2 Jun 2008


Licorice root (glycyrrhiza glabra), has for a long time been used as flavoring agent, food product and herbal supplement. There are many different varieties of licorice, from very sweet to a sharp almost peppery flavor.

Ayurvedic, Chinese and European herbalists found licorice's anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, expectorant, laxative, diuretic, demulcent and other properties to be extremely important in their treatment of many illnesses. It contains vitamins A, B complex and E, with many minerals and bioflavonoids.

Licorice soothes and relieves irritation , especially of mucous membranes so is used to treat stomach disorders like inflammation or ulceration, loosening congestion in the lungs and relieving sore throats, abdominal problems like constipation, reduction of pain in conditions like arthritis, and easing menstrual cramps. Research has also shown that liquorice stimulates the adrenal glands, increases cortisol levels and mitigates problems with low blood pressure.

Beauticians often used licorice root in steam facials as it helps open the pores, soothes, cleanses, and lubricates the skin.

Licorice root contains a unique substance called glycyrrhizin which is 50 times sweeter than refined sugar but has no calories. Nowadays most of the licorice sweets and candies are flavored with anise oil to give the licorice flavor and not licorice at all. Most of the liquorice is used in cough drops, in the brewing industry and to flavor tobacco. Smokers should note that in cigarettes it is used to open up the lungs so it makes smoking easier but also allows for more absorption of dangerous chemicals and it is also used to blind the taste of low quality tobacco. Genuine organic liquorice candies can still be found in health shops and the bigger supermarkets.

Warnings: Do not take liquorice root tinctures, powder, capsules etc without first talking to your health provider if you have heart disease, high blood pressure, or diabetes. Not recommended if pregnant or breast feeding. As with all herbal preparations always stick to the given dosage. Glycyrrhizin in liquorice is associated with side effects such as increased blood pressure and water retention so de-glycyrrhizinated liquorice (DGL) is the safer form if using as a medication.


Natural Licorice Candy
From Tao Herb Farm
Treat your family to Licorice Candy to help cold and flu symptoms!

Equal parts Ground Licorice Root and Ground Anise Root
Brown and White flour

Warm up about 1 cup of molasses. Add approx 1 tsp each Licorice and Anise root, or to taste. Add flour till you have a consistency you can roll into tubes. Too much brown flour will give it a bitter taste. Cut tubes into desired length. Can roll in icing sugar for a prettier look if desired. Let cool and candy will harden. This candy is delicious and has the true Licorice flavor.

Liquorice Rice
By Nick Nairn of Ready Steady Cook - BBC Food

140g/5oz basmati rice
1 liquorice root
hot water
coriander leaves, to garnish

Place the rice and liquorice into a medium pan and pour over enough hot water to cover. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10-12 minutes, or until the rice is tender, adding extra water if necessary. Remove from the heat, cover and drain if necessary. Serve garnished with coriander leaves. Serves 2.

Licorice Mint Iced Tea
From Martha Stewart
Peppermint ranks high among America's favorite types of mint tea, but you can substitute equal amounts of any variety for this recipe. Try interesting flavors such as chocolate mint, orange mint, pineapple mint, or spearmint-or combine several types for a more complex, rich brew.

2 1/2 tsps dried licorice root
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 cup dried peppermint leaves
1/2 cup organic raw honey (optional)
4 sprigs of fresh mint (optional)

In a large pot bring 6 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Stir in the licorice and cinnamon; lower to a simmer, partially cover the pot, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat, stir in peppermint, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, place a large strainer lined with cheesecloth or a damp paper towel over another pot or heatproof bowl. Strain tea, pressing on herbs to extract all liquid. Stir in honey until dissolved and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Fill four tall glasses with ice. Pour tea over ice and garnish each glass with a mint sprig, if desired. Serve immediately. Serves 4.

Cough and Sore Throat Syrup
From RegainingHealthNaturally

2 parts slippery elm bark
2 parts valerian root
1 part wild cherry bark
2 parts licorice root
1 part ginger
1 part cinnamon bark
4 parts fennel seeds
1/8 part orange peel

Use 2 ounces of herb mixture to one quart of water. Simmer the liquid down to one pint. This will give you a very strong, thick tea. Strain the herbs out and add in your sweetener. Either 1 or 2 cups. You may need to warm the liquid for everything to dissolve and mix well. Add in any brandy, essential oils, fruit concentrates, etc you wish. Mix again and bottle.

Laxative Tea
From AllExperts

3 parts psyllium seed
3 parts licorice root
2 parts rhubarb root (Rheum officinale)
2 parts senna pods, crushed
2 parts angelica root

Drink as a simple tea/infusion in the evening.

Licorice Root Tea
From NaturalNews

Make a tea by putting ½ teaspoon of licorice root tea in a cup of hot water and steep for 10 minutes; strain. Drink three cups daily to relieve cough, congestion and asthma symptoms.

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2 Virgos Designs said...

Licorice should be avoided by those with liver disease or hepatitis.

Paul Sears Photography said...

very cool - I'm definitely bookmarking your blog! I used to try and grow herbs, but of course I have like no knack for gardening whatsoever. But it's great to learn about all the uses of a natural plant. Thanks for posting!

Marion said...

We were just talking about how to make licorice...and here you have a recipe for it.

The licorice candy around nowadays is you say, not licorice at all.

I have luckily found some made the old way, but I now have to order it from the Internet as I can't find it here. It is a complete favourite of mine. I drink licorice tea, as well.

Great post, once again, Jackie!

Jackie said...

Have to disagree about liver problems. To quote one of many references about it : "Licorice has been found to neutralize liver toxins. Since the 1950s, medical doctors in both the East and the West have used a compound derived from licorice to treat chronic hepatitis. Licorice increased the production of interferon, which is commonly used to treat hepatitis B."

Marion I am also mad about licorice tea as well....when I can find it.

Paul, I find some herbs grow well and others just die for no apparent reason LOL, but at least now I can get organic fresh or dry herbs in shops so have great fun experimenting with them in food etc

Chandira said...

I love licorice... I've used it a lot as a tea, and it helps with PMS cramps and also irritable bowel symptoms.

Boil a few twigs in water for about 5 minutes, and it's great.. You don't need sweetener, either.

eastcoastlife said...

I don't like licorice. I had some licorice candy and chocolate once, and never touch licorice again.

Thanks for your prayers, my son has been discharged from hospital this afternoon. :)

Waterrose said...

Thanks For visiting my blog. A group here is planning an off-roading trip through S. Africa next year. I'm hoping that we will be able to go --can't wait to see that part of the world!

Hmmm Licorice...has never been my favorite flavor, but it is good to know its medicinal properties. Or maybe I've never tried real licorice...

Kristen's Raw said...

I love licorice root tea, always been one of my favorites :)

Jen said...

this is one interesting page you have here! i jumped here from eastcoastlife.

Another treasure blog I found. Btw, I dropped my entrecard as well. God bless! :-)

Nicole said...

Wonderful site and so many recipes to try!



What an amazing post. I never will think of thyme or licorice the same. Thanks for all the tips.