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quantity in basket: none
code: 11003


Latin Binomial: Illicium verum
Plant Part: Aerial Part
Extraction: Steam Distilled
Growing Practice: Ethical
Country of Origin: China
Odor Type: SPICY


Odor Characteristics: Very similar to that of anise Pimpenella anisum; there is often mis-naming. Star anise has a very sweet, muted aniseed note, less delicate than Pimpenella anisum, with a soft anisic sweet drydown.

Refractive Index: 1.553 @ 20.00 °C.
Specific Gravity: 0.979 @ 20.00 °C.
Appearance: colorless to pale yellow liquid
BioChemical Class: Phenol ether
CAS No: 84650-59-9
Flash Point °F: 182

About the Plant

Illicium verum is an evergreen tree from the family Illiciaceae, native to southern China and Vietnam, and now cultivated in Laos on the Philippines and Jamaica. It grows up to 18-20 feet tall. It is in leaf all year, in flower from march to May and the seeds ripen and open in October. At maturity the flower produces a characteristic woody fruit composed of a ring of several joined podlike follicles, each of which splits open along one seam to release a single seed. It grows in habitats with moist, sandy to loamy soil, well drained and prefers acid or neutral pH, in semi-shade or no shade. Scented flowers are hermaphrodite (having both male and female organs). The genus name Illicium is derived from Latin illicere meaning "allure", because of its sweet and attractive fragrance.

*Chinese star anise Illicium verum should not be confused with anise Pimpenella anisum.


Star anise has been used for centuries in Chinese cooking and is a part of the "Five Spice Powder," along with Cinnamon, Cloves, Fennel and Prickly Ash. Star Anise has been used to control flatulence and nausea in TCM, and it is considered an antispasmodic for the gastrointestinal system. It also has also been used for its mild diuretic properties and for its expectorant qualities in the treatment of bronchitis. Star Anise is also a traditional folk remedy for rheumatism and colic.
Aromatherapy: Anise Pimpenella anisum is preferred in aromatherapy because it is less toxic, Illicium verum is valuable in incense and candle making.

Perfumery: Minor use in soap perfumes because of adulteration. True anise oil in perfumery is distilled from the crushed fruits or seeds of Pimpenella anisum.

Foods/Flavoring: Star anise Illicium verum is used almost exclusively as a flavor material in candy, toothpaste, alcoholic beverages (anisette flavored brandy), carbonated drinks and pharmaceutical preparations.

Anise essential oil is both an irritant and sensitising. Contact dermatitis reactions are attributed to anethole. (Mitchell and Rook, 1979)

Herbal: The fruit is poisonous in quantity. The FDA advises not to consume tea containing star anise as it has been linked to neurological effects such as seizures, vomiting, jitteriness and rapid eye movement. Some reports have found Chinese star anise Illicium verum to be contaminated with Japanese star anise Illicium anisatum which is a known neurotoxin.

The information provided on these pages is not a substitute for necessary medical care, nor intended as medical advice. Always keep aromatic extracts tightly closed and in a cool, dark place, out of reach of children. Never ingest aromatic extracts. Always dilute aromatic extracts when applying topically and avoid areas around eyes or mucous membranes. If redness or irritation occurs, stop using immediately and contact your health provider if necessary.