Why we’re wild about licorice
What is licorice?
Soothing, balancing and delicious, licorice harmonises the perfect cup of tea and this is why, along with its delicately sweet flavour that we use it in many of our blends.
The word licorice (or liquorice as it’s sometimes spelled) is derived from the Greek word ‘glukurrhiza’ meaning sweet root. Grown in sandy soils, licorice’s creeping roots spread in every direction drawing nutrients from deep within the earth. Its amazing roots contain a plant compound called glycyrrhizic acid which is fifty times sweeter than sugar without the calorific value. It was highly prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans for this reason.
However, it is also renowned for its calming and soothing properties. Ayurveda, the ‘science of wellbeing’ that developed in India over 5000 years ago, widely uses this sweet, healing and tonifying herb for rejuvenation.
So, why's licorice so special?
A bit like the effect of putting a pinch of salt in your food to bring out the best flavours, we use licorice in our teas and supplements to balance and enhance the effect of other herbs. It is used in many traditional herbal formulas because if this unique quality which helps enhance the power of synergy between different herbs. So, as well as our Peppermint & Licorice and Three Licorice tea, we also include it most of our organic herbal tea blends.
Why is licorice good for you?
The soothing, calming and nourishing health benefits of licorice have been widely researched (1) and include:
Licorice is an adaptogen, meaning it helps us to manage the effects of stress especially when you’re feeling ‘wired and tired’. It does this by strengthening the nervous system and through being a nourishing tonic. These effects can also support sleep which is why you’ll find it in our Night Time blend.
It contains plant compounds which may help to soothe and calm tissues in the body and support their repair. These properties make licorice useful to support digestive issues, and it combines well with mint in our Peppermint and Licorice blend. It also helps to relax the bowel in our Triphala Plus supplement.
How much licorice is safe?
Most Pukka teas have levels of licorice that are too low to have an impact on blood pressure unless taken excessively. If you’d like to know more about this please see our Customer FAQs & Herbal Advice.
How we grow our highest quality licorice
At Pukka we only use the whole roots of certified organic licorice that meet the highest quality standards. Due to its amazing health benefits and sweet flavour, there has been a huge increase in demand for licorice, most of which is sourced unsustainably from the wild. Our licorice comes from FairWild projects in Gerorgia, Khazakstan and Spain, helping to ensure the sustainable use of wild-collected ingredients whilst giving a fair deal for all those involved in collecting it. It makes this incredible nourishing herb even more special.
So, the next time you think licorice is going to look like, act like or indeed taste like that sugary black sweet you knew from childhood - think again. You may well discover something to go wild about too.
1. 1 Kwon, Y.J., Son, D.H., Chung, T.H. and Lee, Y.J., 2020. A review of the pharmacological efficacy and safety of licorice root from corroborative clinical trial findings. Journal of medicinal food, 23(1), pp.12-20.