Image for Star anise ()
Star anise (Illicium verum)

Synonyms/Common Names/Related Substances:

  • Anice stellato, anis de la Chine (French), anis estrellado, anise étoilé (French), anise stars, aniseed, Anisi stellati fructus, ba chio, badain, badaine, badian, badiana, ba(ht) g(h)ok, bart gok, bunga lawang, Chinese anise, Chinese star anise, eight-horned anise, eight horns, I. anisatum, Illicium anisatum L (Japanese star anise), Illicium verum, Illiciumreligiosum, Illicium verum Hook f, pa-chiao, pak kok, peh kah, star anise, sternanis, Tamiflu®.
  • Note: Do not confuse Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) with Chinese star anise (Illicium verum). Japanese star anise has been observed to cause serious adverse effects in case studies (1;2;3;4).

Clinical Bottom Line/Effectiveness

Brief Background

  • Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) is native to China and Vietnam and has been used for its carminative, stomachic, stimulant, and diuretic medicinal properties and is used by the Malays to combat stomach ache due to the accumulation of intestinal gas, headache, and to promote vitality.
  • Shikimic acid extracted from the pods (which wraps the seeds) of Chinese star anise is the starting material of Tamiflu®. Tamiflu® (Roche Laboratories) is an antiviral drug which has gained popularity with the recent spread of the bird flu (H5N1). Roche uses a specific type of Chinese star anise grown in four provinces located in the mountains of Southwest China (Guanxi, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou). According to Roche, these provinces produce a Chinese star anise that is higher in purity and yield than grown elsewhere. Roche Laboratories and its partners mainly use the shikimic acid extracted from Chinese star anise, however they are developing new technologies which uses an E. coli bacteria, when overfed glucose, produces shikimic acid (http://www.roche.com/med_mbtamiflu05e.pdf).
  • The shikimic acid is extracted from the seeds in a ten-stage manufacturing process which takes approximately eight months. Thirty kilograms of Chinese star anise yields approximately one kilogram of shikimic acid (http://www.roche.com/med_mbtamiflu05e.pdf).
  • Star anise has been shown to have insecticidal action against Japanese termites (5) and adult German cockroaches (Blattella germanica) (6).
  • Further content available for subscribers only.

Dosing/Toxicology

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Precautions/Contraindications

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Mechanism of Action

  • Content available for subscribers only.

History

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Table

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Evidence Discussion

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Products Studied

  • Content available for subscribers only.

Author Information

  • Content available for subscribers only.

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  • Content available for subscribers only.
The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.