Liquorice

Liquorice

The name Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) derived from old Greek language which is from sweet (glyks) and root (rhiza) because it is the sweet tasting root. The plant is often found under the naem Liquiritia officinails. Licorice can be called a survival food, not only because it stores well, because of its potential to quench the thirst, allay hunger, and its benefits for endurance. Licorice is native to south-eastern Europe and the Middle East, where it grows wild.

It was cultivated in England since the 16th century by Dominican monks in Yorkshire, where the confectionery trade began. The use of the Liquorice plant was first learnt by the Greeks from Scythians. Theophrastus (third century B.C.), in commeting on the taste of different roots( Hist.Plant. Lib. IX. c. 13) instances the sweet Scythian root wich grows in the neighbourhood of the Lake Maeotis (Sea of Azov), and is good for asthma, dry cough and all pectoral diseases. Hippocrates described licorice root in his medical text and it was a staple of Western medicine through Greco-Roman times.

Description and Cultivation

Licorice is a woody perennial plant it grows in rich soil to a height of 1-1.5 m. Leaves are oval shaped, flowers are purplish flower (1.2 cm) and clustered. Below ground, the licorice plant has an extensive root system with a main taproot and numerous runners. The fruit is an oblong pod and ontains several seeds. Licorice has strong root system, the main taproot and many horizontal spreading roots. Main root is harvested for medicinal use it is soft, fibrous, and bright yellow interior. The dried roots look like pieces of dried wood, very hard and fibrous, about 1 cm in  diameter. It has sweet taste with a slightly bitter, slightly salty aftertaste. Plant licorice loves well-limed and well drained deep soil, prefers sunny position. If soil tends to be clayey, plant on raised beds or hills. The plant grows most in a warm climate, cool weather interferes with the formation of its useful juice and renders it woody. Climate particularly favourable to the production of the orange is favourable for liquorice as well. Licorice should be given room to spread, at least 1-3 square metres.

Scientific Classification
Kingdom : Plantea
Division : Magnoliophyta
Class : Magnoliopsida
Order : Fabales
Family : Fabacea
Genius : Glycyrrhiza
Species : Glycyrrhiza glabra