Herb: Ba Jiao Hui Xian


Latin name: Illicium verum


Family: Illiciaceae (Star-anise Family)



Medicinal use of Ba Jiao Hui Xian:

The fruit is antibacterial, carminative, diuretic, odontalgic, stimulant, and stomachic. It is taken internally in the treatment of abdominal pain, digestive disturbances and complaints such as lumbago. It is often included in remedies for digestive disturbances and cough mixtures, in part at least for its pleasant aniseed flavour. An effective remedy for various digestive upsets, including colic, it can be safely given to children. The fruit is also often chewed in small quantities after meals in order to promote digestion and to sweeten the breath. The fruit has an antibacterial affect similar to penicillin. The fruit is harvested unripe when used for chewing, the ripe fruits being used to extract essential oil and are dried for use in decoctions and powders. A homeopathic remedy is prepared from the seed.

Description of the plant:



Plant:
Evergreen
Tree

Height:
5 m
(16 feet)

Flovering:
March
to May


Scent:
Scented
Tree

Habitat of the herb:

Light woodland and thickets. Forests at elevations of 200 - 1600 metres in S and W Guangxi Province, China.

Edible parts of Ba Jiao Hui Xian:

The fruit is used as a flavouring in curries, teas and pickles. It is an ingredient of "five spice powder", used in Chinese and Vietnamese cuisine. The fruit is also chewed after meals in order to sweeten the breath. Caution is advised because it is said to be poisonous in quantity. The essential oil is used to flavour liqueurs, soft drinks and bakery products.

Other uses of the herb:

The pounded bark is used as an incense.

Propagation of Ba Jiao Hui Xian:

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 the herb:

Light woodland and thickets. Forests at elevations of 200 - 1600 metres in S and W Guangxi Province, China.

Known hazards of Illicium verum:

The fruit is poisonous in quantity.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.