Sanke fruit is about 2.5 centimeter in diameter, about one-third less than that of Illicium verum. It contains eight carpels arranged side by side in a close circle. The Japanese star-anise are less regularly developed; carpels are usually more wrinkled and provided with a more acute beak that is usually directed upwards; the ventral suture is usually more open; the peduncle, to which the carpel seed remains attrached, is straight.
- Sanke does not occur in the Philippines. However, the fruits are imported in considerable quantities by the Chinese.
- Long cultivated in Japan.
- Fruit contains a volatile oil and fixed oil, besides the chief toxic principle, shikimin; shikimic acid, protocatechuic acid; shikimipicrim; abundant starch and furfurol.
- The volatile oil (0.4 to 1 percent) consists of safrol, sineol, eugenol, palmitic acid, methylchavicol, borneol, terpene, sesquiterpene, anethol and linalool.
- Study reported the fixed oil (12.5% in the seed and 1 % in the fruit) to consist of glycerides of oleic (60.2%), palmitic (22.5%), linolic (9.8%) and stearic acids (2.5%).
- The taste and color are quite distinct; the Japanese star-anise having a balsamic, but not aniselike color, and a disagreeable taste.
- In China, the powdered fruits are considered stimulant and carminative.
- Fruit of specie Illicium religiosum is considered very toxic. Reports of toxicity from use of fruit decoction have been reported.
- According to some studies, all parts of the plant is considered poisonous.
- All illicium speices contain sesquiterpene lactone compounds, most contain a number of secondary metabolite products related to anisatin, neoanisatin and pseudoanisatin, the potent neurotoxins found in Japanese star anise.
- Although Chinese star anise is considered safe for consumption, the species also contain toxic compounds - veranisatins A, B and C. Although the veranisatins are not as potent as anisatin of the Japanese star anise, neurologic symptoms are observed at higher doses.
- Anisatin compounds at believed to act as potent noncompetitive g-aminobutyric acid antagonists
Confusion and Adulteration
- (Some compilations have confused the true star-anise (Illicium verum) and the poisonous kin (Illicium anisatum), and included in their synonyms two endemic species (Illicium montanum and Illicium philippinense).
- Chinese star anise (Illicium verum Hook F.) is the well-known spice used in many cultures, used in the treatment of infant colic. Japanese star-anise has been documented to have both neurologic and gastrointestinal toxicities.
- There have been reports of adulteration of Chinese star anise with Japanese star anise. (See studies below.)
In China, the poisonous star-anise is used as local application in the treatment of toothache and certain forms of dermatitis and parasitism. The volatile oil is used for colics in children.
In China, powdered fruits considered stimulant and carminative.
• Anti-Inflammatory / Antioxidant / Anti-Aging Cosmetic Potential: Study showed essential oil of Illicium anisatum may be considered an anti-aging and anti-inflammatory candidate for cosmetic materials, pending additional studies for safety and efficacy. EIA exhibited moderate DPPH scavenging and anti-elastase activities, with effective inhibition of LPS-induced NO and PGE2 production in RAW 264.7 cells.
• Toxicity Report: There have been reports of adverse neurologic reactions in infants with home use of star anise tea. There have been confirmed reports of Chinese star tea (Illicium verum) contaminated with Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum). Because of the potential danger, star anise should not be administered to infants.
• Lipase Inhibitory Activity: Of the aqueous ethanol extracts obtained from 19 medicinal plants, evaluated for pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity, Juniperus communis (bark) and illicium religiosum (wood) exhibited the strongest activity.
• Hair Growth Promoter: Extract of Illicium anisatum has been shown to increase subcutaneous blood flow in mice. In the study, follicles treated with water-soluble extract of leaves, fruits and roots of IA or shikimic acid grew significantly longer than controls. Results suggest the WS extract of IA promotes hair growth and may be a useful additive in hair growth products.
• Anisatin / Neoanisatin / Toxic Sesquiterpenes: Study isolated two toxic compounds, anisatin and neoanisatin.