More Than a Candy
When people hear "licorice" they usually think of the candy, and boy don't they have an opinion on it too! There's a divide on whether or not licorice candy is delicious as big as the divide of whether pineapple belongs on pizza. I'll admit to liking the taste of black licorice - it's so good! I also like pineapple on pizza so take from that what you will.
(Side note: did you know that most licorice candy is actually made with anise and not licorice at all?)
However, when I think of licorice I don't think of the sweet treat. Instead, I think of a delicious tea helping soothe a sore throat.
Licorice root is actually a widely used ingredient in many products. Not only can in be found in many different blends of tea at your local grocery store, but it can also be found in the following:
A Sweet History
All around the world, from the spice trade in Asia to the use of it even in our own early colonial history here in the United States, licorice has been a staple. While sassafras was the main root in root beer, licorice was added for flavor.
Pharmaceutically, licorice root was used for treating liver diseases, sore throats, and rheumatism as well as a variety of other diseases and ailments that may or may not have been accurate.
Using Licorice Today
Licorice is still as popular today in many ways as it was back then. While there may not be anyone so in love with the plant that they're requesting it on their deathbed much like Napoleon, people may find themselves using it often and not even knowing it. (If you do love licorice as much as that, perhaps in it's candied form, then by golly good for you.) As I stated above, it can be found in some of our most used daily products without us even realizing. In the alternative medicine community, licorice root has definitely earned a place on the apothecary's shelf.
Licorice Glycyrrhiza glabra L. has a variety of proven medicinal benefits.
Top 5 Uses For Licorice
Some other uses for licorice include but are not limited to being a laxative as well as an analgesic (pain reliever).
Licorice root is an herb I use quite often during the cold and flu season. Since licorice is a root, you will want to make a decoction for optimum medicinal potency. However, it is still delicious blended into a tea, and still somewhat effective even at that.
WARNING: Licorice has been proven to effect your electrolytes, lows potassium and may raise blood pressure. Always consult with your doctor prior to starting an herbal regimen. Pregnant and breastfeeding women should not use licorice root, especially in large, consistent doses.
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Vallejo-Garcia , V., Barrio-Rodriguez, A., & Heras-Benito , M. (2021, September). Acute myocardial infarction and severe hypokalaemia due to liquorice consumption during COVID-19 confinement. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33715981/.
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Author: Tina Potter
Master Herbalist, I've graduated as an American Healthcare College Alumnus, I've become a member of American Herbalist Guild and author of survivalist series Survival Ember co-authored by professional survivalist Kenny Dietrich of Ashland, KY. I've been beyond blessed with the constant desire to learn and teach.
COMMON SENSE NOTICE: I do not claim to diagnose, treat, or cure disease. What you do with the information I post is up to you, but it is advised to consult with a doctor before acting on alternative methods of medicine. I wish you all the best!