Licorice Root (stick)

Licorice Root (stick)

glycyrrhiza glabra

  • Plant type: Perennial
  • Other names:
  • Medicinal: No
  • Culinary: No
  • Ceremonial: No
  • Parts Used:
  • Side Effects: Do not use in pregnancy
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About Licorice Root

Licorice is an herbaceous perennial that waves from the bean family Fabaceae. Its root is a sweet treat that possesses a characteristic aroma which makes it a flexible ingredient in making candies and tobacco.

The licorice plant is liable to attain a short height of 1m. It is furnished with pinnate leaves and whitish-blue to purple leaves. The stoloniferous roots of licorice are more in the limelight than any other part.

The history of licorice root can be traced back to 2300BC when Emperor Shennong of China had devoted acres of farm for the cultivation of licorice. It was thought that licorice is bestowed with magical powers that can rejuvenate an aging man. Ancient Greeks used it for treating chronic cough. Also, archaeological studies state the presence of licorice root with Egyptian pharaoh Tutankhamun.

Modern herbalism employs licorice in supporting gastrointestinal issues, especially heartburn, ulcer, and food poisoning. Licorice root contains antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties which make it a perfect match for treating a variety of conditions like eczema and acne. It also aids in curing asthma, supports oral health, and fights cavities.

Licorice roots are high with glycyrrhizin (a compound that is 50 times sweeter than sugar) and glycyrrhitic acid which imparts the roots their principle pharmacological actions.

Growing

Licorice seeds can be planted anytime during March till May, both indoors and outdoors. Licorice seeds require warm temperature, full sun exposure, and moist soil having alkaline nature.

Licorice seeds are sown at least 5mm apart and are watered regularly for quick germination. They can be started indoors and provided with seedling heat mat for better sprouting. The seedlings can then be transplanted outdoors in garden beds when all the dangers of frost have departed.

Licorice plant is not much demanding and can manifest an over-aggressive growth rate upon receiving extraordinarily favorable conditions.

The seeds of licorice can sprout within 10 to 14 days provided the fact they are kept moist, given warmth, and god sun exposure. The plant grows additionally and gives out flowers from mid to late spring.

The flowers of the licorice plant are hermaphrodite and attract insects to pollinate it to produce pod-like fruits that bear numerous bean-shaped green to brown seeds. These seeds are dispersed via animals as they stick to their feet and get spread readily either near or away from the parent plant to start the circle of life.

Harvesting

Licorice root is harvested when the plant is four to five years mature.

Licorice roots are highly anticipated for a nice harvest. The area surrounding the plant is dug and the thickest root is cut whereas the deep taproot is left untouched so that no damage is brought to the growth of the plant.

Licorice root is simply just washed, pat dried, and left to dry in the sun until it feels hard and rough to touch. It can be crushed and stored in an airtight jar.

Usage

Licorice root is the oldest means of medicine and is still used for treating various forms of ailments.

  • Tincture - Infuse dried licorice root in grain alcohol for 4 to 6 weeks. Strain the liquid and place it in a dark and dry place.
  • Tea - A teaspoon of powdered licorice root is stirred in hot boiling water and consumed.
  • Decoction - Dried or fresh licorice root is simmered in water for an hour to produce a fine licorice decoction for jaundice patients.
  • Salve - Licorice root infused oil is stirred with melted beeswax pellets to formulate a salve.
  • Syrup - Dried licorice root chips are rolled to boil with simple sugar syrup to form licorice cough syrup.
  • Infused oil - Dried licorice is infused with olive oil for 4 to weeks to produce licorice root infused oil.