Common Names: licorice root, licorice, liquorice, sweet root, gan cao, gan zao, Chinese licorice
Latin Names: Glycyrrhiza glabra, Glycyrrhiza uralensis, Glycyrrhiza inflata
Licorice root is cultivated throughout Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. It is used as a flavoring in candy, other foods, beverages, and tobacco products.
Licorice root has a long history of use, going back to ancient Assyrian, Egyptian, Chinese, and Indian cultures. It was used traditionally for treating a variety of conditions, including lung, liver, circulatory, and kidney diseases.
Today, licorice root is promoted as a dietary supplement for conditions such as digestive problems, menopausal symptoms, cough, and bacterial and viral infections. Licorice gargles or lozenges have been used to try to prevent or reduce the sore throat that sometimes occurs after surgery. Licorice is also an ingredient in some products for topical use (application to the skin).
Perennial (zones 7-10)
Part shade to full sun
Licorice has long been appreciated as a flavoring in confections, liqueurs and other creations. It's use as a flavorful tea goes back even farther. Licorice tea does not taste exactly like the black licorice sticks you might remember from childhood. That's because most licorice candy is usually flavored with anise.