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Star Anise (Chakra Phool): Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

Star anise, scientifically known as Illicium verum, is an evergreen small, medium-sized tree from the plant family Star anise, scientifically known as Illicium verum, is an evergreen small, medium-sized tree from the plant family Illiciaceae. The most common species of the Illicium genus are star anise (Illicium verum), Japanese anise (Illicium anisatum), Mexican anise (Illicium mexicanum) and star aniseed (Illicium anisatum). It is grown in tropical areas of East Asia and Southeast Asia and has 42 species and 166 varieties. They all vary in habitat, physical structure and chemical composition. Star anise is the most common species. Star anise is known by many names. It is called bādiyān (Persian), phoolchakri (Hindi), badiane (French), badian (Urdu), and star anise (English). The potential uses of star anise may vary depending upon origin and growing conditions. It may help with colic (severe stomach pain), flatulence, whooping cough, tuberculosis and liver diseases. 1

star anise, chakriphool

Nutritional Value of Star Anise: 

100 g of star anise yields almost 359 Kcal energy.1 

Nutritional Component Value per 100 g 
Total Fat 16 g 
Saturated Fat 0.6 g 
Sodium 16 mg 
Total carbohydrate 50 g 
Dietary fibre 15 g 
Protein 18 g 
Calcium 646 mg 
Iron 37 mg 
Potassium 1441 mg 
 Nutritional value of star anise per 100 g.2 

Also Read: Nutmeg: Uses, Benefits, Precautions & More!

Properties of Star Anise:

There are many potential uses of star anise. It may have both internal as well as external applications. Following are some of the potential properties of star anise:

  • It may be an antispasmodic (used to relieve muscle spasms)
  • It may act as an expectorant (used to treat cough)
  • It may be an anti-microbial
  • It may act as an analgesic (relieves pain)
  • It may act like a sedative (induces sleep)
  • It may have an anticancer potential
  • It may act as an anti-diarrhoeal
  • It might help as a diuretic (causes the kidneys to make more urine)
  • It may have an anti-inflammatory property
  • It may act as a stimulant (makes one feel awake, energetic, alert and confident)
  • It may act as a diaphoretic (increases sweating)1

Did you know?

  • Star anise is rich in antioxidants, which can help protect against oxidative stress and inflammation.  source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Star anise contains a compound called anethole, which has been shown to have antimicrobial properties. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Star anise is a good source of calcium, providing 65% of the daily recommended intake per 100 grams. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Star anise is also a good source of magnesium, with 100 grams of star anise containing 80% of the daily recommended intake. source: fdc.nal.usda.gov
  • Star anise is a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, calcium, and iron. source: nutritionvalue.org

Potential Uses of Star Anise:

The potential properties of star anise that are mentioned above might have several potential uses/ effects on the following conditions:

Potential uses of star anise for microbial infections

Star anise might show an anti-microbial activity. It has the potential to exhibit antibacterial, antiparasitic, antiviral and antifungal properties, as seen in several studies. Researchers have found the potential antibacterial activity of star anise against various bacteria, including Porphyromonas gingivalis, Eikenella corrodens, Actinomyces odontolyticus, Veilonella parvula, Peptostreptococcus micros and Capnocytophaga gingivalis.1 Star anise might have potential antifungal action. A study showed 100% antifungal activity against F. solani (Fusarium solani), F. graminearum and F. oxysporum.1 However, extensive research is required to prove the potential properties of star anise stated above.

Potential uses of star anise for diarrhoea

An animal study was conducted to test the action of the blend of star anise and chamomile on the gut. The study showed a possibility of reducing the looseness of the stools and diminishing the number of stool evacuations. Thus, the study showed the potential use of the mixture of chamomile and star anise for diarrhoea.1 However, more studies on humans must be conducted to ensure such effects. You must consult a specialist doctor for better advice.

Potential uses of star anise for inflammation

Acute inflammation is a protective approach of the body to fight infections. Star anise may have potential use in fighting inflammatory conditions/disorders. The potential anti-inflammatory property of star anise was tested in animals, where it was found to show potent pain-killing and anti-inflammatory effects.1 These studies indicate the possible benefits of star anise for inflammation, but more studies are required to confirm its effectiveness in humans.

Potential uses of star anise for cancer

The human body has several natural ways to deal with free radicals and eating star anise may have added benefits that may help with cancer. Conditions that are induced by free radicals and nicotine, such as cancer, might be affected by star anise, as star anise may possess anti-cancer properties. It may affect damaged DNA responsible for triggering cancer and cancer cell spread.1 However, more research will be required to prove such claims. Moreover, cancer is a serious medical condition; you should consult a qualified doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

Though studies show the potential uses of star anise in various conditions, these are insufficient and there is a need for further studies to establish the true extent of benefits of star anise on human health.

I may advocate star anise if you’re feeling bloated or experiencing stomach discomfort. It has been potentially used for ages to help with issues like loss of appetite, gas, and bloating.

