Wild Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Main Facts about Licorice (Wild)
Can grow up to 9 ft tall. Leaf stems have up to 15 thin leaves on them. The stem is covered with minute, sticky hairs. Small whitish flowers. Seed pods are prickly with curved spines.
Using Licorice (Wild)The chemical makeup of Wild Licorice is an amazing web of support to the body in cases of acute and chronic conditions. Recently it is being considered an adaptogen. Wild Licorice is high in anti-inflammatory flavonoids, free-radical scavenging antioxidants, estrogen-balancing isoflavones, and soothing saponins.It provides great relief in cases of dry and inflammatory conditions of the upper respiratory tract; is indicated for dry coughs with wheezing, low production of mucus, and is effective against viral bronchitis and tuberculosis. The mucilaginous effects of Wild Licorice are also helpful in cases of sore throats. The soothing and anti-inflammatory action of Wild Licorice benefits people with stomach and duodenal ulcers as well. Wild Licorice is a remedy for acute diarrhea when used short term. When used in small amounts over time it becomes a remedy for chronic constipation, and is a specific remedy for irritable bowel syndrome that has a tendency toward constipation. It has been shown to have a positive influence on female reproductive organs. It is used for menstrual and premenstrual cramps. In cases of menopausal discomfort, the estrogenic effects can be felt, as well as the plants ability to cool the body. While Wild Licorice may be used alone, one of the great attributes of this plant is its ability to increase the healing potential of other plants it’s combined with.
Caution!If used too much, can raise blood pressure, hypertension and sodium retention. Use only one month at a time. Licorice is not recommended for people with history of renal failure (kidneys), liver disease or who take heart medication or steroid drugs. Do not take if pregnant. The natural plant is good for you, but avoid the store-bought standardized form that can dangerously raise blood pressure.
Cooking with Licorice (Wild)The roots of Licorice can be eaten, raw or cooked. They are long, sweet and fleshy, and when slow roasted are said to taste like sweet potatoes. They can be used as a flavoring in other foods as well and can also be chewed raw as a masticatory, making an excellent tooth cleaner and also very good for teething children. Great sweetener for tea.
How to grow Licorice (Wild)The licorice seeds are moderately easy to germinate. Pre-soaking the seeds for 24 hours is said to promote better germination. They should be planted in the late summer or early fall, or as an alternative, sown in the spring. Keep the soil moist as the seedlings develop. This plant grows rather slowly at first because of its extensive root system, which takes much of its energy in the first stages of growth. Mature plants self-seed and may spread by rhizomes in good growing conditions; these plants can also be divided in spring or fall. Since this plant has low drought tolerance, it may need watering in dry weather. Once established it takes very little care or maintenance. Licorice root is harvested in the autumn, two to three years after planting the Licorice Herb.