STAR ANISE ALLERGY
Star anise is a spice in the Schisandraceae
family of plants. These plants are usually found in Eastern Asian. The star-shaped fruits of the plant are dried and used as spices. Star anise oil is used as an essential oil and fragrance in lots of health and beauty products.
Like Aniseed oil (anise oil)
, star anise contains the essential oil anethole, which may cause contact allergic dermatitis in some people.
Shikimic acid is derived from the plant Illicium
and is used in antiviral medications.
Chinese and Japanese star anise are slightly different species, Illicium verum
and Illicium anisatum
respectively. There have been many incidents involving children who have had Japanese star anise or Chinese star anise contaminated with the other species and have been poisoned. Poisoning with this spice can look like a food intolerance, with symptoms of nausea, vomiting and gastrointestinal upset.
Star anise is a low FODMAP food. FODMAP stands for F
olyols. Foods high in FODMAPs can cause symptoms of food intolerance, affecting the gastro intestinal system and this can be mistaken for a true IgE food allergy.
You can read more about Food Intolerances
on the dedicated Food Intolerance Page.
Star anise is associated with allergic contact dermatitis due the levels of essential oil in the spice.
There is a single case study of a patient who reacted to tamiflu, which contains shikimic acid after being previously sensitised to star anise and had a diagnosis of Celery-Mugwort-Spice Syndrome
There are currently no evidence that eating foods containing star anise is cross reactive with any other foods.
Other plants which contain anethole and can cause allergic contact dermatitis include aniseed and fennel.
Healthline - Star Anise
DermNet NZ - Contact Allergic Reactions
Science Direct - Illicium verum
Science Direct - Anethole
Science Direct - Shikimic Acid
Articles and Journals
Intake of Dietary Salicylates from Herbs and Spices among Adult Polish Omnivores and Vegans, 2020
Symptomatology of star anise poisoning in pediatric patients, 2020
Liver failure secondary to poisoning by a homemade product made of star and green anise in a 4-month-old infant, 2016
A Case of Infantile Star Anise Toxicity, 2012
Spice allergy, 2011
Anaphylaxis after Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®) therapy in a patient with sensitization to star anise and celery-carrot-mugwort-spice syndrome, 2008
Cheilitis caused by contact allergy to anethole in spearmint flavoured toothpaste, 2006
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