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Several of our modern candies have old roots that actually are based in health and healing. One of these is licorice.

About LicoriceLicorice root has been prized for its rich flavor for over 3,000 years – King Tut, Alexander the Great, Roman Emperor Caesar, the Ancient Chinese, and the Native Americans were known to appreciate many of its benefits. Licorice is also known as sweetroot, which is derived from the Old French licoresse and Greek work glukurrhiza, meaning, “sweet root”. The sweetness in licorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound with pharmaceutical effects that is 30x sweeter than sucrose. 

About LicoriceLicorice root has been prized for its rich flavor for over 3,000 years – King Tut, Alexander the Great, Roman Emperor Caesar, the Ancient Chinese, and the Native Americans were known to appreciate many of its benefits. Licorice is also known as sweetroot, which is derived from the Old French licoresse and Greek work glukurrhiza, meaning, “sweet root”. The sweetness in licorice comes from glycyrrhizin, a compound with pharmaceutical effects that is 30x sweeter than sucrose. 

HistoryLicorice has been used medicinally for over a thousand years, and is one of China’s most popular healing herbs. Chinese physicians prescribe it to soothe the throat and treat cough, malaria, food poisoning, respiratory problems, liver and uterine complaints, and some cancers. In the West, during the third century, Hippocrates extolled licorice for cough, asthma, and other respiratory complaints. Licorice is also said to be good for ulcers. In 1946, a Dutch pharmacist noticed that licorice candies and cough remedies were unusually popular with customers who had gastrointestinal ulcers. They told him that licorice provided better, longer-lasting relief than other ulcer medicines. Sadly, the common licorice candy sold today may not contain any licorice at all.  

BenefitsAs a herbal medicine, licorice has an impressive list of well documented uses. Besides what it historically has been used for, here are some other uses: bursitis, canker sores, chronic fatigue, depression, athlete’s foot, gingivitis, gout, viral infections, Lymes disease, menopause, psoriasis, tendinitis, yeast infections, prostate enlargement. It is said that hundreds of potentially healing substances have been identified in licorice, and that it probably is one of the most over-looked of all herbal wonders. The key therapeutic compound, glycyrrhizin, has several benefits on the body, one of which is that it seems to prevent the breakdown of adrenal hormones such as cortisol, which makes them more available to the body.  

Licorice is said to lower stomach acid levels and relieve heartburn and indigestion. It also has been used for irritation, inflammation and spasm in the digestive tract. It helps the liver by increaseing bile flow and lowers cholesterol levels. It also contains powerful antioxidants and phytoestrogens that can do some of the functions of the body’s natural estrogens and so helps during menopause.  

As with many herbs, licorice should be used and taken with care.  There have been some reports of over-consumption of licorice candy or highly concentrated licorice extract causing some health problems. Also it is noted that pregnant and nursing women, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease should be cautious in taking any licorice. But for most of us, we should enjoy this health promoting herb. Check out our products with REAL Licorice Root or Black Licorice Tea It is also available in our Bulk Herb section.

As with many herbs, licorice should be used and taken with care.  There have been some reports of over-consumption of licorice candy or highly concentrated licorice extract causing some health problems. Also it is noted that pregnant and nursing women, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease should be cautious in taking any licorice. But for most of us, we should enjoy this health promoting herb. Check out our products with REAL Licorice Root or Black Licorice Tea It is also available in our Bulk Herb section.

As with many herbs, licorice should be used and taken with care.  There have been some reports of over-consumption of licorice candy or highly concentrated licorice extract causing some health problems. Also it is noted that pregnant and nursing women, those with diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke or heart disease should be cautious in taking any licorice. But for most of us, we should enjoy this health promoting herb. Check out our products with REAL Licorice Root or Black Licorice Tea It is also available in our Bulk Herb section.

We’re here to help you!Amy Willis, Your Local Herbalist

November 9, 2015

Resources: The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, pp. 236-240.http://www.americanlicorice.com/about/what-is-licorice/http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-licorice-root.html

Resources: The Healing Herbs by Michael Castleman, pp. 236-240.http://www.americanlicorice.com/about/what-is-licorice/http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-licorice-root.html