Licorice: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information on licorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra is a member of the Fabaceae family and is an herbaceous perennial, growing to 1 m in height, with pinnate leaves about 7–15 centimeters (3–6 in) long, with 9–17 leaflets. The flowers are 0.8–1.2 cm (½–⅓ in) long, purple to pale whitish blue, produced in a loose inflorescence. The fruit is an oblong pod, 2–3 centimeters (1 in) long, containing several seeds. The roots are stoloniferous.

common names & nomenclature
The word lemon may be Middle Eastern in its origin.

The word liquorice or licorice is derived (via the Old French licoresse), from the Greek glukurrhiza, meaning "sweet root".

Also known as:
licorice, sweet root, liquorice, lacris, reglisse, lacrosse, regolizia

Licorice, sweeter than sugar
Licorice: Where in the World
habitat and range for licorice

Glycyrrhiza glabra is native to southern Europe and parts of Asia.

Licorice: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting licorice

Licorice grows best in deep valleys with full sun.

Prefers well-drained soils.

Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in warm water and then sow in spring or autumn in a greenhouse. Transplant the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, and grow them on for their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in late spring or early summer when in active growth. Plants are rather slow to grow from seed, so many growers prefer division. Take divisions of the root in spring or autumn. Each division must have at least one growth bud. Divisions can be replanted immediately into the garden bed.

Licorice root, which is harvested in the autumn from second or third year plants, is dried for later use—either as cut pieces, root sticks or ground powder.

Store dried root pieces or dried leaves in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Licorice: The Rest of the Story
licorice history, folklore, literature & more

beyond candy flavoring—the medicinal uses of licorice
When you think of licorice, you probably think of the strongly flavored gummy candy that’s popular all over the world. However, licorice is more than a candy—it’s an important herb in medicine. It’s long been used to treat problem such as sore throats and coughs. But its uses go far beyond that.

Licorice root is the part of the herb that’s used for medicinal purposes. It grows in Europe and Asia natively, but today it can be found in Australia and North and South America.

It’s still used for cold symptoms such as coughs and sore throats, but it’s also used for more serious issues such as asthma. It can also be used to treat inflammation of the mucous membranes of any part of the body.

In addition, licorice is a powerful aid in fighting stomach problems. The root can help to alleviate a stomachache and it can also fight more serious stomach problems such as ulcers. When you’re suffering from constipation, licorice root can work as a mild laxative to help your system get moving again. If you have problems with your urinary tract, licorice can also be an effective treatment.

In particular, Addison’s disease can be treated with licorice root. This is a rare disorder of the endocrine system. Licorice can also be effective for skin conditions such as herpes, insect bites, and even sunburn.

Licorice is full of chemicals that have anti-inflammatory properties. It also has some antiviral properties and current research is looking at how licorice can be used to treat viral infections such as herpes, hepatitis, and even HIV.

Licorice root can be used in several forms. It can be found in liquid extracts, decoctions, and it can also be used in powdered form. You may also purchase licorice root in squares or sticks that can be used. Finally, licorice can be found as an ingredient in teas.

The flavor of licorice is sweet and very distinctive. Many people enjoy its flavor and find that it’s one herbal medicine that’s not hard to swallow. As a remedy, licorice is very strong and useful. It’s so effective that many people would rather use licorice for a cough than codeine. It’s also as effective as antacid tablets when it comes to heartburn.

You shouldn’t take licorice for too long because it can lead to high blood pressure and water retention. Just make sure that you consult your healthcare provider before using licorice for a long period of time.