A small to medium evergreen tree of the magnolia family, reaching up to 8m (26ft). The leaves are lanceolate and the axillary flowers are yellow. The fruits are harvested before they ripen, then sun dried. It is, as the name suggests, star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average. These hard sections are seedpods. Tough skinned and rust colored, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4”) long.
Anise essential oil is a warming essential oil commonly used for its sweet, licorice-like aroma. Mix into blends or apply in 2-5% dilution.
Anise is often chewed after each meal in Asian countries as other countries use peppermint – to promote digestion and sweeten breath. Anise star is generally non-toxic and non-irritating (unlike Illicium anisatum – the Japanese variety that is long considered toxic). Anise seed oil will crystallize at cool temperatures due to the anethole content in the oil. The Japanese plant the tree in their temples and on tombs; and use the pounded bark as incense. Homeopaths can prepare tinctures from the seeds.