Latin Name : Glycerrhiza glabra, Fam. Leguminoseae
Sensoric quality : The aroma is strongly reminiscent of anise or fennel, but considerably stronger. The taste is dominantly sweet, warm and medical.
Main constituents : The root, especially the root bark, contains about 4% glycyrrhizin, the potassium or calcium salt of glycyrrhizinic acid.
The latter is a glycoside of a pentacyclic triterpene carboxylic acid (18ß-glycyrrhetic acid) with two molecules glucuronic acid. Glycyrrhizin is about 50 times sweeter than sucrose (cane sugar).
Furthermore, a flavonoid glycoside has been identified: liquiritin. The aglycon liquiritigenin is in part spontaneously formed when the root is dried; it is responsible for the spasmolytic effects of licorice.
Licorice contains only traces of essential oil; volatile constituents identified include bicyclic monterpenoid ketones (fenchone, thujone) and coumarins (herniarin, umbelliferone).
Uses: Ninety percent of all natural licorice employed as a flavouring agent is used in tobacco (cigarettes, cigars, pipe tobacco).
The sticks of licorice essence may be dissolved in hot water and drunk as a tisane and the roots may flavour fruit juices, syrups and for flavouring drinks like sambuca and beers like Guinness.
Medicinal Uses : in hypotension, increases the tone of the blood vessels.
Availability : Various cuts, TBC