchitis, The flu, Infant colic, Gas (flatulence), Loss of appetite, Menstrual disorders, Upset stomach, Increasing the flow of breast milk, Promoting menstruation, Easing childbirth.
Increasing sex drive, Respiratory tract congestion

Want to learn more?  We knew you did...

Star anise, dry fruits of the star anise tree (Illicium verum), used as a spice and source of pharmaceutical chemicals. The plant is indigenous to the southeastern part of China and to Vietnam. The flavour and uses of the fruit are similar to those of anise (Pimpinella anisum), to which is it is unrelated.

The volatile, aromatic essential oil is commonly used for flavouring candies, liqueurs, and perfumes. In the pharmaceutical industry, star anise is a major source of shikimic acid, which is used in the synthesis of the anti-influenza drug oseltamivir (Tamiflu).The fruit takes its name from the starlike arrangement of its carpels around a central axis. The dried fruit is about 0.25 to 0.5 cm (0.1 to 0.2 inch) in diameter; individual carpels are usually about 1 cm in length and contain a single seed.

Dried carpels are hard, rough, and reddish brown; the seeds are smooth, lustrous, and light brown. The dried fruit’s essential oil content is about 3 percent, and its principal component is anethole.Star anise is an herb. The fruit, seed, and oil are used to make medicine.

People use star anise for lung infections, gas, colic in babies, and many other uses, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.

The star anise used as medicine is Chinese star anise. However, some Chinese star anise tea products have been contaminated with Japanese star anise. Japanese star anise is poisonous and should not be taken. It is not possible to tell the difference between these two ingredients just by looking. The only way to ensure that a star anise product is safe is through chemical analysis.

In foods and beverages, star anise is considered a culinary spice; both the seed and oil are used as flavoring.

In manufacturing, the oil is used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes, and toothpaste, and to mask undesirable odors in drug products.

How does it work?
Star anise seeds contain ingredients that might have activity against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. People try star anise for treating flu because it is a good source of shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), a flu treatment. However, there isn't any research showing that star anise has any activity against viruses such as the flu virus.

Possible side effects include:

  • Be sure you are using Chinese star anise, not Japanese star anise. Japanese star anise is poisonous and looks identical to Chinese star anise.
  • Some chemicals in star anise can cause skin problems including swelling, scaling, and blisters.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if star anise is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
  • Children: It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE to use star anise in infants. Pure Chinese star anise is commonly used in infants and has a history of safe use. However, some infants given star anise tea have had irritability, vomiting, and seizures. These symptoms are probably from contamination with toxic Japanese star anise. When star anise is contaminated with the poisonous Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum), it can cause serious side effects in infants. It's too hard to make sure the product you are using is pure Chinese star anise. Unless it can be verified that star anise tea does not contain Japanese star anise, the tea should be avoided in infants.
As always make sure you are using organic herbs as pesticides are toxic and always take normal doses, excessive amounts of anything is not good for you.

We are not doctors, lawyers, accountants or your mom.  We give out free smiles and the occasional unsolicited advice.  That being said; if you are pregnant, nursing or concerned about your health, call your mom.  Or even better, consult a doctors before consuming; particularly if you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.