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Star anise: pretty but potentially poisonous

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You've heard of the herb with the pretty name, but the possible effects of consuming some types of star anise may be anything but

You've heard of the herb with the pretty name, but the possible effects of consuming some types of star anise may be anything but. Health Canada recently advised consumers not to drink teas containing star anise unless they can be certain that it is Chinese star anise (Illicum verum).

Both the US and Europe have reported adverse reactions from ingesting star anise including mild nausea, convulsions, and seizures. Star anise is found in blended herbal teas and therapeutic and natural health products, and is also sold in bulk for use as a tea. It is also used for decorative and aromatic purposes. Japanese star anise (Illicium anisatum) is one variety that is safe for decorating as long as it is not ingested. Make sure to use only Chinese star anise for consumption. consult a product's manufacturer if unsure.

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