PART 2. THE HERBS
The real herb (rather than the candy) is naturally sweet—50 times sweeter than sugar, in fact—and chock full of healing compounds. Even more shocking, the ingredient that makes licorice so sweet (glycyrrhizic acid) is one of the root’s secret weapons thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-arthritic benefits that mimic hydrocortisone and corticosteroids in the body.
Did You Know?
While much of licorice’s benefits are still considered lore—although the herb has been used extensively throughout Europe and Asia for centuries—an injectable form of the plant was shown in clinical trial to effectively fight hepatitis C.
MEDICINAL: Soothes inflammation, irritation, and pain; fights infections like shingles, herpes, colds, and bronchitis; treats ulcers, stomach cramps, prostate cancer, eczema, sore throat, constipation, adrenal fatigue, laryngitis, and throat stress and infections.
COSMETIC: Soothes rosacea, triggers cell turnover, rejuvenates skin, protects cell DNA, prevents breakouts, smooths texture.
•Apply as an ointment, salve, or skin cream
•Drink as a tea or tonic
•Eat in food
The active ingredient glycyrrhizic acid can stress the kidneys and heart due to its potential to deplete potassium and retain sodium. Check with your doctor before using if you’ve got high blood pressure, water retention, or heart palpitations.
Locating & Growing
Herbalists say that licorice falls into the category of “Mediterranean plant.” In other words it likes full sun, high heat, and sandy to partially sandy soil. If you’re raising this herb indoors, know that if you take it from seed to harvest, you’ll need about three years before it’s medicinally ready to use.