(NaturalNews) Licorice (glycyrrhiza glabra) is a perennial plant which produces pretty blue flowers. Grown mainly in Europe, it is now cultivated in many parts of the world and can be used in many treatments and home remedies.
Besides tasting delicious, licorice is an excellent source of iron. The roots of the plant are crushed and boiled to extract the juice. The resultant black paste is used for coughs, as a mild laxative and for certain infections. Licorice extract contains the natural sweetener glycyrrhizin, said to be fifty times sweeter than sucrose.
Licorice is an antibacterial, antiviral and expectorant.
Uses of licorice
Gastric disorders and stomach ulcers: Licorice has long been used as a traditional treatment for gastric and duodenal ulcers. It is useful in treating the cause of the ulcers and promotes healing. According to Medindia.net, "This product is especially useful in treating ulcers of the digestive tract because of the flavonoids, which are not harmed by the removal of glycyrrhizin. Flavanoids have been known to kill Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that cause most ulcers and inflammations of the stomach".
Steep licorice root and blend with herbal teas to treat gastric disorders and to stimulate the kidneys and bowel.
Bronchitis: Mix 5 grams of powdered licorice root with raw honey and take up to three times per day. The herb may also be chewed directly. Expectorant and anti-inflammatory, licorice makes an excellent remedy for persistent coughs and lung infections.
The herb is also said to reduce the incidence of asthma attacks.
Tea made from licorice and blended with other anti-spasmodic herbs is often recommended for menstrual cramps.
Skin conditions: Licorice is used in creams or pastes for the relief of inflamed psoriasis or skin conditions where the skin is afflicted with weeping sores.
Detox: In certain Asian countries, licorice is used to rid the body of poisons such as salmonella or as an antidote to overuse of drugs.
More uses: Licorice powder has been used externally to treat genital herpes and cold sores (herpes simplex virus). It is said to strengthen the nerves, promote the memory, and help in cases of liver disease.
In Asia, licorice is commonly paired with black pepper, clove, fenugreek, ginger, sage or turmeric.
Be wary when going out to buy packets of licorice. Most commercially produced licorice candy is made with anise extract and/or artificial flavors, sugar and a binder such as flour or gum arabic. Additional ingredients are additives such as ammonium chloride, used in order to produce salt licorice candy, which is very popular in countries such as Holland, Denmark, Sweden and Germany.
Fleur Hupston is a professional freelance writer. She is passionate about natural, healthy living and is currently studying to be a naturopath. She divides her time between writing for Natural News and various other sites, home schooling her children and studying part time.