is a spice that closely resembles anise in flavor, obtained
from the star-shaped pericarp of Illicium verum,
a native of N.E. China. It is widely used in Chinese cuisine, and to
a lesser degree in South Asia and Indonesia. Star
anise is an ingredient of the traditional five-spice powder of
Chinese cooking. The seeds are sometimes chewed after meals to aid digestion.
anise contains anethole, the same ingredient
which gives the unrelated anise its flavor. Recently, star
anise has come into use in the West as a less expensive
substitute for anise in baking as well as in liquor production.
anise has been used in a tea as a remedy for colic and rheumatism.
star anise (Illicium anisatum), a similar tree, is not edible because
it is highly toxic; instead, it has been burned as incense in Japan.
Cases of illness, including "serious neurological effects, such as seizures",
reported after using star anise tea may be a result of using this species. Japanese
star anise contains anisatin, which causes severe inflammation of the kidneys,
urinary tract and digestive organs.