Herbs - Licorice

Arabic Arpsous, Arq-sous
Chinese Kan tsau, Gancao
Danish Lakrids, Lakridsplante
Dutch Zoethout
English Spanish Juice, Black Sugar, Liquorice
French Réglisse (noble)
German SuBholz, Lakritze
Italian Liquerizia
Japanese Kanzou
Norwegian Lakrisrot
Greek Glikoriza, Jiampoli
Spanish Orozuz, Ragaliz
Swedish Lakrits

Licorice is a very famous plant not only in Syria but also in many other countries. Plant family fabaceae (bean family) the used plant part is the Root. Its aroma is strongly reminiscent of anise or fennel, but considerably stronger. The taste is dominantly sweet, warm and medical.


Main Constituents

The
root, especially the root bark, contains about 4% glycyrrhizin, the potassium or calcium salt of glycyrrhizinic acid. The latter is a glycoside of a pentacyclic triterpene carboxylic acis (18beta-glycyrrhetic acid) with two-molecule glucuronic acid. Glycyrrhizin is about 50 times sweeter than sucrose (cane sugar).

Furthermore, a flavonoid glycoside has been identified: liquiritin. The aglycon liquiritigenin is in part spontaneously formed when the root is dried; it is responsible for the spasmolytic effects of licorice.


It's usage all over the world

At all times, licorice was used less as a spice than as a medicine; usage against diseases of the upper respiratory tract dates back at least to ancient Egypt. At first glance, the strong, dominating sweetness of this plant neither fits to sweet nor to spicy dishes. However, small amounts of licorice substantially improve the Chinese five-spice powder.

For the other components of this spice mixture, In China, licorice is often used to flavor master sauce. Several different spices are frequently termed "sweet". This attribute does not always denote a truly sweet taste, but is sometimes used as a general synonym for "aromatic. Other spices, though, really taste somewhat sweet, although in none of them sweetness is as strong as in licorice.

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