Submitted to: Planta Medica
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/17/2008
Publication Date: 3/1/2009
Citation: Techen, N., Pan, Z., Scheffler, B.E., Kahn, I.A. 2009. Detection of Illicium anisatum as Adulterant of Illicium verum. Planta Medica. 75:392–395.
Interpretive Summary: The consumption of the medicinal plant material has dramatically increased in the past 20 years in the United States. This increase has caused supply problems and in some instances the purity of the raw material has been compromised. One reason this can occur is that many of these plants are harvested in the wild and similar looking species can be accidentally harvested. Often these other species will not have the beneficial characteristics or could contain chemical compounds that have undesirable health consequences. This paper describes a methodology in which herbal mixtures of Chinese Star anise can be checked for adulterantion with toxic Japanise Star anise.
Technical Abstract: Chinese Star anise, Illicium verum Hook, is a well known spice in many cultures and has also been used to treat infant colic. Recent publications report that Chinese Star anise might be adulterated with the toxic Japanise Star anise, Illicium anisatum. We have developed a molecular method that helps with the detection of Illicium anisatum as adulterant of Illicium verum. We PCR amplified the Internal Transcribed Spacer (ITS) region and analyzed it with the endonucleases PstI and BfmI. Based on fragment length polymorphisms (RFLP) we were able to detect and distinguish between Illicium verum and Illicium anisatum in powdered samples.