Photos of Glycyrrhiza glabra, Licorice.

Licorice, Glycyrrhiza glabra. What we think of as licorice flavor is actually the taste of anise; licorice itself tastes very sweet and musty. The Roman naturalist Theophrastus (c. 372— 287 BCE) wrote that the roots were used for asthma, dry cough, and lung disorders. Traditionally, the dried root has also been used for sore throat and laryngitis as well as inflammation of the urinary and intestinal tracts. Licorice is one of the better-studied herbs. Numerous pharmacological and clinical reports confirm its usefulness in treating ulcers and support its reputation as a cough suppressant and expectorant. Licorice may cause some individuals to experience water retention and hypertension due to sodium retention and potassium loss. Individuals with heart disease, liver disease or hypertension should avoid licorice.

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