Star anise is rich in antioxidants and vitamin A and C, which may help fight free radicals that are responsible for early ageing and diabetes. The oil produced from star anise contains thymol, terpineol and anethole, which is used for treating cough and flu. Despite its sweetness, star anise traditionally is used in savoury recipes, particularly with meats. It often is added whole to soups, stews and braising broths, to which it adds a sweet licorice-like and peppery flavour. Star anise can be used whole or ground.