All you need to know about Licorice
Licorice is a native herb that is mostly common in the Mediterranean, Central and Southern Russia and Asia.It is called Susu in some Eastern part of Africa. The Licorice plant is called Glycyrrhiza Glabra which is a family of Fabacae (Bean family).
The health benefits can not be over emphasized as it is a very good herb to treat digestive system compliant which include heart burn, stomach ulcers, Chronic gastritis, Colic and also it is use to treat soar throat. It is also a very good herb for skin disorder such as eczema, black spot and acne.
Licorice root is known for its sweetness, it contains about 4% of Glycyrrhizinic acid which is about 50 times sweeter than Sucrose (Sugar cane). This is why it is called Sweetroot and mainly used as a sweetner for candies and beverages.
Health Benefits of licorice
The Glycyrrhizinic acid in the roots has an anti-inflammatory and immune boosting property that can help the body system to tackle digestive system compliant such as stomach ulcers, heart burn and food poisoning.
Licorice contains only traces of essential oil; volatile constituents. Which can help in cleaning the respiratory system and produce healthy mucus.
The Adrenal gland can get exhausted while producing Adrenalin and cortisol when we face stress. The extract from the root can stimulate the adrenal gland which promotes healthy Cortisol in the body system. The essential oil from Licorice can also be use to reduce stress when inhaled from the palm to get some sleep.
The Glycyrrhizinic acid have the ability to suppress toxic bacteria, which is why it is being use to tackle eczema and acne on the skin, it is also common for demartological treatment for cases like tooth decay.
A dried licorice root contains liquiritin which is very effective for some kind of a sudden, involuntary contraction of a muscle, a group of muscles or an hallow organ in the body system.
Major forms of Licorice
There are several forms of licorice, but the major forms include Liquid extract, Powder and Tea.
The liquid extract is the most popular form of licorice, It is mostly used as commercial sweeteners for candies and beverages. It contains Glycyrrhizinic acid which is said to be 50 times sweeter than sugar cane.
The liquid extract can be home made following the steps below
- Hang the licorice root until almost dry and cut into small slices
- Place the sliced root into a clean canning jar, make it almost 2/3 full
- Cover the sliced root in the jar with pure vodka (This will make the extract tinctures), alternatively you can use water or any other solvent, but it won’t be concentrated as using Vodka.
- To prevent rusting, place a square of plastic around the mouth of the jar and tightly screw on the lid.
- Shake the content in jar very well, the content should be stored in a dark place for about 5-6 weeks. Note: content should be vigorously shake 1-2 times a week within the storage time.
- Filter the content of the jar by placing a cheesecloth over a bowl, squeeze the sliced root to release the liquid it has absorbed.
- Pour the liquid extract in the bowl into a cleaned jar. The liquid extract can last for 6 years.
The powder form is commonly use to take care of skin disorder like eczema, acne and any sustained injury on the skin. It is also use to tackle tooth decay. The powder is commonly sold in the health food store and online Speciality retailers.
The powder from Licorice can be home made following the steps below
- Dry the licorice root
- Bake the dried root for about 12 hours or more until it turns dark brown
- Crush the baked root into smaller pieces using mortar and pestle
- Fill the spice mill with the crushed root and Mill until a fine powder is achieved.
- Sieve out the small splinters from the milled root.
- Store the milled content to a tight container.
Licorice leave (GlycyrrhizaGlabra) is usually being dried and crushed to make tea. The tea are used to treat it prevent respiratory, digestive and adrenal problem. They ate also use for throat remedy. This form of licorice is very popular in Asia especially China. Health food store and supermarket also sell Licorice tea.
The tea can be home made following the steps below
- Hang the leave and make sure it is very dry
- Crush the dried leave with a grinder
- Boil 1 cup of water and pour it to tight container.
- Add the crushed leave to the boiled water and leave for 8-10 minutes
- Sieve the content.
Possible side Effects
The Glycyrrhizinic acid present in the Licorice reduce the amount of Potassium in the body. Consuming Excess of Licorice may cause high blood pressure, swelling, heart beat irregularities and hypertension.
It is advisable to stay clear of licorice is you are prone to hypertension. As a matter of fact, according to FDA, Women who are pregnant or breast feeding are advised to stay clear of Licorice in all forms.