149. Illicium.—Star anise.
149. Illicium.—STAR ANISE. The dry fruit of Illi'cium ve'rum Hooker filius. Off. U.S.P. 1890. The fruit is pedunculate, and consists of light, stellately arranged, one-seeded carpels, which are boat-shaped and united around a short central column rising from an oblique pedicle. Each carpel is 12 or 15 mm. (½ to ⅗ in.) long, woody, wrinkled, with a straight beak; rusty-brown in color, and split at the ventral suture, exposing the flattish, bright, glossy-brown, oval seed; odor intermediate between fennel and anise; taste (residing in the carpel,) aromatic and sweet; seed not aromatic, but oily. Adulterated with Illicium religiosum Siebold (found growing around Buddhist temples in southwest China, whence its name), a poisonous plant cultivated in China and Japan, which resembles it in appearance., but is more woody, has a curved beak, a clove-like odor, and a disagreeable taste. Constituents: A volatile oil resembling the oil of pimpinella anise. The former oil is solidified at 35°C., and the latter between 50° and 60°C., almost entirely composed of anethol (C10H12O), with small amounts of terpenes, safrol, anisic acid, etc.
It has stimulant, anodyne, diuretic, and carminative properties which reside exclusively in the volatile oil. Dose: 5 to 30 gr. (0.3 to 2 Gm.).