Star Anise (Illicium verum)
Plant Family Illiciaceae
Star aniseed, Chinese anise
Star anise is the fruit evergreen tree native to china. It has been used as as a culinary spice and medicine for treatment of digestive disorders and coughs for millenia. In the East, aniseed (which has similar properties) is often chewed after meals to sweeten the breath and aid digestion. Today, production of the essential oil takes place mainly in China and India.
The essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the fruits. To obtain 1 kg of essential oil, up to 40-50 kg of mature seeds are needed.
Nature of the Oil
Star anise oil has an intensely sweet, clean smell reminiscent of liquorice. It ranges in colour from completely clear to very pale yellow.
Perfumery Note – Middle. The aroma lasts two to three days.
|(E) -Anethole||71.2 – 91.8%|
|Foeniculin||0.5 – 14.6%|
|Estragole||0.3 – 6.6%|
|(+)-Limonene||0.7 – 5.0%|
|Linalol||0.4 – 2.3%|
|apha-Pinene||tr – 2.1%|
|beta-Caryophyllene||0.5 – 2.0%|
|Safrole||0.0 – 0.10%|
|(Z) -Anethole||71.2 – 91.8%|
Stimulate appetite, strengthens stomach, digestive complaints, flatulence, spasmodic colitis, asthma, breathing difficulties due to nervousness
Star anise is a calming and sedating oil that is useful for relieving mental and physical tension.
Anise relaxes physical contraction and therefore can be used wherever there is any form of tension or spasm in the the body. It will relieve hiccups, indigestion with cramping pains, nervous digestion and upwardly moving gas. To treat digestive disorders, anise should be well diluted in a base oil and massaged over the stomach or abdomen. The antispasmodic properties of star anise are also relieving painful periods.
Star anise has an expectorant effect which wil help to clear mucus from the lungs, for example in the case of bronchitis; try combining the oil with eucalyptus as an effective steam inhalation. Star anise also helps to strengthen the lungs, and its antispasmodic properties make it useful in treating a wide range of coughs. Use it as an inhalation at the beginning of a cold if you find that colds often settle on your chest.
The antispasmodic properties of star anise make it useful for treating muscular cramps or spasms; dilute it to use as a compress or rubbing oil.
Bronchitis, Colds, Coughs, Flatulence, Flu, Muscle Aches, Rheumatism
Star anise has comforting and soothing properties.
Blends Well With
Essential oils of chamomile, cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, orange, pine and Rosemary.
Our safety advice
The natural sedative qualities of anise oil assist in decreasing sleep problems. However, the oil needs to be utilized in very mild form because it leads to side effects like drowsiness whenever utilized in higher concentrations.
Various precautions abound for those with hypersensitive skin or with skin problems. Tisserand and Young recommend a dermal maximum of 2.4%. They indicate that it may inhibit blood clotting and that it is contraindicated in pregnancy/breastfeeding, endometriosis and estrogen-dependent cancers. Avoid use with children under 5. Avoid use of the oil if it has oxidized. Reading Tisserand and Young’s full profile is recommended.
A similar essential oil is produced from the seeds of the herb aniseed (Pimpinella anisum). This oil has many of the same properties as star anise but it has been known to cause dermatitis in susceptible people and so is not now widely used.
1. C. Wildwood “The Encyclopedia of Aromatherapy”, Vermont, Healing Arts Press, 1996
2. R. Tisserand, R. Young, E. M Williamson “Essential Oil Safety. A Guide for Health Care Professionals”, Churchill Livingstone ELSEVIER, 2014
3. S. Curtis “Essential Oils”, AURUM, London, 1996
4. R. Balz “The Healing Power of Essential Oils”, LOTUS LIGHT SHANGRI-LA, Twin Lakes, 1996
5. Л.ГДудченко, Г.П.Потебня, Н.А.Кривенко «Ароматерапия и аромамасаж», «Максимум», Киев, 1999