Scientific name: Glycyrrhiza glabra

Licorice the candy is very well known with a love-it-or-hate-it type of flavor. Licorice root is 50 times sweeter than sugar cane believe it or not, and it isn’t actually a sugar at all. It’s the glycyrrhizic acid which is sweet and the main reason licorice has so many health benefits, from anti-inflammatory to warding off infections like herpes and shingles!

Nutrients

  • Glycyrrhizic acid (glycyrrhic acid)
  • Phytoestrogens
  • Coumarins
  • Flavonoids
  • Essential oil
  • Polysaccharides

Health Benefits

licorice root benefits

  • Anti-inflammatory (demulcent)
  • Anti-viral
  • Soothes irritated tissues: sore throat, bronchial inflammation, stomach and bowel irritation
  • Helpful for gastric and peptic ulcers
  • Strengthens and tones the endocrine-gland system
  • Improves adrenal exhaustion (especially during menopause): helps the adrenal glands produce hormones (such as estrogen) and remove the old through the kidneys and liver

Quick Remedies

(consult a doctor if experiencing any serious conditions)

CAUTION: if you have a history of high blood pressure, water retention, heart palpitations, or other signs of heart or kidney stress, only use licorice with the consultation of a professional. The glycyrrhizic acid can cause sodium retention and potassium loss, adding stress to the heart and kidneys.

  • Stomach ulcers: drink licorice root tea and freshly juiced cabbage leaves daily until cured.
  • Sore throat, strengthen vocal cords: add some to your tea (in small amounts if too sweet for your liking). Blend with other herbs to make it more tolerable if needed! Children like to chew on the plain root because of its sweetness which is especially helpful if they have a sore throat.
  • Laxative: with gentle laxative properties, mix 1:1:0.5 parts of chopped dandelion root, licorice, root, and yellow dock root into a decoction and use 1-2 tsp per cup of water to make hot tea as needed.

How to Grow

Planting

Where do you live?

Licorice thrives the best in zones 7-10 – warmer areas, with lots of sun. It can be grown in cooler areas but won’t do as well as in hot climates.

Put em in the ground

Licorice seeds grow easily and the plants will become pretty large, so it’s suggested to plant them 1-2 ft apart.

  • Hot weather
  • Moist soil
  • Full sun or partial shade
  • Slightly sandy soil, pH 6-8
  • Licorice will set nitrogen into the soil

Harvest

Licorice will take a few years to become potent enough medicinally. Wait 3-4 years and then harvest the roots in the fall or winter after the leaves have died back (after 4 years they will become too tough and woody). Keep to just the tops of the roots, and many of the deeper ones will grow back.

Slice or chop the fresh roots, dry them, and store in an airtight glass jar.

Care

This tends to be a good shelter plant for good bugs like lacewings and parasitic wasps. Maintenance is pretty minimal besides being aware that it might be hard to control once established. Keep this in mind when planting.