Liquorice

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