Americans love their licorice candy, but licorice isn’t just candy, it is an herb. The licorice root is used medicinally.

Licorice root is an herb that has been around since ancient times. It was found in large quantities in the tomb of King Tut. It is presumed that King Tut took the licorice root with him on his journey to the next world so that he could make his sweet drink “Mai sus” when he got there. To the Egyptians, licorice was a cure all, much like the Chinese relate to ginseng. Remarkably, the licorice root was extremely well preserved when it was found by archaeologists. this would be due to the unusual preservation qualities of the shape of the pyramid.

During the Middle Ages, licorice was taken to alleviate the bad effects of highly spiced and overcooked food and contaminated meat. Licorice was of great value. A tax was placed on licorice imports to aid in repairing the London bridge during the reign of Edward I in 1309. In the 1800s, Culpepper included information about licorice in his famous herbal writings. Southern Europeans drank large amounts of licorice tea for a blood purifier.

It was the English who introduced licorice to the American Indians. John Josselyn, of Boston, in the sixteenth century lists licorice as one of the precious herbs he brought from England. He would brew a beer for the Indians when they had a bad cold. It was strongly flavored with elecampane, licorice, aniseed, sassafras and fennel.  (See History of Licorice)

In his book, The Green Pharmacy, James Duke tells of several uses for licorice. It can be used for arthritis, canker sores, some mouthwash contains licorice; athlete’s foot, bronchitis, cough, chronic fatigue syndrome, fungal infection, gingivitis, heartburn, HIV, liver problems Lyme Disease, Psoriasis, ulcers, yeast infection, shingles, sore throat, tooth decay, viral infections and it has cancer fighting potential.

Go to a health food store, and you will find natural licorice. Try some, see how beneficial it is.  Like a lot of good things, you can take too much licorice. Never have more than 3 cups of licorice tea a day.

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