Herb: Star Anise

Latin name: Illicium anisatum

Synonyms: Illicium religiosum

Family: Illiciaceae (Star-anise Family)

Medicinal use of Star Anise:

Diuretic, odontalgic, stimulant. The fruit is carminative, stimulant and stomachic. It is used primarily to promote digestion and the appetite, and to relieve flatulence. It also makes a good additive to other medicines to improve their taste. The leaves and the seeds are antibacterial.

Description of the plant:


6 m
(20 feet)

to May


Habitat of the herb:

Thickets and woods in foothills, S. and C. Japan.

Edible parts of Star Anise:

The fruit is used as a flavouring and is also chewed after meals in order to sweeten the breath. The fruit is about 25mm in diameter. Some caution is advised because it is said to be poisonous in quantity.

Propagation of the herb:

Seed - it does not require pre-treatment and can be sown in early spring in a greenhouse. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle and grow them on in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant out in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts, and give some protection from the cold over the winter for the first year or two. Layering in early spring. Takes 18 months. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, August in a frame. Pot up the cuttings when they start to root and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter, planting out after the last expected frosts.

Cultivation of Star Anise:

Thickets and woods in foothills, S. and C. Japan.

Known hazards of Illicium anisatum:

The fruit is poisonous in quantity.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.