Lovely licorice

  • Tuesday, October 21, 2003 9:00pm
  • Life

Licorice International, an online company that offers a variety of internationally produced licorice, provides the following facts about the much-loved – or much-hated – sweet.

  • Licorice is one of the most widely consumed herbs in the world.

  • The licorice plant, a shrub, is officially a weed. It is about four feet tall with purplish flowers and grows in hot, dry places.

  • Licorice root is native to southern Europe, Asia and the Mediterranean, and is extensively cultivated in Russia, Spain, Iran and India.

  • Some varieties of licorice root are 50 times sweeter than sugar, making it a useful component of candies and flavorings.

  • Licorice root can be chewed or made into tea as a tonic for the adrenal glands. It is also used to soothe indigestion.

  • Licorice’s botanical name comes from Greek words meaning “sweet root.”

  • Red licorice is not really licorice.

  • Since the 14th century, licorice has been used to ease coughs, colds and bronchitis, and is found in many European cough preparations.

  • Licorice has been show to relieve the pains that accompany certain types of ulcers.

  • The Dutch like their licorice salty, Americans like it sweet, and the British and Germans like it bitter.

  • Copious amounts of licorice were found in King Tut’s tomb, as the ancient Egyptians used it as a pharmaceutical. Hieroglyphics record the use of licorice as a popular beverage among the men of ancient Egypt.

  • Modern licorice candy dates from 17th century Holland. At the time, Holland was one of the world’s most powerful countries, and Dutch sailors spread this delicacy to other European nations. Today, the Dutch eat at least five pounds of licorice per person per year.

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