Licorice (Naked licorice) is a perennial herbaceous plant in the legume family. It is used in the medical and food industries as a foaming agent. It grows wild in North Africa, France, Italy, West and Central Asia, and Southeast Europe. It is cultivated in areas with a temperate climate. Licorice prefers brackish, sandy soil, takes root on chernozem clay soils. Licorice grows in steppes, semi-deserts, along irrigation canals, roads, on sand-shell shafts, in the valleys of steppe rivers, forming dense thickets.
Licorice is a medicinal plant, on the basis of which they produce expectorant, diuretic, laxative drugs. In addition, the grass contains saponins, which have an enveloping effect. According to experimental data, it is proved that drugs produced from licorice accelerate the healing of ulcers.
In Tibet, it is believed that the licorice root "improves the departure of the six senses, promotes longevity."
In addition to medical applications, licorice is used in metallurgy as a foaming agent for filling fire extinguishers. It is used in the manufacture of shoe polish, ink, ink, in the textile industry for fixing paints, the tobacco industry in order to aromatize and improve the taste of snuff, smoking, chewing tobacco.
The root is woody, many-headed, thick: sheer and invading 2-5 meters. In addition, a complex network of 5-30 stolon roots originating at a depth of 35 centimeters, up to 2 meters long, emanates from it. Outside, the shoots are brown in color, at the break - yellowish.
The leaves consist of 3-10 pairs of whole, oblong-ovate, oval leaflets, 5-20 centimeters long, with a tip at the apex. Regular pinnate. Their surface is covered with sticky point glands. At the bottom of the leaf are small, awl-shaped paired appendages, falling by the time of flowering.
Licorice stems are erect, short-fluffy, simple or slightly branched, with a height of 0.5 to 2 meters.
The flowers are located in loose 5-8-axillary brushes, reach 8-12 millimeters in diameter. Peduncle length - 3-5 centimeters. On the surface of the calyx are narrow-lanceolate teeth, equal in size to the tube. Corolla irregular, moth, whitish-purple.
The fruit is a bean with seeds (from 2 to 6 pieces), straight or curved, leathery, saturated brown, 4-6 millimeters wide, 2-3 centimeters long, planted with glandular spikes (sometimes naked). Seeds are greenish-gray, bud-shaped, shiny.
The flowering period is June-August, the fruit harvest is August-September.
Licorice is bred vegetatively or by seed.
The energy ratio of liquorice B: W: Y is 0%: 0%: 100%. 100 grams of the plant contains 375 calories.
Licorice roots contain:
- polysaccharides, fatty acids (3-4%);
- mono- and disaccharides (up to 20%);
- proteins, tannins (8.3-14.2%);
- pectins (4-6%);
- tarry and bitter agents (2-4% each);
- flavonoids (3-4%);
- essential oils (alcohols and their derivatives, aldehydes, ketones, terpenoids, aromatic compounds);
- organic acids (fumaric, tartaric, succinic, citric, malic);
- phenolcarboxylic acids (salicylic, synomic, ferulic);
- triterpene saponins;
- vitamins A, B, E, K, PP, C, D;
- minerals (zinc, potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, sodium).
In the ground part of licorice are concentrated:
- tannins (5.5%);
- carbohydrates (2%);
- fatty acids (6%);
- coumarins (1.9-2.4%);
- essential oils (0.02%);
- organic acids (up to 2.5%);
- flavonoids (campferol, isocvercitrin, quercetin);
- vitamins A, C, E;
- minerals (selenium, copper, phosphorus).
Since ancient times, licorice has gained fame as an indispensable healer of protracted bronchitis. The properties of the plant expectorant and sputum are widely used in official, traditional medicine to this day. On the basis of licorice, tablets and syrups are prepared for cough, ulcers, constipation, gout, rheumatism, skin diseases, intoxication of the body with toxic substances, including chemical drugs. Licorice root broth - a means of combating nicotine addiction, has secretolytic, diuretic, antibacterial effects. Fights chronic colic.
- It has anti-inflammatory effect. Helps with fever, enhances the therapeutic effect of drugs. Eliminates inflammatory reactions in the bladder, kidneys.
