Marta Sharafan, Magdalena Anna Malinowska, Halina Ekiert, Elżbieta Sikora, Agnieszka Szopa

The use of star anise (Illicium verum) and trans-anethole in cosmetology

The growing requirements imposed on cosmetic products are associated with the need for continuous selection of natural raw materials to meet the changing trends on the cosmetics market. The appearance of newer and newer targeted actives reflects the dynamics in the skincare field. Certain trends, however, despite the passage of time, remain unchanged and will always constitute a solid basis in the canon of maintaining good skin condition. Regardless of the type of skin, its age or condition, it is extremely important for the cosmetic to provide adequate antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory protection. Few raw materials combine such a diverse biologically active activity, which is why star anise (Illicium verum) deserves special attention. It is the raw material relatively well known and used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TMC) as a therapeutic agent. It also has an important position as a food and fragrance plant.

In the European Pharmacopoeia 4.0 since 2002 and in the Polish Pharmacopoeia VIII (Farmakopea Polska VIII), since 2008 there are two monographs of raw materials obtained from I. verum: fruit – Anisi stellati fructus, and essential oil – Anisi stellati aetheroelum. Moreover, I. verum also appears in various forms as a source of raw materials for the production of cosmetics in the created by European Commission, CosIng database (Cosmetic Ingredient Database).

I. verum is a rich source of valuable biologically active compounds, such as: monoterpenoids, sesquiterpenoids, phenylpropanoids, and flavonoids, which determine the biological activity of these raw materials. In medicine, their expectorant and spasmolytic effects are mainly used. The documented by the latest scientific research; anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties of fruit extracts and / or essential oil, determine the use of this species in the production of cosmetics.

Trans-anethole (E-anethole) is recognized to be the most important compound in the essential oil of I. verum, determining its activity. The valuable sensory features (aromatic, sweet taste) and biological properties (antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory) of this compound, are used in the food, cosmetic, perfume and pharmaceutical industries.

Opinion-forming organizations such as: FEMA (Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association) and FDA (Food Drug Administration) have granted both I. verum and trans-anethole the status of safe raw materials. This multifunctional biological effect makes anise an extremely interesting raw material in cosmetic formulations, however, its potential is still underestimated.

Keywords: star anise, trans-anethole, star anise oil, chemical composition, traditional application in China and Europe, new directions of biological activity, cosmetic importance.

© Farm Pol, 2022, 78 (4): 219–231

The use of star anise (Illicium verum) and trans-anethole in cosmetology

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