Star anise oil benefits


Star anise oil is obtained by steam distillation from the fruits or seeds of star anise (Illicium verum; family Illiciaceae) and is mainly used in the pharmaceutical and food industry. The oil is faint yellow with a highly aromatic odor and anise flavor (1). Star anise oil benefits are used mosquito repellent, dietary supplements and have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory properties.

Uses of Star anise oil

It is used as flavor enhances red-cooked dishes, as well as eggs simmered for a lengthy period in black tea,  medicinal tea, cough mixtures, pastilles, alcoholic and soft drinks, chewing gum, confectionery, bakery products, puddings, gelatine, fruit compotes, jam sweet eat and pickles. It is also used to impart aroma to soaps, perfumes, dental cream, and flavor tobacco (2).

Geographical distribution

It is native the native to northern Vietnam and southern China but also cultivated in France, Spain, Italy, and the Philippines

Constituents of Star Anise oil

Star anise contains 99.55% of total oil in which the major component is trans-Anethole followed by estragol and other constituents as follows (3).

Nutrients Percentage
α-Pinene 0.13 %
α-Phellandrene 0.11 %
p-Cymene 0.06 %
Limonene 0.67 %
Linalool 0.79 %
Terpinen-4-ol 0.12 %
α-Terpineole 0.21 %
Estragole 3.68 %
cis-Anethole 0.41 %
p-Anisaldehyde 0.78 %
trans-Anethole 90.82 %
Anisylacetone 0.24 %
β-Caryophyllene 0.20 %
trans-α-Bergamotene 0.17 %
Foeniculin 1.00 %

Health Benefits of Star anise oil

Star anise oil health benefits are useful for depression, inflammation, mosquito, insects, and anxiety. Let’s take a closer look at some of these proven health benefits below.

1. Anti-inflammatory properties

Acute lung injury (ALI), in which inflammation can occur that results in various diseases such as sepsis, pneumonia, and trauma. The anethole found in star anise oil prevents lung inflammation by the reduction of inflammatory cells, including neutrophils and macrophages (4). The oil is also helpful to treat other inflammatory diseases like skin inflammation and rheumatism, hyperlipidemia-atherosclerosis (5).

2. Treat Urinary Tract Infections of Dogs and cats

Escherichia coliCandida albicansand Candida famata are the most common agent that cause UTIs of dogs and cats, however, star anise oil contains anethol, has antimicrobial properties thus may use as an external and/or intravesical washes in small animals (6). Moreover, this oil also shows a wonderful effect on the treatment of otitis Externa in Dogs and Cats (7).

3. Mosquito repellents

Anethol obtained from star anise oil is natural and has larvicidal activity against mosquito larvae of Culex pipiens and Aedes aegypti, (8,9).

4. Antifungal properties of Star anise

Trans-anethole found in oil of star anise strongly inhibited the mycelial growth (90%) of Botrytis cinerea, Alternaria solani, Bipolaris maydis, Fusarium graminearum, Pythium aphanidermatum, Rhizoctonia solani, and Colletotrichum gloeosporioides (10).

5. Insecticidal properties

Anethol obtained from this oil show insecticide effect against Japanese Termite (Reticulitermes speratusKolbe), Blattella germanica, Lasioderma serricorne, Sitophilus zeamais Motschulsky, Callosobruchus chinensis, Musca domestica L (11,12).

6. Antioxidant properties

Star anise oil contains a high amount of antioxidants like anethole and estragole, has free radical scavenging activity, inhibits mold growth and aflatoxin production. Thus this oil suppresses foodborne mold growth (Aspergillus flavus) and toxin formation (13).

7. Useful as a dietary supplement

Supplementation of star anise oil (400 mg/kg.) in the daily diet of laying hens enhanced laying performance and extending the shelf life of eggs and overall antioxidant status. Furthermore, this oil also helps to stimulate digestion, improved nutrient utilization, increase the activities of pancreatic lipase and amylase. Thus star anise oil may be useful as a natural antioxidant to prevent the harmful effects on public health (14, 15).

8. Treat Anxiety

Star anise oil contains trans-anethole which acts as an anxiolytic agent and possesses properties like calming effect without sedation, as well as a lack of dependence, tolerance, or withdrawal thus this oil in aromatherapy or inhalation, is very safe and helpful for the treatment of anxiety disorders (16).

9. Reduce pain

Star anise oil is a good source of anethole (75–90 %) has an estrogenic effect, was useful in providing relief from rheumatism and lower back pain (17).

10. Antiviral properties

Anise essential oil contains phenols phenylpropanoids and sesquiterpenes which show wonderful antiviral effects against Herpes simplex viruses (HSV-1 and 2). This oil interacts with virions or may mask viral compounds that are necessary for viral adsorption and thus inhibits the virulence of the virus (18).

11. Anti-bacterial properties

Star anise oil contains antimicrobial compounds like trans-anethole which stop the growth of different bacteria Rhizopus stolonoiferSaccharomyces cerevisiae, and coli (19).

12. Inhibit platelet aggregation

Trans-anethole of the oil inhibits blood clotting and could increase the activity of drugs like warfarin, heparin, or aspirin. Thus, this oil inhibits platelet, aggregation (20).

Side effect of Star anise oil

1. Sensitizing and irritating properties

Star anise oil (2 %) develops sensitization in patients with dermatitis whereas this oil (1%) produces irritation. Thus precaution should be needed before application (21).

2. Easily oxidize

Star anise oil is frequently adulterated because it contains high concentrations anethole which is oxidized after some time and does not apply an undiluted form of oil.

3. Risk in pregnancy

As we know that this oil inhibits blood clotting, therefore, should not use this oil in case of pregnancy or breastfeeding. Moreover, if you are taking anticoagulant or antidiabetic drugs consult your doctor before application.

4. Risk of cancer

Star anise oil contains Estragole and safrole which has phytoestrogen-like properties that result in some time cancer growth (22).

Edited By: Dr. Asha Jyoti Bharati


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