- Favorably affects the respiratory system. Stimulates the secretion of mucus, promotes the elimination of sputum and microbes from the bronchi. Licorice is used for laryngitis to restore voice and a prolonged, prolonged cough, which developed against the background of tuberculosis, tonsillitis, pneumonia.
- It has an antispasmodic effect. It supports the work of the heart, eliminates spasms of smooth muscles, helps with diseases of the thyroid gland and low blood pressure.
- It normalizes water-salt metabolism, increases the body's resistance to a lack of oxygen, normalizes the cycle and stops painful premenstrual sensations in women.
- Licorice root is an antidote. The plant contains glycyrrhizin, a substance that neutralizes the action of toxins.
- Restores the pancreas, increases the body's production of its own insulin. Glycyrrhizic acid is obtained from licorice, which is used as a natural sweetener for diabetes. In addition, licorice prevents atherosclerosis, normalizes blood sugar and adrenal glands.
- Suppresses the growth of malignant cells. Used in the treatment of prostate adenoma and cancer.
- It has wound healing, enveloping actions. It is used as a mild laxative, a remedy for the treatment of gastric ulcer and gastritis.
- Improves the condition of the skin. It is used to treat allergies accompanied by peeling of the dermis: bronchial asthma, urticaria, dermatitis, psoriasis, lupus.
- It exhibits antidepressant properties, reduces fatigue, and increases the tone of the central nervous system.
- Used to restore joint mobility in the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism.
- Improves the condition of the body after radiation damage.
- Prevents heartburn, improves digestion of food, regulates the secretion of gastric juice.
- Prevents cirrhosis of the liver.
- Strengthens the immune system.
To avoid caries and inflammation in the oral cavity, it is recommended to chew a piece of licorice root after each meal. In Japan and the USA, the plant is used to combat tobacco dependence.
Indications for use
- Predisposition to diabetes or disease progression.
- Digestion, joint problems.
- Wounds after injuries, sores, inflammation in the oral cavity.
- Violation of water-salt metabolism.
- Weak immunity, a tendency to frequent viral and colds.
- Menstrual problems.
- Irregular stool.
- Diseases of the upper respiratory tract, thyroid gland, heart, liver, bladder, kidneys.
- Individual intolerance, a tendency to allergies.
- Pregnancy and lactation.
- With concomitant use with diuretics. Otherwise, licorice can cause myopathy, hypokalemia, muscle atrophy.
- With the use of drugs against heart failure. The simultaneous use of these drugs and licorice contributes to the development of arrhythmia, in severe conditions, threatens death.
- Children under 3 years old.
- Impaired renal function.
- Overweight, obesity.
Liquorice is taken only as prescribed by a doctor in a strictly prescribed amount. Abuse leads to a decrease in male libido, the appearance of edema, hair loss, menstrual irregularities in women, and the development of a feeling of chronic fatigue.
Other properties of licorice root
- This is a natural blowing agent used in baking bakery products, making kvass, beer (soft drinks). Licorice is used to process meat and fish from spoilage. It is a natural sweetener in confectionery. In addition, licorice leaves can be brewed as a substitute for tea or added to coffee to improve the taste of the drink.
- Licorice extract is used to viscous cement mortars, in the production of glue, soap making, for pickling metals, in mixtures for fire extinguishers, in oil and gas production using drilling technology.
- To improve the taste of tobacco products, the production of chewing gum and surrogate cigarettes with a minimum amount of harmful substances.
- For dyeing fabrics (from wool and silk), creating watercolor paints.
- For the production of ropes, burlap (from the fibers of the stems of the plant).
- For feeding bees, as a biologically active additive in livestock feed (from the green part of licorice).
Licorice sweets - good or bad?
These are confectionery products with a specific catchy taste that gives licorice root. Properly prepared liquorice sweets are a treat and medicine for the human body. As a rule, they are viscous, visually resemble chewing marmalade. Production technology: the roots of the plant are soaked, cleaned of the outer shell, boiled. The resulting beneficial extract is poured into solidification molds. It contains a sweet component (glycerosine). Then the extract is processed, "at the exit" licorice caramel is formed, which can be sweet or salty, hard or viscous like chewing gum.
