Anis de Chine, Anís Estrellado, Anis Étoilé, Anis Étoilé Chinois, Aniseed Stars, Anisi Stellati Fructus, Ba Jiao Hui, Badiana, Badiane, Badiane de Chine, Bajiao, Chinese Anise, Chinese Star Anise, Eight-Horned Anise, Eight Horns, Illicium, Illicium verum.


Overview Information

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.


Uses & Effectiveness?

Insufficient Evidence for

  • 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, when inhaled.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of star anise for these uses.

Side Effects

Side Effects & Safety

When taken by mouth: Star anise is LIKELY SAFE when used as a flavoring in foods. There isn't enough reliable information to know if star anise is safe for use as a medicine. Be sure you are using Chinese star anise, not Japanese star anise. Japanese star anise is poisonous and looks identical to Chinese star anise.

When applied to the skin: There isn;t enough reliable information to know if star anise is safe to use. Some chemicals in star anise can cause skin problems including swelling, scaling, and blisters.

When inhaled: There isn't enough reliable information to know if star anise is safe or what the side effects might be.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

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.

There isn't enough reliable information to know if star anise is safe in older children.



We currently have no information for STAR ANISE Interactions.



The appropriate dose of star anise depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for star anise. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

View References


  • 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. View abstract.
  • Rudzki, E., Grzywa, Z., Krajewska, D., Kozlowska, A., and Czerwinska-Dihm, I. New contact allergens and allergen sources. Arch.Immunol.Ther.Exp.(Warsz.) 1978;26(1-6):735-738. View abstract.
  • Sy, L. K. and Brown, G. D. Novel phenylpropanoids and lignans from Illicium verum. J Nat Prod 1998;61(8):987-992. View abstract.
  • Zhou, J., Lu, G., Zhong, X., and Wen, H. [Quantitative determination of anethole in the fruit of Illicium verum from various places of Guangxi province]. Zhong Yao Cai 2005;28(2):106-107. View abstract.
  • Albert-Puleo M. Fennel and anise as estrogenic agents. J Ethnopharmacol 1980;2:337-44. View abstract.
  • Anon. FDA issue advisory on star anise "teas." FDA News P03-67; September 10, 2003.
  • Casanova Cuenca M, Calzado Agrasot MÁ, Mir Pegueroles C, Esteban Cantó V. New cases of star anise poisoning: Are we providing enough information? Neurologia. 2019;34(3):211-213. View abstract.
  • De M, De AK, Sen P, Banerjee AB. Antimicrobial properties of star anise (Illicium verum Hook f). Phytother Res 2002;16:94-5. View abstract.
  • Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at:
  • Franks A. Contact allergy to anethole in toothpaste associated with loss of taste. Contact Dermatitis 1998;38:354-5. View abstract.
  • Ize-Ludlow D, Ragone S, Bernstein JN, et al. Chemical composition of Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) and neurotoxicity in infants. JAMA 2004;291:562-3.
  • Ize-Ludlow D, Ragone S, Bruck IS, et al. Neurotoxicities in infants seen with the consumption of star anise tea. Pediatrics 2004;114:e653-6. View abstract.
  • Kramer M, Bongaerts J, Bovenberg R, et al. Metabolic engineering for microbial production of shikimic acid. Metab Eng 2003;5:277-83. View abstract.
  • Rudzki E, Grzywa Z. Sensitizing and irritating properties of star anise oil. Contact Dermatitis 1976;2:305-8. View abstract.

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CONDITIONS OF USE AND IMPORTANT INFORMATION: This information is meant to supplement, not replace advice from your doctor or healthcare provider and is not meant to cover all possible uses, precautions, interactions or adverse effects. This information may not fit your specific health circumstances. Never delay or disregard seeking professional medical advice from your doctor or other qualified health care provider because of something you have read on WebMD. You should always speak with your doctor or health care professional before you start, stop, or change any prescribed part of your health care plan or treatment and to determine what course of therapy is right for you.

This copyrighted material is provided by Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Consumer Version. Information from this source is evidence-based and objective, and without commercial influence. For professional medical information on natural medicines, see Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database Professional Version.
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