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Concept: Austrobaileyales


Anethole [1-methoxy-4-(1-propenyl)benzene] occurs naturally as a major component of the essential oil of star anise (Illicium verum Hook.f., family Illiciaceae), comprising more than 90 % of its volatile components. Studies showed that this substance has antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, and anesthetic properties. In this study, the anti-inflammatory properties of anethole in animal models of nonimmune acute inflammation such as croton oil-induced ear edema and carrageenan-induced pleurisy were investigated. The investigated parameters were edema formation, leukocyte migration, and inflammatory mediators involved. Oral administration of anethole at a dose of 250 and 500 mg/kg reduced both the volume of pleural exudates and the number of migrated leukocytes. Levels of nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandins (PGE(2)) in the inflammatory exudate were reduced by treatment with anethole, but levels of tumor necrosis factor-α and interleukin-1β were not significantly altered. In ear edema, the oral treatment with anethole inhibited the formation of exudate and the activity of myeloperoxidase, but not after topical administration. These results suggest that the anethole may be effective in controlling some nonimmune acute inflammation-related disease, probably by an inhibitory action on production and/or release of PGE(2) and NO.

Concepts: Immune system, Inflammation, Anti-inflammatory, Anise, Star anise, Anethole, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


A new, practical, rapid, and high-yielding process for the pressurized hot water extraction (PHWE) of multigram quantities of shikimic acid from star anise (Illicium verum) using an unmodified household espresso machine has been developed. This operationally simple and inexpensive method enables the efficient and straightforward isolation of shikimic acid and the facile preparation of a range of its synthetic derivatives.

Concepts: Absinthe, Anise, Japanese star anise, Star anise, Anethole, Illicium, Austrobaileyales, Shikimic acid


Three new compounds, a sesquilignan (1) and two glucosylated phenylpropanoids (2, 3), and seven known compounds (4-10), were isolated from the fruits of Illicium verum Hook. Fil. (Illiciaceae). The structures of 1-3 were determined based on one and two dimensional (1D- and 2D-) NMR data and ECD spectra analyses. Compounds 3, 5, 6, and 8-10 exhibited potent inhibitory activities against topoisomerase II with IC50 values of 54.6, 25.5, 17.9, 12.1, 0.3 and 1.0 μM, respectively, compared to etoposide, the positive control, with an IC50 of 43.8 μM.

Concepts: DNA, Chemotherapy, Space, Real number, DNA supercoil, Topoisomerase, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


Schisandra chinensis (Turcz.) Baill. (Schisandraceae) fruit extract (SFE) has been reported to induce non-specific tissue protection against inflammation in vivo. However, the effects of SFE on Propionibacterium acnes-stimulated acne and UVB-irradiated photoageing have yet to be investigated.

Concepts: Schisandra, Austrobaileyales, Schisandraceae


Illicium verum Hook. fil. Illiciaceae (Illicium v.) has been traditionally used in herbal medicine for treating many inflammatory diseases, including skin inflammation and rheumatism. We investigated its use as a preventive agent against inflammatory and vascular diseases in a murine model of atherosclerosis using apolipoprotein E-knockout (ApoE (-/-)) mice fed on a high-fat diet (HFD).

Concepts: Inflammation, Atherosclerosis, Blood vessel, Apolipoprotein E, Endothelium, Star anise, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


The fruit of Illicium verum Hook. f. (star anise) is used by many as a spice. The fragrance of I. verum fruit is characteristically anise-like. In this study, hexane-extracted I. verum fruit oil (IVO), trans-anethole as the main component, and related compounds (propiophenone, 4'-methoxy-propiophenone, trans-β-methylstyrene) were analyzed in order to clarify the emotional effect of inhaling the fragrance of I. verum fruit. As a result, although 4 μL/L air IVO did not exhibit an anxiolytic-like effect, 1 μL/L air trans-anethole exhibited a significant effect (p < 0.05). Moreover, the anxiolytic-like effect of 1 μL/L air trans-anethole was significantly greater than 1 μL/L air propiophenone and 1 μL/L air 4'-methoxy-propiophenone (p < 0.05). Thus, the anxiolytic-like effect of trans-anethole was confirmed, and it is proposed that the methoxyl group and 1-propenyl group in the para position of the benzene ring are necessary for the effect. Copyright © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Absinthe, Spice, Anise, Japanese star anise, Star anise, Anethole, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