Interestingly, the use of licorice sweets is a national feature of the Danes.
Licorice sweets strengthen immunity, protect a person from colds and viral diseases. In addition, they stimulate blood circulation (glycerin), exhibit diuretic and laxative effects, supply the body with pectin and ascorbic acid.
According to the traditional recipe, licorice sweets include:
- liquorice root;
- gloss mixture (anise oil or beeswax);
- gelatin or agar-agar, gum arabic.
385 calories are concentrated in 100 grams of licorice sweets, the ratio B: W: Y is 4%: 23%: 72%. Overweight people should stop eating high-calorie sweets.
The roots of the plant are harvested in the fall, when the green part of the licorice began to die, or in the early spring, while it is at rest. Raw materials are selected with a length of at least 25 centimeters and a thickness of at least 1 centimeter. Only such plant roots have powerful healing properties. The raw materials are washed under water, cut and smoothed on a spacing to dry.
In no case should the roots be subjected to heat treatment in the oven, since high temperature destroys nutrients. Dried raw materials are placed in a linen bag or glass container, tightly closed with a lid.
Shelf life - up to 5 years.
- From prostate adenoma. How to prepare a decoction: chop the dried licorice root (15 grams), add water (400 milliliters), cook over low heat for 10 minutes. Cool the resulting drug, strain. Take 150 milliliters 3 times a day, half an hour before a meal. The course of treatment is 21 days. Then you should take a break for 3 weeks. During this period, take a decoction of the roots of burdock. Alternate courses to improve.
- From bronchial asthma. To prepare a medicinal infusion, boil 30 grams of licorice root in 500 milliliters of water for 10 minutes. Cool and strain. Take 15 milliliters 4 times a day.
- From cough. Licorice emollient on the respiratory tract, accelerates the elimination of sputum. The syrup is taken with whooping cough, pneumonia, tracheitis, bronchitis, allergic cough, asthma. To prepare the product, sugar syrup (100 milliliters), licorice root extract (5 grams), medical alcohol (10 grams) are thoroughly mixed, poured into a glass container, closed with a lid and placed in the refrigerator. Licorice syrup taken 3 times a day after meals, 5-10 milliliters (depending on the age and body weight of the patient), diluted previously with water.
Remember, to enhance the antitussive effect, drugs that include licorice rhizomes should be drunk abundantly with water.
- For weight loss. Licorice accelerates metabolic processes, helps to eliminate toxins and cleanse the body, reduces the production of gastric juice, and suppresses appetite. Thus, licorice reduces cravings for sweet, fatty foods. To prepare a means for losing weight, 5 grams of dry licorice roots are poured with 200 milliliters of water, insisted for 1 hour, filtered. Take 15 milliliters before meals.
- With an ulcer, gastritis. It has anti-inflammatory properties. The principle of preparation of water tincture: Fry 10 grams of licorice roots in a dry pan, pour 500 milliliters of boiling water, leave for 8 hours. After the specified time, the drink is filtered, take 35 drops 3 times a day.
If, after taking preparations containing licorice root, itching, diarrhea, skin rashes, swelling, nausea, or vomiting occur, they immediately stop taking them. Children are not recommended to take licorice for longer than 10 days, and adults - 6 weeks.
Licorice is a unique plant known for its enveloping, expectorant, laxative, anti-allergic, antispasmodic and antimicrobial properties. It cures and prevents the development of diseases of the respiratory tract, heart. Licorice contains substances that are similar in effect to steroid hormones, which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. They prevent the penetration of pathogenic bacteria into the body.
Licorice root fights diseases of the digestive system, stimulates the dissolution of plaques in blood vessels, lowers cholesterol, helps with overwork, and eliminates allergic dermatitis. Broth, liquorice infusion copes with chronic constipation, is effective for arthritis, poisoning. In addition, it is a natural remedy for strengthening immunity, preventing influenza and SARS.
To preserve useful properties, licorice roots are dug in late autumn, cleaned from the ground, and dried in the sun. Store in a dark, dry, cool place. The product is contraindicated for people with a high degree of allergenicity and during pregnancy, lactation.