Star anise, scientific name Illicium verum, is an evergreen tree with woody fruits formed by a dozen lobes arranged like a star. Each lobe carries a seed and precisely through the steam distillation of these seeds the star anise essential oil is obtained. The star anise should not be confused with the anise, Pimpinella anisum, they are in fact two different plants although their properties are similar since both contain the same main active principle, the anethole. Regarding its action, the essential oil of star anise is carminative, antifungal, antibacterial, analgesic and antioxidant (D’Souza et al, J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 2017- Wang et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2011). But be careful, even if beneficial the essential oil of star anise has contraindications. In fact, it should not be used in pregnancy and in young children. In addition, always use it in small amounts as high doses may cause skin allergies due to reactions to anethole, may act with a narcotic effect and lower excessively blood pressure (D'Souza et al, J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 2017 - Rudzki et al, Contact Dermatitis, 1976). After these warnings, let's see how to use the essential oil of star anise to benefit from its properties.
Antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties
The essential oil of star anise plays an antiviral action proving to be particularly effective against the herpes simplex virus, which can affect, for example, the lips and in this case its manifestation is known as cold sores. In fact, this essential oil inhibits the virus by reducing its infectivity by more than 99% (Astani et al, Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 2011). The essential oil of star anise also shows a useful antifungal effect against fungal infections that can affect, for example, the nails (Nazzaro et al, Pharmaceuticals, 2017). In both cases add a drop of star anise essential oil to a tablespoon of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond, and apply to the affected area. Finally, thanks to the antibacterial action (De M et al, Phytother Res, 2002), the essential oil of star anise is useful in case of acne but also for the health of the mouth. You can add 1 drop of this essential oil to your toothpaste, mouthwash or a little of your face cream.
Sedative, carminative and analgesic properties
The essential oil of star anise has proved to be very useful in case of meteorism, trapped wind but also rheumatism thanks to its carminative, sedative and analgesic action (D’Souza et al, J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med, 2017). Pour 1 drop of essential oil into a tablespoon of vegetable oil and use for massages, on the abdomen in case of digestive problems and stomach cramps, on limbs, shoulders or back against rheumatism.
Star anise brings serenity, calmness and helps you relax. In this case, you just need to put 2 drops in 100 ml of water and pour in the burner lamp.