Licorice ~ Sweetest Thing ~ 4/11/07
To many people, licorice is a black lolly, a long licorice twist to chew on, or licorice all-sorts. If these sweets that you delight in are flavoured with real licorice (not artificial flavour), then this flavouring comes from a herb that is easy to grow in your garden. It is a legume plant to 60-100 cm high with small pea-like flowers. The part that gives flavouring is the underground root, which can grow as thick as your thumb.
When the root is dug it can be washed and enjoyed by chewing on the root; or it can be chopped into small pieces and made as a tea. The root has sweetening properties. The glycyrrhizin is 50 times sweeter than sugar. Of special significance is that people whose sugar in-take is restricted for various reasons, can use licorice as a sweetener. Licorice is renowned for its many therapeutic benefits. Licorice strengthens the adrenal glands, and helps to sustain and regulate blood sugar levels and reduce cravings of sweets. It has assisted people to overcome fatigue and slow metabolic rate, help eliminate mucous from the body, relieve inflammation and respiratory conditions, constipation, stomach ulcers and menopause symptoms. Smokers who want to quit, have chewed on a licorice stick and been able to quit. Research shows that licorice is effective in killing the bacteria in the mouth that causes tooth decay.