Anise Star Essential Oils (Illicium verum)

Anise Star Essential Oils
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Botanical name  Illicium verum 

Botanical synonyms  Illicium san-ki Perr.

Family  Illiciaceae

Source  Fruits

Origin  China 

Processing Method   Steam Distilled

CAS Number  84650-59-9

Color/Consistency  A light colorless to pale yellow liquid.

Aroma  Anise Star has a powerful and licorice-like scent, giving a strong top note.

Blends With  Lavender, Pine, Orange, Rosewood, Clove, and Cinnamon.

Product Abstract 

Star Anise Oil (Illicium verum) is sometimes confused with Anise Oil (Pimpinella anisum) because both have similar names, both possess a similar aroma and both have similar, but not identical properties. Star Anise Essential Oil has an aroma similar to black licorice.  One of its primary uses was to promote digestive health. In ancient Rome, anise was often added to a cake that was eaten after meals, while the Egyptians used the herb as an ingredient in breads. Star Anise Oil can be useful in diffuser and inhaler blends intended to help ease bronchitis, colds and the flu. Star Anise Oil may also be helpful in aromatherapy blends that are intended to help digestion and muscular aches or pains.

Star anise is an evergreen tree native to Asia, which grows up to 35 feet in height. Traditional Chinese medicine has used star anise plant for centuries for a variety of aliments.

In folk remedy, star anise has been used for constipation, breath freshening, joint aches, muscle spasms, sleep and toothaches. In Asia, anise is chewed after meals as it is thought to promote good digestion and sweeten the breath. It is an ingredient in cough medicines and cough drops in Japan.

Harvesting/Extraction Information
The oil is extracted by steam distillation.

Common Usage

  • Anti-epileptic & Anti-hysteric Effect
  • Antirheumatic
  • Antiseptic
  • Antispasmodic
  • Aperient
  • Carminative
  • Cordial
  • Decongestant
  • Aids in Digestion
  • Treats Respiratory disorders
  • Insecticide
  • Sedative
  • Stimulant
  • Vermifuge


In heavy doses, it has narcotic effects and slows down respiration and circulation. It is poisonous to certain small animals and birds and therefore children should not be given high doses. Furthermore, it may cause irritation to certain skin types. It is best to avoid it during pregnancy. It may also aggravate certain types of cancers caused due to its effect on the estrogen hormone.

Major Components

(E)-Anethole 71.2–91.8%

Foeniculin 0.5–14.6%

Estragole 0.3–6.6%

(þ)-Limonene 0.7–5.0%

Linalool 0.4–2.3%

a-Pinene tr–2.1%

b-Caryophyllene 0.5–2.0%

Safrole 0–0.1%

(Z)-Anethole tr–0.4%

Safety Summary

Hazards  Potentially carcinogenic, based on estragole and safrole content; reproductive hormone modulation;  may inhibit blood clotting.

Contraindications (all routes)  Pregnancy, breastfeeding, endometriosis, estrogen dependent cancers, children under five years of age.

Cautions (oral) Diabetes medication, anticoagulant medication, major surgery, peptic ulcer, hemophilia, other bleeding disorders.

Cautions (dermal)  Old or oxidized oils should be avoided. 

Maximum adult daily oral dose  53 mg

Maximum dermal use level

EU                                 10%
IFRA                              0.15%
Tisserand & Young        1.75%

Organ-Specific Effects

Adverse skin reactions  Undiluted star anise oil was not irritating to rabbit or mouse skin; tested at 4% on 25 volunteers it was neither irritating nor sensitizing. In skin sensitization tests on 100 dermatitis patients, 1.0% or 2.0% star anise oil elicited positive reactions in five test subjects, but none of the same group reacted to a 0.5% concentration. Star anise oil is non-phototoxic. (E)-Anethole is prone to oxidation, and one or more of its oxidation products may be skin sensitizing.

Systemic Effects

Acute toxicity  Star anise oil acute oral LD50 in rats 2.57 g/kg; acute dermal LD50 in rabbits>5 g/kg.

Carcinogenic/anticarcinogenic potential  No information found for star anise oil. Estragole and safrole are rodent carcinogens when oral exposure is sufficiently high. (E)-Anethole is not a rodent carcinogen, and (þ)-limonene is anticarcinogenic.

Drug interactions  Antidiabetic or anticoagulant medication, because of cardiovascular effects, above. 

Comments Caution is needed, because of the risks of adulteration and oxidation, in addition to the presence of carcinogens. The Commission E Monograph ‘average daily dose’ of star anise oil is 300 mg.Weconsider this an unsafe dose.

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