Fifty times sweeter than sugar, liquorice root is commonly used in confectionery for its ability to mask unpleasant tastes, and in cosmetics for its germicidal, antibacterial and soothing properties.
A member of the pea family, Glycyrrhiza glabra (or liquorice) is native to Europe and Asia. The plants are harvested in autumn for their long roots that can stretch up to three to four feet below ground. It’s in the roots that the unique flavour of liquorice is concentrated and a fragrant infusion can be made by steeping them in boiled water.
Liquorice has been used medicinally for thousands of years, with a history dating back from Greece to India and China. Ancient Egyptian kings were even buried with large quantities of the plant, believing it could be used in the afterlife to prepare sweet drinks.
Largely used in modern medicine, liquorice root is a popular ingredient in oral hygiene products. Due to its germicidal and antibacterial properties, it cleanses the whole mouth and helps prevent tooth decay.