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The amazing benefits of 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 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 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.

  • Its soothing properties are also used traditionally for respiratory infections which is why you’ll find it in our Lemon, Ginger and Manuka honey tea blend.

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 | Pukka Herbs and its safety in pregnancy Customer FAQs & Herbal Advice | Pukka Herbs.

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 Georgia, Kazakstan 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 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.

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text with image 5487 Three Licorice UK Scan

Pukka Three Licorice Organic Tea

  • Made with organic licorice sustainably sourced from Kazakhstan, Pakistan and Georgia's organic soils

  • Let the goodness infuse, then settle down as the sweet, nourishing riches weave wonder and warmth deep within your soul

  • Naturally caffeine free and ethically sourced, 100% organically grown ingredients

Author: Dr Vivien Rolfe

Head of Herbal Research

Viv is a gut physiologist and has recently achieved a Foundation in Herbal Medicine. She leads Pukka’s research programme to explore how herbs can benefit our health and be used to widen healthcare choices. This includes research into herbs for Women’s health and as alternatives to antibiotics. She establishes global research partnerships and enthuses the next generation of scientists through Pukka’s Scholarship Scheme. She is a champion of diversity in science and open access to knowledge.



Years of experience:

30+ years in the wellbeing industry and academia


Degree in Physiology University of Sheffield, PhD University of Sheffield, Foundation in Herbalism Heartwood, MBA Entrepreneurship (on-going) Edinburgh Napier University, Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Professional Registrations:

Membership of Nutrition Society, Physiological Society, Society for Chemical Industry, and other herbal and botanical groups.

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