Anisi Stellati Fructus. Star Anise Fruit.
Star anise fruit is the dried ripe fruit of Illicium verum, Hook. f. (N.O. Magnoliaceae), a tree indigenous to the Southern and South-western provinces of China. The fruit consists of eight stellately arranged carpels attached to a stout curved peduncle. The carpels are about 12 millimetres in length, boat-shaped, and bluntly-beaked at the apex, but flat at the base. They are dark brown in colour, and wrinkled; the ventral suture is often open, exposing the smooth, shining, hard, reddish-brown seed, with brittle seed-coats, and a large, soft, oily kernel. The odour and taste are spicy and aromatic. Japanese star anise, from Illicium religiosum, Siebold, is smaller and less regular in appearance. The carpels are more wrinkled, the beak more acute, and the peduncle straighter than is the case with the fruit of I. verum. They differ also in the odour, which is balsamic, and in the taste, which is disagreeably bitter instead of sweet and spicy. As Japanese star anise fruit is poisonous, care should be taken not to confuse it with the Chinese fruit.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of star anise fruit is a volatile oil, of which it contains about 5 per cent. This oil is situated in the pericarp of the fruit and kernel of the seed; it is almost identical with that obtained from anise fruit, and may be used instead of the latter.
Action and Uses.—The powdered drug is administered in India as a substitute for the official anise fruit, in powder, or in the form of infusion (1 in 20).
Dose.—3 to 20 decigrams (5 to 30 grains).