Sunday, November 16, 2014

Herb of the Week: Licorice





As the days have gotten shorter and the scarves have gotten longer I’ve begun craving licorice tea almost every morning. There is something about the warming bouquet of spices that just make waking up much, much easier.

I wondered why this need for licorice suddenly occurred. I had always been given licorice root on days that I’ve had a sore throat or licorice tea to help stop a cough but I’ve never had cravings for the herb.

So I had to research it, of course!

What I found was that licorice is a surprisingly versatile herb that is incredibly tasty.
Licorice is great for PMS symptoms, coughs, sore throat, indigestion, and as a sweetener.

Licorice is fantastic for sore throats and coughs because it is an expectorant. It helps keep mucus moving out of the body and also helps reduce inflammation for those who are suffering from bronchitis.

Since it is bitter and sweet, depending on the plant, it is great for stimulating digestion, encouraging bile production, and helping the gut maintain good health. This is partly the reason why it is given to children with bellyaches, that and it’s a tasty way to maintain fluids.

The herb also has some estrogenic qualities. This may help with PMS issues such as irritability, cramps, and breast tenderness. It has yet to curb my chocolate cravings, however.

If you have high blood pressure or kidney issues avoid taking large amounts of licorice as they may exacerbate your condition.

Like many other herbs I’ve learned about, licorice has a variety of uses. From sweetening your tea to helping soothe a tummy ache licorice can be a lifesaver in the winter months or during cold and flu seasons. So find a blanket, a good book, and relax with a cup of licorice tea!

Sources:






Through The Seasons. Maryanne Schwartz’s article “Licorice Glycyrrhiza Glabra” (p. 49)

1 comment:

Brendan Lovering said...

I have had great luck with using bitters to help my digestion after eating out. I don't mind the bitters as they help me feel so much better. I was not aware that licorice was considered a bitter. It could be a really good addition to a regular bitter tonic to sweeten and otherwise make a hard to swallow tonic enjoyable.

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