Star anise

Authors: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer, Prof. Dr. med. Martina Bacharach-Buhles

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Last updated on: 16.03.2023

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illicium verum; Star anise tree

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Star anise is an evergreen tree up to 6-12 m high from the family of the star anise plants (Illiciaceae), belongs to the family of the umbelliferae. The star anise tree is native to southern China, but today it is also common in other parts of Southeast Asia, e.g. Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines.

The star anise tree is characterized by tough leathery, lanceolate rich green leaves. It blooms in spring with greenish-white flowers. From these develop the conspicuous star-shaped fruits that are about 10-20 mm long and contain a yellow-brown smooth-shiny seed.

  • Illicium verum is the parent plant of Fructus anisi stellati, the official star anise fruit according to ÖAB90 and EB6.
  • Illicium verum is the parent plant of Oleum Anisi stellati, the star anise oil, an essential oil of the star anise fruit.
  • In cosmetic formulations, the essential oil(Illicium verum oil) is obtained from the dried fruits, and to a lesser extent from the dried leaves.
  • In food technology, the characteristically shaped, intensely anise-scented dried fruits serve as spices when dried. Ground or as a whole fruit, star anise is used as a flavoring in tea beverages, for example.

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  1. Wenigmann M. (2017) Phytotherapy medicinal drugs, phytopharmaceuticals, application. Urban & Fischer, p.69.70