Licorice comes from the bean plant Glycyrrhiza glabra, which in Greek means “sweet root.” Fresh licorice roots, which have a sweet taste similar to anise, are gathered and cleaned to remove dirt and other impurities. The roots are then dried and finely grounded into a fine powder known as licorice extract.

Licorice extract is used mostly as a flavoring for candies, cakes, ice cream and beverages, such as root beer and tea. It can also be given as a natural remedy to treat upset stomachs, colds and coughs, which is why it’s a popular ingredient in many throat lozenges.

Please note: Excessive use of licorice extract may cause fluid retention and low potassium levels, triggering irregular heartbeats, kidney damage, and muscle weakness.

Did You Know…

The use of licorice goes as far back as ancient Egypt when subjects would prepare a licorice drink for ritual use to honor the spirits of the pharaohs. Ancient Chinese herbalists would also use licorice to cure respiratory and stomach ailments.

– Information compiled by M. Schwartz

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