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Phytother Res. 2020 Jan 29. doi: 10.1002/ptr.6614. [Epub ahead of print]

Star anise (Illicium verum): Chemical compounds, antiviral properties, and clinical relevance.

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Research Institute of Biotechnology & Medical Converged Science, Dongguk University-Seoul, Goyang-si 10326, Republic of Korea.
Department of Pharmacognosy, Bengal School of Technology, Sugandha, Hooghly 712102, West Bengal, India.
Department of Phytochemistry, Gupta College of Technological Sciences, Asansol, West Bengal, India.
Centre for Ayurveda Biology and Holistic Nutrition, The University of Trans-Disciplinary Health Sciences and Technology (TDU), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India.
Laboratorio de Ondas de Choque (LOCH), Centro de Física Aplicada y Tecnología Avanzada (CFATA), Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México Campus UNAM Juriquilla Boulevard Juriquilla no. 3001 Santiago de Querétaro, Qro., C.P. 76230, Mexico.
Department of Food Science & Biotechnology, Dongguk University-Seoul, Goyang-si 10326, Republic of Korea.


Medicinal herbs are one of the imperative sources of drugs all over the world. Star anise (Illicium verum), an evergreen, medium-sized tree with star-shaped fruit, is an important herb with wide distribution throughout southwestern parts of the Asian continent. Besides its use as spice in culinary, star anise is one of the vital ingredients of the Chinese medicinal herbs and is widely known for its antiviral effects. It is also the source of the precursor molecule, shikimic acid, which is used in the manufacture of oseltamivir (Tamiflu®), an antiviral medication for influenza A and influenza B. Besides, several other molecules with numerous biological benefits including the antiviral effects have been reported from the same plant. Except the antiviral potential, star anise possesses a number of other potentials such as antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, anthelmintic, insecticidal, secretolytic, antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory, gastroprotective, sedative properties, expectorant and spasmolytic, and estrogenic effects. This review aimed to integrate the information on the customary attributes of the plant star anise with a specific prominence on its antiviral properties and the phytochemical constituents along with its clinical aptness.


Illicium verum; Tamiflu; antiviral; oseltamivir; shikimic acid; star anise


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