Star Anise

How does Star Anise work?

Star anise seeds contain ingredients that might have activity against bacteria, yeast, and fungi. People try star anise for treating flu because it is a good source of shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu), a flu treatment. 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 LIKELY 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.

Be sure you are using Chinese star anise, not Japanese star anise, which is poisonous.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking star anise if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: It is UNSAFE to use star anise in infants. It's too hard to make sure the product you are using is pure Chinese star anise, not contaminated with poisonous Japanese star anise. Pure Chinese star anise is commonly used in infants and has a history of safe use. However, some infants given star anise tea have shown irritability, vomiting, and seizures. These symptoms are likely attributable to star anise that has been adulterated with toxic Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum). Unless it can be verified that star anise tea does not contain Japanese star anise, the tea should be avoided in infants. Not enough is known about the safety of star anise for older children.

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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