Wednesday, November 22, 2017

This post is also available in: esEspañol (Spanish)

When thinking of licorice, I bet most people imagine the long red or black candy sold in candy stores. But that is only one product of the licorice plant. The licorice plant (related to beans and peas) has many uses, especially in natural remedies and some of the best herbal teas.  The licorice root can be used as a sweetener and is actually 30-50 times  sweeter than sugar. The sweetness is less instant but does last longer. Licorice root has been used for its remedies since Ancient times. When King Tut’s tomb was discovered there were great quantities of the root. When the English migrated to the United States they actually introduced the plant to The Native Americans by brewing a beer with the licorice root for the purpose of curing bad colds.

Benefits of Licorice

Licorice has one of the most impressive list of uses. Licorice root contains many anti-depressant compounds which makes it an excellent alternative to ST. John’s Wort. Hundreds of healing substances have been found in licorice as well, the herbs key therapeutic compound is called Glycyrrhizin ( which is found in the root). Glycyrrhizin has many beneficial effects on the body, making licorice a valuable herb for treating many ailments. Many products now include this compound, licorice has become a primary component in products that fight asthma, athletes foot, baldness, body odor, cold’s flu’s, gingivitis, and tooth decay. Who would have thought that a simple root could have so many uses? Caution should be used if the user has high blood pressure as the licorice root is counterindicative to the condition.

  • Has antidepressant qualities
  • Used to help with colds
  • Great for oral health
  • Works as an anti-fungal

Used Around the World

The Japanese have started to use the root to treat viral hepatitis, while the Chinese use the licorice to treat tuberculosis.  The Western culture has now started to use the licorice extract carbenoxolone to accelerate metabolisms. Ancient Chinese used the root not only for its beneficial factors, but also because they believed it harmonized the other ingredients in best herbal teas for health. Native Americans had many different uses for the root, The Cheyenne would drink a medicinal tea of licorice for upset stomachs, While the Lakota’ used the medicine for the flu, The Dakota’s would use the leaves to make a tea for earaches, The Blackfoot made a tea from bitter tasting roots to relieve sore throats.
photo credit: Licorice Root via photopin (license)

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