Illicium verum

Star Anise

Illicium verum

Star Anise

Star Anise was first introduced to Europe in the 17th century and was mainly used there in baked goods and in fruit compotes and jams, as well as the manufacture of Anise-flavored liqueurs, such as anisette, Galliano, Sambuca and Pernod. It is a major ingredient in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisines as part of "five-spice powder," which not only acts as a digestive, providing natural relief for digestion, but is also used to flavor curries, tea, pickles, coffee, candy, cough medicines, soft drinks and bakery products. The aromatic oils in the seedpod are also an ingredient in tomb incense in Japan, and perfumery. Star Anise, Illicium verum, is not to be confused with Japanese Star Anise, Illicium anisatum, which has been implicated in adverse neurological events.

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Traditional Health Benefits of Star Anise

Digestive Support, Immune Support

What is Star Anise Used for?

It contains anethole, which is the same constituent that gives Anise its distinctive flavor. The Anise flavor is licorice-like, but stronger, and it is an important commercial fruit worldwide, but mostly in Asia, where most of its market is located. Star Anise has long been used in Asia to help promote good digestion. Its warming flavor and calming influence on digestion make it a wonderful addition to herbal teas targeting digestive wellness as well as respiratory health.

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Active Constituents of Star Anise

1,4 and 1,8 Cineole, anethole (this gives cinnamon like notes), beta bisabolene, caryophyllene, cinnamic alcohol, flavonol glycosides, limonene, trans-anethole, neurotropic sesquiterpenoids, veranisatins A, B and C, phenylpropanoids

Parts Used

Fruit (pericarp)

Additional Resources

1.) De M, De AK, Sen P, Banerjee AB. Antimicrobial properties of star anise (Illicium verum Hook f). Phytother Res 2002;16:94-5. 2.) Sy, L. K. and Brown, G. D. Novel phenylpropanoids and lignans from Illicium verum. J Nat Prod 1998;61(8):987-992. 3.) Nakamura, T., Okuyama, E., and Yamazaki, M. Neurotropic components from star anise (Illicium verum Hook. fil.). Chem.Pharm Bull (Tokyo) 1996;44(10):1908-1914.

Important Precautions

Not for use in excess during pregnancy or lactation. If you have a medical condition or take pharmaceutical drugs please consult your doctor prior to use.


This information in our Herbal Reference Guide is intended only as a general reference for further exploration, and is not a replacement for professional health advice. This content does not provide dosage information, format recommendations, toxicity levels, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Accordingly, this information should be used only under the direct supervision of a qualified health practitioner such as a naturopathic physician.

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