Star Anise

How does Star Anise work?

Star anise seeds contain ingredients that might have activity against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. Star anise contains a chemical shikimic acid that is used to make a prescription medicine for preventing and treating the flu. However, there isn't any research showing that star anise has any activity against viruses such as the flu virus.

Are there safety concerns?

Star anise is safe when used as a flavoring in foods. There is not enough information to know if it's safe for use as a medicine. Some ingredients can cause skin problems including swelling, scaling, and blisters when applied to the skin. Star anise should not be given to infants. It can cause severe nervous system problems, including seizures.

The star anise used as medicine is Chinese star anise. Japanese star anise is poisonous and should not be taken. Some Chinese star anise tea products have been contaminated with Japanese star anise. You cannot tell the difference between them just by looking. Unless safety can be assured by chemical analysis, star anise tea should not be used.

Do not take star anise if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You have breast, uterine, or ovarian cancer.
  • You have uterine problems.

Dosing considerations for Star Anise.

The appropriate dose of star anise depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for star anise. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.