Three new germacrane sesquiterpenes and a new m-menthane monoterpene were isolated together with four known compounds from the pericarp of Illicium lanceolatum, an adulterant to star anise (Illicium verum). All compounds were isolated from Illicium plants for the first time. The absolute stereochemistry of all germacranes and m-menthane was established by a combination of NMR and the modified Mosher’s ester method. The biological activity was evaluated on SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cell line. (1S,5R,7R)-1,5-Dihydroxygermacra-4(15),10(14),11(12)-triene (at 62.5 µM) and (1R,5R,7R)-1,5-dihydroxygermacra-4(15),10(14),11(12)-triene (at 15.6 µM) promoted the proliferation of SH-SY5Y by 36.2% and 45.8%, respectively, after 48 h incubation, indicating potential neurotrophic activity.

Concepts: Absinthe, Anise, Japanese star anise, Star anise, Anethole, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


Ingestion of products containing Chinese star anise (Illicium verum) fruits contaminated or adulterated with Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) fruits can cause poisoning due to the neurotoxin anisatin that is present in Japanese star anise. Thus a rapid, simple and unambiguous distinction between the morphologically similar Chinese star anise and toxic Japanese star anise fruits is important for guaranteeing food safety. After adding ∼200μL of methanol to one star anise carpel placed at 7-10mm from the inlet of a mass spectrometer and applying a potential of ∼5kV to the carpel, an electrospray is created. The formation of the electrospray is immediate, robust and stable and lasts for at least a minute. The presence or absence of anisatin could be monitored by orbitrap high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS) in negative mode by observing the [M-H](-) ion at m/z 327.1074 (C15H19O8) or in positive mode the [M+K](+) ion at m/z 367.079 (C15H20KO8). Several parameters like wetting solvent, voltage, distance and set-up were optimised. The anisatin signal was ∼250 times higher in Japanese than in Chinese star anise. An existing Direct Analysis in Real Time (DART) HRMS for anisatin was used for benchmarking. Alternatively a linear ion trap mass spectrometer could be used in negative selective reaction monitoring (SRM) mode albeit with lower selectivity than the HRMS method. The transition of the [M-H](-) ion at m/z 327 to the fragment at m/z 265 was monitored. Direct plant spray and DART ionisation are both robust and provided the same yes/no answer in seconds without any prior sample preparation. Compared with the DART-HRMS procedure, the direct plant spray method is simpler in terms of equipment, yields a more stable signal, does not require heating of the sample but is slightly less selective and requires working with high voltages.

Concepts: Mass spectrometry, Fourier transform ion cyclotron resonance, Anise, Japanese star anise, Star anise, Incense, Illicium, Austrobaileyales


Illicium verum (Chinese star anise) dried fruit is popularly used as a remedy to treat infant colic. However, instances of life-threatening adverse events in infants have been recorded after use, in some cases due to substitution and/or adulteration of I. verum with Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise), which is toxic. It is evident that rapid and efficient quality control methods are of utmost importance to prevent re-occurrence of such dire consequences. The potential of short wave infrared (SWIR) hyperspectral imaging and image analysis as a rapid quality control method to distinguish between I. anisatum and I. verum whole dried fruit was investigated. Images were acquired using a sisuChema SWIR hyperspectral pushbroom imaging system with a spectral range of 920-2514 nm. Principal component analysis (PCA) was applied to the images to reduce the high dimensionality of the data, remove unwanted background and to visualise the data. A classification model with 4 principal components and an R(2)X_cum of 0.84 and R(2)Y_cum of 0.81 was developed for the 2 species using partial least squares discriminant analysis (PLS-DA). The model was subsequently used to accurately predict the identity of I. anisatum (98.42%) and I. verum (97.85%) introduced into the model as an external dataset. The results show that SWIR hyperspectral imaging is an objective and non-destructive quality control method that can be successfully used to identify whole dried fruit of I. anisatum and I. verum. In addition, this method has the potential to detect I. anisatum whole dried fruits within large batches of I. verum through upscaling to a conveyor belt system.

Concepts: Principal component analysis, Anise, Japanese star anise, Star anise, Incense, Illicium, Austrobaileyales, Conveyor belt