Dr. Siddharth Gupta, B.A.M.S, M.D (Ayu)

How to Use Star Anise?

Star anise may be used as:

  • Whole spice
  • Tea
  • Essential oil
  • Seeds

Star anise is widely used in cooking Chinese and Indian dishes. It is a major constituent of ‘garam masala’. It is used in the food industry as a nutritional supplement. It is used in a variety of dishes, beverages, desserts and savoury stews. Star anise is used in products like carrot and tomato powder, dehydrated beet, garlic and cabbage flakes. Also, It is used as a flavouring agent in confectionery.1

You must consult a qualified doctor before taking any herbal supplements. Do not discontinue or replace an ongoing treatment of modern medicine with an ayurvedic/herbal preparation without consulting a qualified doctor.

Let me tell you something engrossing! Did you know that star anise may have some awesome effects? Besides its culinary uses, it’s been known to have a reputation as a natural aphrodisiac, believed to possibly enhance sexual desire.

Dr. Rajeev Singh, BAMS

Side Effects of Star Anise (Chakra Phool):

The side effects of star anise include:

  • Sometimes, Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) is adulterated or contaminated with Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum). Japanese star anise is similar in appearance to Chinese star anise but is very toxic. Japanese star anise contains a chemical compound which causes epilepsy, hallucinations and nausea.3
  • Star anise is used as a carminative (relieves gas) for managing colic in babies. Despite its long history of use, it is found to cause poisoning with gastrointestinal and neurological manifestations in infants younger than three months. This could be either if it is boiled for a long period, leading to higher concentration or due to its contamination with Japanese star anise.4

 Even Ayurvedic herbs may have specific side effects and may react differently in every person. Ensure that you consult an Ayurvedic physician before using it for proper guidance.

Precautions to Take With Star Anise:

Keep the following points in mind:

  • Star anise should not be given to children as it can cause poisoning with gastrointestinal and neurological manifestations.4 Therefore, avoid giving star anise to children.
  • A chemical compound in star anise is slightly toxic and may act as an irritant if consumed in large quantities.
  • Anise oil, when ingested at 1 to 5 ml, may cause nausea, vomiting, seizures and pulmonary oedema (too much fluid in the lungs) in humans.5
  • There is insufficient information on the safe usage of star anise during pregnancy and breastfeeding. However, stay on the safer side or consult your doctor about whether you can take star anise during these times.

Kindly do not self-medicate. Do not substitute, alter or discontinue any ongoing treatment on your own.

Interactions With Other Drugs:

There is insufficient evidence or studies showing the interaction of star anise with other drugs or food. Therefore, there is a need for more studies on this subject. However, always consult an Ayurvedic practitioner before using star anise.

Also Read: Serrano Peppers: Unraveling the Research-Based Health Benefits

Frequently Asked Questions:

What are the uses of star anise (Chakra Phool)?

Star anise may have many uses ranging from culinary uses to its essential oil being used as a scent. It is used in cooking Chinese and Indian dishes. It’s a significant component of ‘garam masala’ and is also used as a flavouring agent in confectionery.1

Is star anise used in making Tamiflu?

Yes, star anise contains a chemical compound, which various pharmaceutical companies use to make anti-influenza medicine, Tamiflu.1 However, more research is required.

Is it safe to give star anise to infants?

No, star anise should not be given to infants as it can cause poisoning with gastrointestinal and neurological manifestations.4 You must take extra precautions and consult an Ayurvedic physician before giving herbs to children.

Can star anise be taken during pregnancy?

Avoid taking star anise during pregnancy as there is insufficient data available on the safe usage of star anise during pregnancy.

Can I take star anise while breastfeeding?

There is insufficient information on the safe usage of star anise while breastfeeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid star anise or contact your doctor if you want to use star anise while breastfeeding.

References:

  1. Boota T, Rehman R, Mushtaq A, Kazerooni EG. Star anise: A review on benefits, biological activities and potential uses. International Journal of Chemical and Biochemical Sciences. 2018;14:110-4. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/336825719_Star_Anise_A_review_on_benefits_biological_activities_and_potential_uses
  • Shen Y, van Beek TA, Claassen FW, Zuilhof H, Chen B, Nielen MWF. Rapid control of Chinese star anise fruits and teas for neurotoxic anisatin by Direct Analysis in Real Time high resolution mass spectrometry. J Chromatogr A. 2012 Oct;1259:179–86. Available from: https://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S0021967312004712
  • Casanova Cuenca M, Calzado Agrasot MÁ, Mir Pegueroles C, Esteban Cantó V. New cases of star anise poisoning: are we providing enough information?.Neurologia. 2019;34(3):211-3. Casanova Cuenca M, Calzado Agrasot MÁ, Mir Pegueroles C, Esteban Cantó V. New cases of star anise poisoning: are we providing enough information? Neurologia. 2019;34(3):211-3. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/28712844/

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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