Botanical Name: Glycyrrhiza glabra
Glycyrrhiza glabra is an herbaceous legume that is native to the Middle East, southern Europe, and India. Licorice, sometimes spelled liquorice, is a favorite ingredient to sweeten herbal tea blends and is often used as a flavoring agent in candy. Licorice root has been an important herb in Eastern and Western traditions of herbalism for thousands of years. The root can be decocted as licorice tea and infused as licorice extract.
Licorice root is one of the most widely used herbs worldwide and is the single most used herb in Traditional Chinese Medicine today. It was used by the Egyptians as a flavoring for a drink called Mai-sus, and large quantities were found in the tomb of King Tut for his trip into the afterlife. Pliny the Elder recommended it to clear the voice and alleviate thirst and hunger. Dioscides, when traveling with Alexander the Great, recommended that his troops carry and use licorice to help with stamina for long marches, as well as for thirst in areas of drought. In the Middle Ages it was taken to alleviate the negative effects of highly spicy or overcooked food. It was also used for flavoring tobacco, and as a foaming agent in fire extinguishers and beer.
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