Star anise (Illicium verum)

Star anise (Illicium verum)

Other common names: Chinese anise, Chinese star anise, eight-horned anise, eight horns, badiana.

*Not to be confused with “anise” or “Japanese anise” (Illicium anisatum), the latter of which is toxic.

The following information may not be re-posted, copied or published without my permission and appropriate credit given. Please contact me via email (listed on the About page) if you wish to re-publish any of the information on my blog.

Family: Schisandraceae

star anise

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons User:MarkSweep


Carminitive, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, aromatic, aphrodisiac, hormone balancer, galactagogue, emmenagogue, digestive, stomachic, nervine, anticatarrhal, expectorant, vermifuge, analgesic.


Star anise seed pods are harvested just before they begin to ripen, usually between March and May.

Part used: Seed pods


Cineol, phell­andrene, safrole, terpineol, shikimic acid, quercetin, trans-anethole, coumaric acid, eugenol, citronellol, cinnamaldehyde, 0-methoxycinnamaldehyde, p-methoxy-cinnamaldehyde, lignans, cinnamic acid, estragole, p- methoxycinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol, neurotropic sesquiterpenoids, beta-caryophyllene, eugenol methyl ether, and others.


Used to treat cold and flu symptoms, coughs, gas, indigestion, cramping, poor appetite, headaches, nausea, menopause symptoms, PMS, hormone imbalances, constipation, insomnia, pain, lack of libido, rheumatism, bronchitis, asthma and other respiratory syndromes, parasites (especially head lice and mites), fungal infections, congestion, excess mucous, anxiety and other conditions. It can also increase lactation, assist in childbirth (only under the guidance of a qualified midwife or doctor) and promote menstruation.

*May induce labour in higher doses – do not use in pregnancy.

Medicinal preparations:


Star anise is used in syrups, teas, tinctures, and other internal preparations, including culinary.

*Be very careful to ensure your source provides pure Chinese star anise. It is sometimes adulterated with Japanese star anise, which is toxic – especially to children.


Can be used in washes, hair rinses, salves, creams and other topical applications.


Do not administer unless you can verify for certain that the star anise has not been adulterated with Japanese star anise. Be very careful sourcing this herb.

Do not administer to infants or young children, as there have been debates over whether neurotoxicity may occur in these patients (it is thought to be due to contamination, but that is not verified for certain).

Some individuals may experience skin irritation when applying star anise topically; use with caution and patch test for allergies. The seeds/fruit can be toxic in high doses.

Do not use during pregnancy. Consult with a doctor before using if nursing, or if taking medications (especially hormone supplements, psychiatric medications, anticonvulsants, and blood pressure medications), or if you have a history of estrogen-sensitive health conditions such as endometriosis, breast, ovarian or uterine cancer, etc.

Star anise is known to interact with birth control pills and hormone replacement drugs such as Premarin.

I suggest consulting a pharmacist or physician before starting any herbal supplement if you are taking a prescription medication or have serious underlying health concerns.

Energetic/traditional use:

Star anise has been traditionally used to ward off negative energy or those with ill intentions, to enhance psychic visions and improve luck, health and financial wealth. It is used frequently in dream work, and to enhance the development of those who are learning new skills.

Disclaimer: The information on this website is intended as general education on herbs and is not intended to take the place of medical care. Please consult a health care professional before embarking on any health regime.

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