Star Anise is a fruit, naturally grown on Asian evergreen tree used in Asian foods and teas. There are two types of Star Anise, those that come from Japan (Illicium anisatum) and those that come from China (Illicium verum). When cooked thoroughly, Star Anise poses no threat to your health. It has been long used to treat colic children. However, when brewed in teas, nervous system problems have been linked to Star Anise. The Japanese version has been long recognized as being toxic, but it is hard to distinguish from the Chinese grown Star Anise.
Star Anise can have severe effects on your nervous system. Seizures, violent vomiting and other neurological problems have been linked to Star Anise. The severe side effects are more common in young children.
Status of Drug
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is conducting further testing to determine the exact nature of the Star Anise. Because it is difficult to determine the difference between the known toxic Japanese versions and the safer Chinese grown crops, especially when ground for tea, the FDA recommends that you should avoid all teas containing Star Anise. If you have suffered any effects that might be attributable to Star Anise, contact your doctor immediately.